A Fully Customized CRM Platform

We provide our client with a more user friendly option

We’ve been fans of Microsoft’s Business Contact Manager product since its launch, even though it was riddled with idiosyncrasies that limited the product’s initial appeal. But the idea of a customizable CRM package operated entirely within Microsoft Outlook was good enough that it caused us to keep an eye on this “minified” Microsoft Dynamics CRM package.

Our Client's Custom Designed Account Details Screen

Microsoft Hits a Homerun!

Well, with Office 2010, the BCM development team at Microsoft finally put together a package that merits serious consideration for firms desiring the ability to design their own Outlook-friendly CRM package. As soon as we had the chance to evaluate this redesigned framework, we immediately approached one of our clients who was in desperate need of a centralized CRM platform that would be embraced by the firm’s technical and non-technical users alike.

Our Task

After an initial demo of the package, we were commissioned to migrate the functionality of the firm’s Microsoft Access database into a user-friendly CRM system that would gain firm-wide acceptance in order to become the primary repository for all current and historical client information.

The Account Screen

Our Client's Custom Designed Client Details Screen

We began by creating the primary account screen containing all of the desired account-specific details including account numbers, discounted billing accounts, portfolio manager, advisor, and other professional contacts for the account (click the image above for a larger view). Additionally, all historical information and individual correspondence regarding the account can be placed in the history section of the account record viewable by the firm’s staff. This happens automatically for all email correspondence as long as email tracking is enabled for a given client record. And yes we have confirmed email tracking functions correctly even if correspondence is sent and received from mobile devices connected to Microsoft’s Office 365 and Exchange Online hosted options, which means that correspondence is immediately available for viewing back at the office by other employees even if you’re corresponding with clients on the road.

The Client Screen

Next, we created the firm’s client screen that contains all of the requested details to assist the firm in enhancing their client relationships (click the image to the right for a larger view). Because Business Contact Manager is a component of Outlook, nearly all of Outlook’s functionality has been seamlessly extended to this CRM package, including scheduling, correspondence tracking, contact filtering and segregation, and other personalized capabilities. When you integrate the product with your smartphones and tablets, distributed computing takes on a whole new meaning!

The Main Contact Screen Showing Various Contact Type Tabs

Other Contacts Screen

We also added multiple custom records corresponding to other professional services providers for the firm’s accounts such as attorneys, accountants, custodians, and brokers (click the image to the left for a larger view). Each service provider has a unique template designed specifically for that provider type. And the tabbed arrangement combined with filtering capabilities permits employees to quickly locate these contacts for every account.

Comparison With Previous System

As I mentioned earlier, our client’s previous CRM package was a purpose built Microsoft Access database. However, the database’s generally non user-friendly interface limited its appeal among the firm’s employees, and, therefore, its mass adoption for aggregating all historical and future client interaction. The CRM package we designed within the Business Contact Manager framework has removed those adoption barriers, and now the firm has a coherent system in place designed to enhance its client relationships.

If you would like to discuss the option of creating a custom CRM package built on Microsoft Business Contact Manager, contact us today!

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