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Author: Liz McGlennen

The Power of ADKAR Unlocks Change Success

Different models and frameworks in the field of change management assist firms in navigating the difficulties of carrying out successful transitions. The ADKAR model, which offers a structured method of managing change at the person level, is one example of such a model. We shall examine the ADKAR model’s definition and practical applications in this blog article.

The ADKAR model, developed by Jeff Hiatt and popularized through his book, ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community, is an acronym that stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. These five elements represent the key stages an individual undergoes during a change initiative. Let’s dive into each component of the model.

Awareness of the Need for Change: The first stage is to raise people’s knowledge of the justification and goal for the change. It entails explaining the motivations, advantages, and prospective effects of the change.

Desire to Support Change: It is crucial to foster people’s desire and willingness to support and participate in the change once they are aware of its necessity. This entails resolving reservations, supplying inspiration, and highlighting the advantages for both the individual and the company.

Knowledge of How to Change: It is vital to provide people with the knowledge and abilities needed to accept change. Individuals can gain new skills, increase their confidence, and comprehend the process of transformation with the use of educational materials, training programs, and workshops.

Ability to Demonstrate Skills and Behaviors: Individuals must be able to use their newly acquired information successfully; knowledge alone is insufficient. Giving people the chance to practice, receive coaching, and receive feedback enables them to build the necessary skills and behaviors to successfully implement the change.

Reinforcement to Make the Change Stay: As a continual process, change necessitates ongoing reinforcement in order to be sustained. It is easier to establish new behaviors and guarantee long-term success when people are praised and rewarded for their efforts, when milestones are celebrated, and when the advantages of the change are emphasized.

The ADKAR model offers practitioners of change management a framework for comprehending and addressing the personal component of change. Organizations can support their employees through the process of change and improve the likelihood of successful adoption by concentrating on each component of the model. The following are some helpful hints for applying the ADKAR model:

  1. Determine the present situation: Analyze the organization’s preparation for change and pinpoint any areas where people might encounter resistance or skill or knowledge deficiencies.
  2. Make strategic communication plans: Create compelling and unambiguous communications to spread information about the change throughout the organization and to raise awareness of it.
  3. Ensure sufficient training and resources: Provide thorough training courses and other materials that address the precise knowledge and abilities needed for the change project.
  4. By providing coaching and mentoring, you can: Assign mentors or change champions to help people through the process of change, offer encouragement, and reinforce the desirable habits.
  5. To ensure that the change is ingrained in the corporate culture, it is important to continuously track the progress of the change, recognize achievements, and offer reinforcement.

For change management professionals, the ADKAR model is a useful tool for navigating the challenges of successfully implementing transformations. Organizations may improve the efficacy of their change programs and boost employee buy-in by recognizing and addressing the distinct aspects of change. Keep in mind that change involves people as well as processes and systems. Organizations can use the ADKAR model to foster an environment where people feel more supported and empowered to accept change and produce long-lasting results.

Check out our podcast episode to learn more!

Change Management

Rediscovering the Joy of Reading: Liz’s 2023 Reflection

One of Liz’s 2023 personal highlights was rediscovering the joy of reading. This year, she immersed herself in the pages of 28 books. She knew had read “a lot”, but didn’t realize how many until she counted for this post. It fills her with amazement and gratitude that she found THAT MUCH time to read…

UAT: Key Differences and Best Practices between Agile and Waterfall

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is essential for making sure that Dynamics 365 projects are successful. Depending on whether the project uses Agile or Waterfall approaches, the approach to UAT can vary greatly. We will examine the distinctions between UAT in Agile and Waterfall in this blog article, as well as highlight the crucial factors to take into account when organizing and carrying out the best UAT sessions.

UAT is a continuous procedure that occurs throughout the project in agile approaches. Users can test new features and give feedback after each release since features are released incrementally as they are created. This ongoing feedback loop makes it possible to quickly handle any problems or changes in requirements, which results in a more responsive and adaptable development process. UAT sessions may be shorter and more frequent in an agile setting, with users actively participating in testing and offering feedback as the project moves along.

A sequential approach is used by Waterfall techniques, which have separate phases for requirements gathering, design, development, and testing. After the system has been fully implemented and at the end of the development lifecycle, UAT normally takes place in a Waterfall project. In contrast to Agile, where UAT is a continuous process, Waterfall UAT sessions typically focus on a more thorough system verification against predetermined acceptance criteria. The main responsibility of users is to confirm that the finished product fits their needs and expectations.

The project’s nature also affects the UAT strategy. Both Agile and Waterfall UAT for enhancement projects on existing systems may require testing new functionality or changes in isolation to make sure they do not impair the stability of the existing system. Net new projects, on the other hand, where a system is developed from scratch, need a more thorough UAT procedure. This guarantees that the new system satisfies user needs and successfully replaces the old one.

