What is xRM? Out of the box thinking for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

By - January 15, 2015

The technical world is full of acronyms, many of which we lose track of the actual words the letters represent. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, so at a base level without many customizations CRM is geared towards the sales community where users are tracking leads, opportunities, accounts (companies) and contacts (individuals) throughout the sales cycle. Data integrations to other systems, like Microsoft Dynamics GP, are sometimes desired based on the organizations needs and normally results in CRM customizations to care for the additional fields and records types between the integrated system. Even with adding customizations and integrating other systems’ data, at the end of the day CRM is a sales related concept.

So what is this xRM idea that I have heard about? Microsoft has built an incredible relational database framework that they sell as Dynamics CRM but in reality the “C” of CRM could be substituted for anything. The “X” is a variable that represents any relationship you want to manage. Using the  Dynamics CRM framework as a platform for xRM allows to think outside the box and build a relational database concept for any situation. Basically if there is an organization that has data points that relate to one another and they want to build a system that is easy to view, add, change and report on that data then Dynamics CRM is a great framework to create and manage these relationships.

Here are three examples of xRM projects that I have worked on, just to give you a taste of what is possible:

  • Crop insurance: We used Microsoft Dynamics CRM to track crop insurance activities for the farming industry. There is complex web of existing source data that have been evolving in one form or another (paper & digital) for the past 80 years. These different data sources make it extremely hard for customer service reps to gather all of the pertinent data when analyzing claims, tracking payments and investigating fraud. We pulled 90 different related data points from 90 different source databases into Dynamics CRM so that policies are related to correct crop types, on the correct farming plots, with the correct historical claim data. By organizing and consolidating the complex data so that related data is easy to access and understand in an easy to use user interface, we were able to increase processing efficiency and help identify potential fraud situations.
  • Crude oil collection & payment tracking: Our client buys crude oil from small scale oil pumps located on private property. We used Dynamics CRM as the platform to relate the legal oil rights, to the volume of crude oil collected, with the payment checks for the oil. Our client has a call center to handle questions including when is the collection truck coming, what volume was collected and where is my check. We created an integration with their phone system so when a call comes in it automatically opens the correct Account record in Dynamics CRM on their screen. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is now their front end system for pulling all of their processing data together.
  • Church management: We have used Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a church setting to track member attendance, donations and Sunday school children check-ins. The church wanted to track worship attendance and small group attendance in order to gauge the different levels of interest and change schedules based on demand. They also want to track all donations to the church from all individuals and integrate that information with their accounting system. Lastly, they wanted to check children in and out of Sunday school and on-premise church events through Dynamics CRM so that children were not being released to unapproved adults. Dynamics CRM proved to simplify their tracking and organizing of church events while improving the safety factor of dealing with large numbers of children.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is extremely customizable which allows us to add new record types, relationships, workflows, reports and dashboards to care for virtually any situation. Dynamics CRM partners, like McGladrey, just need to have the imagination and technical knowledge to take advantage of all it can provide. RSM has the tools to improve any relational data situation for any organization and beyond the examples mentioned above, have implemented a variety of xRM solutions for our clients.

RSM is a recognized top ranking national Microsoft Dynamics partner.  We serve organizations across the United States and have the integration experience to support applications that extend Microsoft Dynamics.  For more information on our services, contact our professionals at crm@mcgladrey.com or by phone at 855.437.7202.

By: Scott Roller – Kansas City Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner

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