Increasing efficiency within a company has occupied mankind for centuries. We all strive to continuously optimize processes, increase their efficiency, reduce costs and maximize profits. Good examples from the past are not only the loom and the railroad, but also the continuous development of the automobile and information technology.
Today, the latter is influenced above all by advancing digitization, in which processes and information are stored, processed and automated digitally. Nevertheless, many processes are still carried out manually today. However, these can often be optimized with the help of the Microsoft Power Platform, for example, and thus made much more efficient. The best thing about it is that the Power Platform is a low/no-code platform. This means that processes can be digitized, automated and even apps developed independently without extensive programming knowledge.
Especially in the areas responsible for customer data and its management, a lot can be done. After all, every lead, every sale and every email generates a mass of data, and it is not only important that a large number of people in the company have access to it, but also that business-critical insights are gained from the collected data.
Microsoft Power Platform digitizes and automates processes
The Microsoft Power Platform is a cloud-based application platform consisting of the services Power BI, Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents, Power Automate and, more recently, Power Pages. The goal of these solutions is to digitize and automate processes in such a way that both their efficiency and productivity increase.
The automation of processes is based on the Power Automate tool, which can be used to implement information flows, workflows, reminders or even pure RPAs (Robotic Process Automation).
The goal of these automations should always be to support and relieve humans as best as possible, for example by providing all necessary information from different systems, so that the tedious search for it is spared.
The use cases here are diverse, they can be used in different industries and departments, and they can be customized. Thus, different business processes and workflow requirements can be solved and optimized as needed. In the following, we will go into some use scenarios in which the Power Platform tools are used to solve CRM processes and workflow requirements.
Workflow around offers
A good example of an automated workflow that is triggered from the CRM is the quotation release. A quotation is usually created in CRM, since not only are the appropriate templates and text modules stored here, but also, for example, the customer’s currently applicable conditions can be found.
Often, the dual control principle applies to quotations, or the quotation must be submitted to the supervisor for approval if it exceeds a certain amount. Without automated or digitalized processes, the offer often has to be printed out and submitted to the boss for signature. Then you have to hope that it will be signed promptly – in most cases, you literally have to run after the signature. Once the signature has been obtained, the document is scanned in again and sent to the customer.
In the case of process automation via Microsoft tools, the supervisor is informed that a quotation is available for approval via a team message as soon as the quotation is saved. If the manager now approves the offer, the employee also receives a notification of the approval via Teams. The process can even be automated to such an extent that the offer is sent directly at the time of approval. And best of all, all approval workflows are documented in the CRM so that everything can be tracked transparently.
Have file structures created by a workflow
Most companies today already use a well thought-out filing system for information and files relating to the customer. However, this is often still detached from the CRM, which torpedoes the much-vaunted 360° view. A sensible workflow that can be mapped with on-board Microsoft tools is the automated creation of folder structures in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint as soon as a certain action is performed in CRM, such as the creation of a sales opportunity. This creates a central location that bundles process- and object-oriented collaboration. In addition, administrative efforts for the creation of folder structures or document libraries are avoided.
Automated messages in case of changes
Good collaboration always includes keeping everyone up to date. However, instead of relying on everyone keeping themselves informed, it is advisable to automate information gathering as much as possible. For example, every time a sales opportunity is updated, a task is created, or a service notification is created, not only can a notification be made in the CRM, but an email can also be automatically triggered to the appropriate group of people.
There are many ways to automate workflows and processes. With the right applications, companies today can digitize and advance processes and thus automate a multitude of recurring and sometimes time-consuming tasks.
Have you ever asked your colleagues which tasks they find particularly tedious? Why not do so? This could be a simple lever to increase internal productivity and improve the bottom line.
Learn more about digital process optimization and automation in the CRM context and how the Microsoft Power Platform can help at itmX GmbH’s virtual CRM Strategy Summit on May 16,
About the Author:
As Head of Modern Workplace at itmX GmbH, Robin Hartmann is responsible for optimizing business processes and helping to position the company for future challenges. As a creative thinker, he is primarily driven by innovation topics. Due to his proximity to customers, he experiences real business requirements first-hand and enjoys driving them forward together.