SharePoint has had excellent dashboard presentation capabilities for a long time now. Dynamics CRM formally rolled out dashboard reporting with CRM 2011 (although using SharePoint and/or SSRS enabled dashboard reporting with previous versions of CRM). Now that this functionality is getting embraced and adopted by many organizations, how can it best be leveraged to change the game by truly accelerating performance? Simple. Combine the best of Microsoft SharePoint, Dynamics CRM 2011 and TV or large monitors placed in public areas within your business. Here’s how we’ve done it at C5 Insight.
First off, we created great dashboards using native CRM 2011 functionality (such as views, charts and, of course, dashboards). We used these for a while in production to ensure that they were producing the kind of information we could use to drive behavior and/or make better business decisions. This includes setting goals and using the goal management features of CRM to help individuals understand exactly where they stand relative to expectations.
Next, we did the same with SharePoint. We looked at the kinds of information that is not in CRM that we would want to report on. This includes things like financials, summarized project information (although this information is tracked by us in CRM, the native charts do not have sufficient functionality to present the dashboards we needed, so we used Excel services in SharePoint to render this kind of information) and the company calendar. Some custom SharePoint information can be added, such as a Wiki where you enter daily announcements or a “welcome” message when you know a client will be visiting the office that day.
Third step? The CRM dashboards can be merged with SharePoint by using Iframes or Web Resources within the CRM 2011 dashboards. These components can “hold” the content that we want to present on our dashboards from SharePoint. We can then trim away the CRM “flash” (such as the ribbon and menu) just by calling the correct URL so the dashboards are presented as a “kiosk”.
The last step: put large screen monitors, that can connect to the web, in key locations in your business. In the nearby image, we’ve placed a monitor near our main entrance where people gather regularly; and we have another one in another office area down the hall. These monitors are configured to show the desktop of a nearby computer (in our case, we’re running the Android OS on these monitors and they remote desktop to the machine, but many other options exist to enable this). We also downloaded remote control apps that can run on iPhone, Windows Mobile or Android so that we can interact with our dashboards with our mobile devices (including our Kindle Fires – very cool!) Multiple dashboards can be setup so that they dashboard rotates periodically, and so that information is refreshed periodically.
That’s how we did it – but it can work a bit differently depending on your situation. One area that many larger businesses may need for their dashboards is a true BI (business intelligence) dashboard that combines data from multiple sources into a data warehouse and then renders that on a dashboard. This, too, can be presented on an interactive monitor. Adding a touch screen to this will be the ultimate, “Minority Report” experience … can’t wait to add that!
Interested in how to change the game in your organization with great dashboards? Click here to contact us and let’s talk about it!