UAT should not be the first time a system is tested, regardless of the approach. There are preliminary testing phases in both Agile and Waterfall, such as unit testing, where the development team confirms the system’s fundamental correctness and functioning before delivering it to users for acceptance testing. This lowers the likelihood of significant issues during UAT by identifying and resolving problems early in the development lifecycle.

In conclusion, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a crucial component of both Agile and Waterfall techniques, although their methods and schedules are different. Waterfall UAT is more thorough and occurs toward the conclusion of the project, whereas Agile UAT is ongoing, iterative, and frequently involves user involvement. Planning and carrying out the most efficient UAT sessions requires a thorough understanding of the project’s approach and its unique requirements. Customizing the UAT process to the project’s demands can guarantee successful user acceptance and produce high-quality software solutions.

Check out our podcast episodes on similar topics to learn more!

Revolutionizing Customer Service Management: Real-time Tools for Supervisors

Effective management is essential in today’s fast-paced customer service industry to guarantee customer happiness and team efficiency. Technology improvements have given managers access to strong tools that let them help and monitor their teams in real time. We will examine the manager tools available in Dynamics 365 Customer Service and how they transform team management in this blog article.

The ability to listen in on ongoing discussions between agents and clients is one of the most important tools accessible to supervisors. OmniChannel offers a feature where supervisors have the option to join ongoing conversations, whether they are taking place over the phone or in a web chat. During these chats, a built-in dashboard offers information into consumer sentiment, enabling managers to spot possible problems. Supervisors can pick the conversation and start listening if the tone takes a turn for the worse.

The supervisor can choose from a number of interaction choices while monitoring. They can get a transcription of current phone calls or listen in immediately to gain important context. Supervisors can read the complete chat in the case of web chat. Importantly, a pop-up message informs the agents of the supervisor’s presence, promoting transparency and enhancing teamwork. Supervisors can also offer direction and support using chat messages within the OmniChannel interface to ensure seamless collaboration.

While there are no built-in alerts for negative sentiment, it is possible to set up custom notifications with additional configuration using Power Automate. This feature helps supervisors to be alerted when client conversations need their attention, which improves their capacity to deal with problems quickly. OmniChannel is a useful tool for managers to use when leading their teams because of its monitoring features and notifications.

The benefits do not stop with just current client conversations, they are also offer value to junior team members throughout training, coaching, and management interaction. These features can be used by managers to offer real-time direction and assistance, revolutionizing the way teams are managed. Supervisors are better equipped to provide timely support and step in when they can see what is going on in a conversation right away. This feature is especially useful in distant work settings where managers are unable to see how their teams communicate in person. These tools’ accessibility equips managers to adjust to shifting workplace dynamics and uphold a high degree of support for their teams.

Additionally, these instruments significantly enhance quality control procedures. Managers are asked to listen to recordings of calls and provide agents feedback days or weeks after the call had occurred. The agent’s memory of the interaction and the feedback received were frequently out of sync as a result of this delayed input. Supervisors are able to provide fast feedback based on real-time sentiment analysis when they have the opportunity to listen in on talks. This makes sure that agents receive feedback when the situation is top of mind, which improves performance and increases job satisfaction.

Supervisors have access to a number of revolutionary features through the manager tools accessible in Dynamics 365 Customer Service, particularly through the OmniChannel app. The way teams are managed has undergone a transformation due to the capability of monitoring current conversations, receiving real-time insights into consumer sentiment, and offering rapid support. Regardless of their location, these technologies enable training, mentoring, and assistance for agents. Supervisors can enhance team performance, raise customer happiness, and respond to the changing needs of the customer service environment by utilizing these technologies. These tools are crucial for efficient management and creating excellent customer experiences as customer service continues to develop.

Check out our podcast episode to learn more!

OMNICHANNEL OVERLOAD – Learn How Omnichannel Amplifies the Customer Service Experience

A Strategic Guide to Efficiently Set Up Dynamics 365 Customer Service

Dynamics 365 Customer Service setup can appear to be a complex process, but with the appropriate guidance and understanding, it can be intuitive and effective to any System Administrator. We will examine the Dynamics 365 Customer Service setup procedure, highlighting the crucial processes and factors. You can bring your customer support operations to life by following Microsoft’s available resources and focusing on the state of your call center in the future.

Configuring OmniChannel for Customer Service

Dynamics 365’s OmniChannel app provides a wide variety of configuration options to tailor the customer service experience. You have the option to modify the system to meet your unique needs, from picking the hold music to deploying chatbots for chats. Although the setup procedure may appear difficult, Microsoft offers thorough documentation and support to help you every step of the way.

