Archive for the ‘General CRM’ Category

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Useful Data Cleanup Functions in Excel

November 12, 2009

We are often hired to import existing data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and much of this data comes to us in the form of Excel spreadsheets.  Most of these spreadsheets require some form of data cleanup before they can be imported into CRM.

We thought it might be helpful to post a list of functions we commonly use for cleanup in Excel.  Knowing these Excel features can make your life a *lot* easier if you are tasked with preparing data.

Concatenate: Use this functions to bring two fields together.  Let’s say, for example, you have purchased data from a mail house.  The

Proper: Sometimes, we get Excel spreadsheets where all company names are in UPPERCASE.  Use the Proper function to change this data to just capitalize the first letter of each word.  With company names like ABC Company, you’ll have some extra cleanup, but this function should clean up most of the company names.

Clean: Especially with data originally exported from Outlook, it’s common to see non-printing characters (like a hard return) in Excel cells.  You can use the Clean function to remove these non-printing characters en masse.

Data Transpose: Rows represent records, and columns represent fields.  If you have a spreadsheet that is set up the opposite way (with each column representing a record) then you can use the transpose function to switch the data around easily.  Copy all data, go to a new Excel spreadsheet, and Click Edit | Paste Special.  Then  choose the Transpose option and click OK.

Search/Replace: It may seem obvious, but the search/replace feature in Excel is a lot easier if done before you import data into CRM.

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So what is xRM?

October 24, 2009

xRM is  the use of CRM software as a development platform to create industry-specific applications that extend beyond the traditional use of CRM within sales organizations.

Ten years ago, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) replaced SFA (Sales Force Automation) as the buzzword-of-the-day.  Today, xRM is the new CRM.  A lot of folks ask us about the hype surrounding xRM, and so here’s a quick explanation of xRM.

Basically, traditional CRM focused on the customer.  In fact, the “C” in CRM stands for customer.  In a traditional CRM deployment, salespeople have used the CRM platform to create  a mechanism for tracking customers. 

With the advent of xRM, though, the CRM platform has been extended to focus on a variety of businesses.  The “x” in xRM is a wildcard.  It could stand for anything.  If you are a political office, xRM could be Constituent Relationship Management.   If you are a doctor’s office, xRM could be Patient Relationship Management.  If you are a charity, xRM could be Donor Relationship Management. 

In other words, xRM has extended far beyond the original focus on the salesperson/customer relationship.  Anyone tracking a relationship in a business environment can use xRM to stay organized.

This video from Microsoft talks about the concept of xRM.