Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Microsoft Dynamics - Ha!

Beastly sorry to have been off-line for such a long time - issues with the house and struggling with an abortion of an implementation of a new Head Office CRM (or Customer Relationship Management) system. In simple words, a sales tracking system - or at least it's meant to be.

The justification for the new system (Mircosoft Dynamics) is that it provides senior management in Israel with greater detail - at the expense of us on the ground not having a clue how to operate it and having to spend all day adding more and more information into an unfamiliar system that's as friendly as a cornered rat.

The transition was not the tried-and-tested hands-on training followed by some interactive discussion on improvement and then a gradual migration, but a totally chaotic Big Bang. Thursday switch-off of the old Salesforce system (we are talking Israel here), a brief 1 hour overview in a webcast (with a Friday and a weekend to forget it), a port of the old data over the weekend, and then full-on Microsoft on Monday with a concomitant download of the live system and our first true experience of it. Hideous and deeply dangerous!

As a systems analyst and IT project manager in a previous incarnation of a few decades ago, I did warn them it would be chaotic, but of course, what the hell do I know? I've only worked on what was the largest Oracle implementation in Europe at the time.

The last week and a half have been spent amending the data by adding the new fields, which are still woefully inadequate to the intended requirement. In the process we lost the ability to view the data in such a way that it means anything to the sales force during a management review. Oh, and you can't add a new account without manually porting your entire Outlook contact data across to the new system before you want to do it. Bloody system doesn't even do it automatically in background!

The system even allows you to enter a delivery before you've received the purchase order.... Lunacy! The Old SalesForce system facilitated staged deliveries; the new system facilitates only 1 delivery, and forecasting the delivery schedule was one of the main requirements, for heaven;s sake! So much for financial and operations planning....

Anyway, management are half way to getting what they want (aka micromanagement), we have been totally diverted from sales activity for the best part of a week and a half and we've additionally lost sight of what's going on in our accounts without performing mysterious rites and magical incantations, backed up with frantic emails to HQ requesting a work-around. The word SNAFU comes to mind.

The mistake everyone in a position of power makes when implementing these systems is to assume it's a CRM system they're launching and that we sales people will be ecstatic at the prospect of having our lives made easier. No it's not - it's a finance system that tries (badly) to emulate a CRM system. Its primary function is abysmally bad financial  tracking - including the word Customer in the name is a travesty of English grammar, as that's the last thing that's considered in implementations. The sales force is also an irrelevance in the equation as none of us was consulted on what we need.

3 minutes to enter an opportunity is farcical; 4 hours to effect a reconciliation which previously took a max of 20 minutes is criminal.


  1. In this post Saville era Managers have no business having relations with customers.

  2. But CB, Dynamics is cheaper!

    SFDC is a much better CRM system IMO from lots of perspectives, quality, flexibility and ease of use. It always amazes me that the old adage "you get what you pay for" seems to be lost on most bean-counters?

  3. You think that you have troubles now! You try bolting a warranty system on the back of it. Been there done that, ended up buying Syspro (not an aweful lot better but suits our accountant) and having the warranty bit written.

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  5. A bad hair day indeed!