November 08, 2010
Knowledge Management and Documentation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Processes
Knowledge is a significant asset that must be managed and shared to maximize its value to the company. Unfortunately, some firms using Microsoft Dynamics CRM have limited, out-dated, or even no knowledge documentation whatsoever pertaining to the use and setup of their CRM environment. In many instances, CRM knowledge is solely in the head of a crafty vet, usually a power user or system administrator. Unless the veteran user continually transfers his wisdom to the less experienced up-and-coming future stars of the organization, other users and the company will suffer. Failure to share knowledge could cause the firm to be less competitive, lose market share, and possibly go out of business. After all, when an employee departs the firm, either voluntarily or involuntarily, all the knowledge he has accumulated over the course of his career leaves the firm as well. In order to mitigate the risk of personnel changes disrupting business operations, it is crucial to manage CRM user knowledge and constantly document and update a firm’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM configuration, best practices, processes, and procedures.
Within Microsoft Dynamics CRM, firms can actually create and update their own centralized knowledge repository known as the Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base can be accessed by all employees and is an ideal place to store a firm’s documentation on its initial CRM configuration and any CRM-related operational processes. Such documentation could include reference tools organized by subject, such as FAQs, templates, scripts, user guides, data sheets, and articles. If a key CRM user leaves the firm, then the next user should be able to refer to documented procedures via the Knowledge Base, and thus get up to speed quickly on the system.
Additionally, the Knowledge Base can certainly help customer service reps search for answers to address incoming client inquiries in a more efficient and accurate fashion. No longer do reps have to exhaust time and energy conducting extensive searches. All the information they need should be right at their fingertips via intuitive Search Tools. Furthermore, the Knowledge Base can also help lessen the learning curve of the new CRM 2011, as previously noted here.
In addition to the Knowledge Base, Microsoft Dynamics CRM contains another valuable knowledge reference guide known as the Resource Center. Located on the left side of the navigation pane, the Resource Center contains useful articles, diagrams, and video tutorials pertaining to topics on Sales, Marketing, Service, and Settings (customization and configuration). The Resource Center also has a Highlights section, which contains recently added and highly rated content contributed by various subject matter experts and Dynamics CRM gurus. The Resource Center also has links to training events, community forums containing productivity tips and tricks from other users, and a link to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team blog that shares insightful news and views on product features and benefits. All of these tools are especially valuable to employees new to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Below is an example of how Customer Effective has expanded and customized our Resource Center to include links to internal documentation and other helpful external CRM resources. Customer Effective can help enhance your Resource Center to include links to your documentation similar to the highlighted links below.
Knowledge absolutely needs to be explicitly documented and shared between employees. As a best practice, firms should mandate that all policies and procedures related to the configuration and usage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM be not only documented at the beginning of the implementation, but also that it is consistently reviewed and updated with future iterations. Doing so will lessen the impact of losing valuable CRM resources when that resource cuts ties with the organization. The last thing firms want is for current employees to have to contact a former employee for guidance on how to execute a complex, uncommon, or nonstandard procedure in Microsoft Dynamics CRM or any other system. The odds of reaching the ex-employee are slim to none, and he or she might not even want to offer any assistance.
Moral of the story ... Document, document, document!