Good data in a CRM system is critical to its ongoing success and usefulness to a business. Months or even years after you have successfully deployed the system, the real measure of its success is how much the system is being used and the value being returned by the system such as better insight into your customers and service activities as well as more insightful reporting. Good reporting gives your client a better understanding of how their business operates and more importantly helps them understand how they can become more successful by improving their own business processes. While users may start of entering all data as required how can you ensure this continues over the months without looking at each record?
After you have installed a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM system this journey starts with a key factor. Getting the user’s, such as sales users to enter good data every time they use the system. Once deployed it becomes apparent who are going to be the star CRM users. Those users (let us call them Gold Users) will enter more data than needed. Their business lives are successful because they understand that to win they need to have all data possible. This type of user will not only complete the business required fields, they will also complete the business recommended fields! Amazingly this type of user will also go on to enter as many of the other fields as possible. Don’t you wish all users were like that?
Our last user called (no surprise) Bronze will do as little as possible which means entering Business required fields only. Hey that’s all the business is asking for right?
Have you spotted the problem? Typically your Gold Users could represent only 10 percent of your user base. How can you drive the Silver and Bronze users to even come close to becoming a Gold user in terms of data entry standards?
While ongoing training is a good thing to educate your entire company in what good data means, another way is to show them in a very real way what we mean by good data. In short a scoring mechanism is important.
When you first deploy Dynamics CRM you may start off with no data and have the users populate it from day one. Another scenario is you migrate old data into the system. How can you determine the value of data in either new or migrated data? How can you also ensure moving forward that users can easily see the value of the data they put into the system.
The first step is to work with your client to understand what data is valuable. For example you could walk them through a Contact entity and ask them to score each field in terms of value to the business. You may be surprised and learn for example that because your President is an avid golfer he really wants to know if a prospective client also plays golf as it’s a great way to network. In this case the Plays Golf field would get a high score.
Some other fields may be less important but could also add to the overall score. Only by working closely with your CRM client can you truly understand how they define good data. Using this data you can then determine a score for each completed Contact record based on a score by field. This could be achieved using either JScript to update a score field or a Plug-in. What I am proposing here is you add a new field to each of your entities called Score. Over time, this field will be updated using Jscript or a Plug-in and will accurately represent the value of this data to your client’s organization.
Project out 6 months and now you can report on how well every user is using Dynamics CRM. Not only will you be able to see that User 1 is entering data regularly but is also entering good quality data as determined by the Score field. This mechanism can also help train the systems users who can understand what good data means to their business.
As part of this you could be thinking well why not simply make every field required. The purpose here is more to encourage good use of Dynamics CRM by making users realize how valuable the data is to their employer rather than enforce data entry. Over time once users realize the value of good data they will get into the habit of entering better data and who knows may even be rewarded at year end review time.
Such a tool like scoring could also be used to review old data. Imagine if you could work out the scoring mechanism so that you can report on contact records that need to be reviewed and updated because your new system gives them a low score. Once your scoring system is in place the doors open to new ways to analyze your Dynamics CRM and above all drive up data quality
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