My Saviour: Microsoft Dynamic’s Software Solutions
Believe me when I tell you that journalists are a very cumbersome bunch to manage. My entire existence rests on doing just that – so I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to navigate this managerial minefield.
Don’t get me wrong; the army of journalists that I employ and contract out to other organisations are immensely talented and fascinating people. Yet, the journalist is an independent beast, with a single-minded purpose to author the most compelling story, whatever the cost.
The cost often comes in the form of them living up to journalistic stereotypes. When they work out of my office, their desks look as if they would in the aftermath of a tsunami. Our luxury ground coffee pot is often empty, and my team seems to ingest an endless stream of the “black gold”. I’ll never question whether the coffee they drink is an “Irish Coffee”, but I suspect if I did, I would receive a rather long-winded, verbose reply.
I’ve learned to love their eccentricities and quirks, but, managing all of them takes its toll on my emotional energy. Which is why I’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that every other aspect of my business (that is within my control), is straightforward.
That’s where Microsoft Dynamics software solutions came into play.
Where we used to have hundreds of spreadsheets, formatted inconsistently, we now have Microsoft Dynamics.
Where business trips meant that my ability to check-up on the business and take it forward was stunted, now we have Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud.
God bless the software engineers at Microsoft.
What is Microsoft Dynamics?
The answer that will make your eyes glaze over is that Microsoft Dynamics is a series of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
For most people, I may as well have written that description in Chinese. In a nutshell though, it helps mid-size businesses manage their operations and their customers.
On the Microsoft ERP-side, Microsoft Dynamics software helps with finance, human resources, operations, supply chain and project management.
The software which falls under the Microsoft ERP umbrella, is, as I list below:
• Microsoft Dynamics NAV
• Microsoft Dynamics GP
• Microsoft Dynamics AX
• Microsoft Dynamics SL
On the CRM-side, Microsoft CRM helps with sales, service and marketing capabilities.
How Microsoft Dynamics Helped
How we used Microsoft CRM
In my company, the journalists, writers and corporate communicators that we hire and deploy have worked for hundreds of organisations. The majority of the time, they work on a temporary basis, at which point, they are redeployed to another role and company.
Once they’ve left one of my clients, that customer may no longer require contact workers from us for a number of years. By which time, their organization has changed, and we may have very well been forgotten about.
In steps Microsoft Customer Relationship Management Software.
First and foremost, Microsoft CRM acted as a one-stop-shop for all of our customers contact details, and a notepad for the business deals we struck in the past. I could tell you, for example, that the CEO of an internationally-renowned blogging site we work with has three daughters, a dog named Rover, and is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Committing these sorts of details to memory, when you have hundreds of clients, is virtually impossible. Microsoft CRM allowed us to consolidate all of our in-house knowledge on our clients and their employees.
Moreover, we were able to develop an automated e-mail marketing campaign using the best CRM software in the market. The fantastic thing about automated e-mail marketing is the ability to personalise your messaging and track the responses.
If I had a penny for every piece of repeat business generated as a result of our e-mail marketing campaign, I’d be a millionaire.
How we used Microsoft ERP
Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning, on the other hand, helped our Human Resources department to automate administrative tasks, manage our talent pool, and inspire collaboration among our employees, who all had divergent backgrounds.
As an anecdote, we have a staff trainer that helps some of our more academically-inclined writers to make the switch to the business world. For his lessons, it was imperative that writers did some pre-course work.
Using Microsoft Dynamics, we developed a web portal that allowed each writer to view the course and their classmates beforehand, on a self-service basis. They were also sent an e-mail reminder well in-advance, where they were told to get started on homework assignments.