Strategizing for Success

It is vital to plan and determine the future status of your call center before beginning the setup. Focus on establishing a productive and customized experience for your agents while keeping in mind how you want to communicate with your customers. Based on the type of engagement, such as phone calls, web chats, or responding to cases, you may tailor agent screens with OmniChannel. You may streamline your agents’ process and increase overall productivity by making plans in advance.

User Management and Security

The Customer Service admin center showcases the most recent user management features that make it simpler to manage security and user rights. The administration procedure is made simpler by the ability to build capacity profiles, assign skills, and add users to queues in bulk. These improvements simplify the establishment of user roles and permissions within the system, saving time and effort.

Challenges and Tips for Smooth Implementation

There can be some difficulties when setting up Dynamics 365 Customer Service. It’s critical to anticipate problems and make appropriate plans for how to correct them. For instance, the sequence in which you complete specific tasks, such developing workstreams, can affect upcoming changes. It may be necessary to start over when changing some settings after they have been created. Paying close attention to the smallest details and according to suggested processes might help prevent needless setbacks.

Documentation and Resources

Although there is thorough documentation accessible on Microsoft Learn, it could take some work to find particular information. Examining the available resources, such as Microsoft’s documentation and online discussion groups, can offer insightful information and assist in overcoming difficulties during setup. It can be helpful to work with seasoned consultants and get suggestions from people who have handled similar installations.

Provisioning and configurating Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service requires careful planning. Although it could appear complicated at first, with the correct strategy and tools, it transforms into an understandable and effective way to improve customer service operations. You may design a customized experience that increases agent productivity and raises customer happiness by putting a strong emphasis on future state planning, utilizing OmniChannel’s customization features, and being careful of security and user management. Dynamics 365 Customer Service will be implemented without incident if enough planning and familiarity with the system are done.

Check out our podcast episode on the same topic!

OMNICHANNEL OVERLOAD – Learn How Omnichannel Amplifies the Customer Service Experience

Admin Delicacies: Starting with Liz’s Appetizer of CRM Best Practices & Tools!

In this special installment of our admin series each of us will present our top recommendations for CRM administrators. The combined knowledge and experience we’ve accumulated over the years is represented by these suggestions, which aren’t ordered in any particular order. We invite our readers to participate as we discuss each tip in detail. Please feel free to provide any further information or advice in the comments or on social media. Keep in mind that the beauty of the CRM community is in the collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Join me as we set out on this enlightening voyage!

First, Liz discusses her views on best practices for administration and her personal favorite administrative tools.

1. Don’t build directly in the Production Environment

Every CRM administrator should refrain from building straight in the production environment as it’s a risky decision. No matter the scale of the business, configuration must be done in at least one lower environment, such a development sandbox. Additionally, if you’re using several environments, make sure that any problems found there are fixed before switching to production. This tip also encompasses data modifications as well as setups and solutions. To avoid potential disruptions or data loss, test any substantial changes in a lower environment before implementing them in production.

2. Consistent form & view design

For a seamless user experience, form and view design consistency is essential. To prevent confusion and user annoyance, fields that appear on several forms should be placed consistently. For example, frequently used data like the owner field should be positioned consistently, such as in the header. In the same way, columns that appear in different views should keep the same order. Additionally, avoid making the first column in a view a lookup column that leads to a different record. Inadvertent clickers may become confused by this. Finally, avoid putting frequently changed fields in the header because doing so requires an extra step and increases the risk of users missing them.

3. XrmToolbox for admins

Attribute Usage Inspector

Have you ever wondered how often certain fields on your form are being used? Especially when users complain about the abundance of fields they never utilize? The Attribute Usage Inspector is the answer. This tool allows you to run a report on a per-table basis to determine the usage frequency of each field. Business needs evolve over time and a field that was once deemed essential during deployment might become redundant and unnecessary. With the Attribute Usage Inspector, you can make informed decisions about which fields to retain and which ones to remove.

User Settings Utility

One of the challenges CRM admins face is setting default user settings. While the out-of-the-box CRM doesn’t allow for this, the XrmToolBox’s User Settings Utility does. Instead of training each user to update their personal settings, admins can now do it for them. A notable feature of this tool is its ability to show current user settings. Simply click on a user’s name, and you’ll see their existing configurations. The XrmToolBox community is dynamic, with regular updates and enhancements to its tools. This ensures that you always have the best and latest features at your disposal.

Personal Artefact Manager / Personal View Manager

As an admin, accessing personal items like user charts or dashboards can be challenging. This becomes even more problematic when a user who has created numerous charts or dashboards leaves the organization. How do you access, clean up, or reassign these personal artefacts? The Personal Artefact Manager or Personal View Manager in the XrmToolBox is the solution. It grants admins the ability to view, manage, and reassign these personal items, ensuring continuity and organization within the CRM.

