CRMUG Summit: Expect Strategies on CRM User Adoption Successes and “Epic Fails”

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By:  Dann Anthony Maurno



If user adoption were not still a challenge for CRM projects, Daniel Madden would not need to speak about it so vehemently. But he will, in four sessions at the CRMUG Summit 2016:

Madden has been a Microsoft Dynamics CRM specialist with the global financial services provider SEI for ten years. Alongside that, and since 2012, he has taken on numerous voluntary roles with CRMUG including being VP of Membership for the CRMUG Pennsylvania Chapter, speaking at Summits and serving on the Summit Planning Committee for 2016.

He took time to tell us more about CRM user adoption, and about CRMUG Summit 2016.

MSDW: You are doing four sessions on CRM user acceptance; is there a particular urgency in 2016?

Daniel Madden: It’s probably every CRM leader or administrator’s number one issue. If you don’t solve that, anything you do in the system is not going to really have value because if they’re not using it, no one’s going to see the enhancements you’re releasing out in CRM.

It’s something you can never really look away from because your users can be using a different system before you even know it.

They might sneakily get their own Salesforce license?

Exactly. Or they might go back to an Excel spreadsheet. That’s my biggest fear and what I try to keep them away from at all times.

And what I found gets that acceptance or adoption is what’s called “WIFM,” what’s in it for me? And once you deliver that benefit back to your users, they’re bought in.

So if you had to explain offhand just a short list of obvious benefits to a reluctant Dynamics CRM adopter?

Number one for Dynamics would be Outlook integration. I would think that most people in this world do one thing when they sit at their desk; open Microsoft Outlook.

So a competitive advantage for a Microsoft Dynamics CRM administrator is, they’re already in your product because they’re using Outlook.

I can’t describe how many challenges that has helped me put aside. Asking sales or service teams to log into another system is like pulling teeth. Two clicks, and sometimes not even a password required, and we had a pain-point-gnarled CRM [before Dynamics CRM].

So moving over to a very integrated Microsoft Outlook product has really changed the game for our revenue producers.

This AXUG Summit is attempting to lead with user content, in seven out of ten sessions. What’s the plan from CRMUG?

I would say the same thing. You’re going to see a lot of relevant topics for new through seasoned administrators who are going to speak to a lot of industry hot topics, as well as best practices, and most importantly given their aggressive roadmap, new solutions in the Dynamics marketplace.

But most important is just learning from other firms and how they’re leveraging CRM to help drive growth and solve business challenges.

Is there any particular session that excites you?

The top session at Summit I cannot wait to see is Microsoft’s Vision Keynote speech [by Scott Guthrie, Microsoft Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise], which includes an exclusive first look at the all-new Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Microsoft seems to want to give some Convergence experiences back and is looking to Summit to do that. Was that part of your planning?

It certainly was. Throughout the track leader calls we discussed that add-on day, coming in on Tuesday, and a lot of people have shifted their schedules to take advantage of that. A lot of the general Microsoft sessions that are going to be held at the front end of the conferene will be held in the Amalie Arena where the Tampa Bay Lightning play; and we’ve done our best to make sure everyone is fully aware that we’re offering additional benefits as part of this year’s summit.

And Microsoft has advised they will be making product announcements similar to what you woudl have had at Convergence.

Definitely. It’s probably the most increased partnership I’ve seen with the UG coming into Summit since I’ve been involved, which is since 2012. So I think Microsoft realizes they might have missed an opportunity in rebranding the Convergence conference, and what better way to get value out to their user base through Dynamics than CRMUG Summit. So I think that was a very smart tactic on their part and a great way to continue to drip information on their large pool of users.

Discuss the process for developing the educational tracks at Summit

Being this is my first year on the planning committee, I was extremely happy to see how comprehensive the planning process is. This process ensures we are getting the most pertinent content on the Summit conference agenda. The process begins with user and partner content submissions, and once those are aggregated, the planning committee for that specific track discusses how the submitted content matches up against industry hot topics and then from there an agenda is formulated.

As a CRM user yourself, what have you taken away from the Summit?

Since getting involved with CRMUG and Summit our CRM environment has experienced tremendous growth and user adoption is at an all-time peak. My firm has also become one of Microsoft’s flagship financial services clients due to our strong use cases across a variety of financial services verticals which is a unique competitive advantage. When I return to the office I will have a much clearer understanding of the Microsoft roadmap, which translates into actionable CRM enhancements for my organization.

CRMUG Summit 2016 runs October 11 through 14 in Tampa, Florida.

About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).

Dann can be reached at