What a fascinating journey through the CRM administration halls with Liz’s excellent advice! There is always something new to learn and apply, from navigating the production environment’s nooks and crannies to the delightful discoveries in the XrmToolbox. But as the saying goes, getting there is only half the battle. Keep those digital sneakers on because Ali will be the next person in our series to continue the CRM admin tips & tricks journey! She has been eager to share her top CRM admin advice that has influenced her career. Liz’s insights were only the appetizer, prepare yourself for Ali-style CRM wisdom as the main course.

Check out our CRM admin podcast series…

  1. Episode 1: What’s an Admin anyway?
  2. Episode 2: What team does your CRM admin belong on?
  3. Episode 3: Tips for Troubleshooting

Choosing the Ideal Placement for Your CRM Admin: Business or IT?

Determining where to position your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) admin can be a pivotal decision for many organizations looking to enhance the management and support of their CRM system. This choice is not one-size-fits-all and requires careful consideration. In this article, we explore important considerations to weigh when deciding whether the CRM administrator belongs on the business side or the IT department.

Your organization’s structure is one of the most important things to think about. This choice heavily depends on the responsibilities and relationships of your IT and business teams. Organizational structures can differ, even if the contrast may be obvious in some instances. While larger firms could have centralized IT departments handling many functions, smaller businesses might have IT teams reporting directly to the CFO. Making an informed decision requires having a solid understanding of its structure.

Financial considerations also play a significant role in the placement of the CRM admin. Who funds the CRM admin’s role and investments in CRM system enhancements can significantly impact where they should be located within the organization. The success of CRM can be significantly impacted by the availability of resources. Departments that can secure funding more readily might be better positioned to house the admin, but this varies from one organization to another.

A successful CRM system requires strong collaboration and communication across many departments and leaders, regardless of the placement that is used. An unwavering supporter of the CRM system and a clear definition of roles and responsibilities are essential components in this choice. The administrator needs to promote the CRM system and convince other organizational executives of its importance.

The decision of whether to locate the CRM administrator in the IT department or on the business side ultimately depends on the particular circumstances of your company. Since it depends on things like firm size, structure, and financial considerations, there is no definitive answer.

Spend some time thinking about the unique requirements of your firm and get feedback from IT, business executives, and other stakeholders. The chosen administrator should be able to bridge the gap between technology and business operations as well as being a steadfast supporter of the CRM system.

Regardless matter where your CRM system is located inside your organization, by carefully considering these aspects and matching the CRM admin’s position with your organizational goals, you can make a selection that maximizes the value and effectiveness of your CRM system.

Next week, we will help CRM Admins walk through the basic troubleshooting steps.

For more insights on being a CRM Administrator, view our admin series.

What Is a CRM Administrator and Their Responsibilities

Client relationship management (CRM) systems are crucial to preserving and improving customer connections. The CRM Administrator is a role that plays a key part in the successful management of these systems behind the scenes. We’ll go into the world of CRM administration in this blog post, looking at its description, main duties, and value to enterprises.

An internal resource known as a CRM administrator is in charge of maintaining a CRM system and ensuring that it is used efficiently throughout the company. They act as a link between the system’s technical components and the operational procedures it supports. A CRM administrator’s primary duties include:

  1. Supporting End Users: A significant part of a CRM administrator’s role involves working closely with end users to ensure they have a seamless experience with the system. This includes troubleshooting issues, providing user support, and addressing questions or issues.
  2. System Maintenance: CRM administrators are responsible for ensuring the CRM system’s uptime and seamless operation. They keep an eye on the system’s performance, make updates, and quickly fix any problems.
  3. Data Management: Data is the lifeblood of any CRM system. Administrators handle tasks such as data entry, data cleansing, and data deduplication. They guarantee the accuracy and integrity of the data stored within the CRM.
  4. Security Management: CRM administrators are essential in managing user access and permissions. They oversee security settings, ensuring that only authorized users have access to the system and its data.
  5. Training and User Adoption: User adoption is crucial for a CRM implementation to be successful. Administrators organize training sessions to introduce users with the system’s features and promote its efficient use across the organization.
  6. Enhancements and Upgrades: Administrators work on implementing changes and enhancements as the CRM system develops. They keep up with new features and make sure the system complies with the organization’s shifting requirements.

The position of a CRM administrator emerges as a keystone in maintaining optimum system performance and user engagement in the complicated world of CRM systems. CRM administrators wear many hats to keep the CRM engine working well, handling anything from addressing technical complexity to serving end users, managing data, and promoting system advancements. Their efforts are essential to a company’s capacity to forge solid bonds with customers, streamline processes, and succeed commercially. This article provides insights into the world of CRM administration, whether you’re thinking about a job in that field or want to comprehend the crucial position they perform.

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