User Stories for Grants Manager Plus
Oct16

User Stories for Grants Manager Plus

My company InfoStrat offers government software solutions, and our most popular has been Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, based on Dynamics 365.  I receive inquiries on this solution from around the world, and the most common questions include how long it will take to implement and how much will it cost. User stories which describe your grant program and business processes are essential to… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Microsoft Azure for Recovery Sites and Failover
Oct01

Microsoft Azure for Recovery Sites and Failover

Whether you are operating your servers on premises or in the cloud, a cloud service like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform are ideal for supporting recovery of sites in case of hardware or communications failures.  If your servers are primarily at your data center, having additional servers at that facility may not help your users if access is cut off due to a… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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DevOps for Microsoft Dynamics
Sep25

DevOps for Microsoft Dynamics

The repository for DevOps for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement https://github.com/devkeydet/dyn365-ce-devops Much has been written about how Microsoft Dynamics may be used to create software solutions using configuration to replace extensive coding needed for traditional software development.  This “low code” approach can save time and reduce costs for building and implementing business… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Dynamics Customer Service Best Practices
Sep18

Microsoft Dynamics Customer Service Best Practices

By Ayesha Mirza, senior consultant at InfoStrat One of the key initiatives of customer service is to make tasks easier for both the customer and customer service agents. Customers want to find information and customer service agents have the need to process, absorb and promote information requests in order to provide an adequate customer experience. Streamlining this flow… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Learning About Microsoft Azure: What is Azure?
Sep17

Learning About Microsoft Azure: What is Azure?

Microsoft Azure is one of the big three cloud computing services (along with Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform ) and has been growing rapidly for many years.  The following highlights key concepts for those who may be new to Azure.  These topics are geared toward a CIO or CTO rather than a network expert or developer who may be researching more advanced topics. Many of the… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Capture Management in CRM for Government IDIQ and BPAs
Sep05

Capture Management in CRM for Government IDIQ and BPAs

Government agencies often create blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) and indefinite date indefinite quantity (IDIQ) orders in order to simplify procurement, so that they can have a smaller number of bidders respond to requirements and to set prices for products and services that they know they will need in the future. Tracking these BPA and IDIQ opportunities in your customer relationship… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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The Story of InfoStrat and Grant Management
Aug20

The Story of InfoStrat and Grant Management

I am often asked how InfoStrat became involved in grants management and why Microsoft chose InfoStrat to develop its grant management solutions Stimulus360 and Grants Manager Plus. Since the late 1990s, InfoStrat has been working in grants management for state, local, and federal agencies.  In 2009, we were contracted by Microsoft to build the Microsoft Stimulus360 ARRA (American Recovery and… Continue Reading...

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Getting the Most Out of Dynamics 365 Upgrades
Aug10

Getting the Most Out of Dynamics 365 Upgrades

Microsoft has settled into a schedule of providing significant enhancements to Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) every six months, so all of us who use the product must adapt to being in a constant state of adopting new features and preparing for the next upgrade.  Microsoft is investing heavily in development of Dynamics, and pouring the fruits of research and development such as… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Alternative Interfaces for Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM)
Aug09

Alternative Interfaces for Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM)

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/about-unified-interface Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a leading CRM package, and its web interface packs a great deal of power and flexibility.  But what if you don’t like they way that it looks, or you want to streamline it a bit for some users or functions? Although it may not be apparent to first time users, there are… Continue Reading...

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Mining Your CRM Data Using Artificial Intelligence and Analytics
Aug07

Mining Your CRM Data Using Artificial Intelligence and Analytics

One of the hottest topics in information technology today is using artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics tools to help you identify patterns which can guide you in digital transformation efforts. To make these efforts fruitful, your first hurdle is to identify data worth mining.  For many organizations, your CRM system is a great place to start.  If you have used CRM such as Microsoft… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Consider the Overhead Costs of Tracking Data
Aug07

Consider the Overhead Costs of Tracking Data

When I was meeting with one of InfoStrat’s clients recently, we were discussing what fields to include in an online application form for a new system.  Over the years, the form had grown to 29 pages, including several pages of legal terms and conditions which required no user input but required review and acceptance. We went through the form page by page to determine which fields were needed,… Continue Reading...

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Five Ways to Ensure Compliance with Your Grant Management System
Jun22

Five Ways to Ensure Compliance with Your Grant Management System

As a grantor or a grantee, your organization is responsible to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the funding that you receive.  My company InfoStrat has implemented grant management systems for U.S. government agencies and non-profits for over twenty years.  Here are some of the principles that we follow in order to help clients achieve compliance and accountability as… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Cloud Services Shift Roles for System Administrators
Jun21

Cloud Services Shift Roles for System Administrators

Cloud computing has shifted many tasks away from system administrators who were previously responsible for managing servers which were located on premises or in dedicated data centers.  Many system management tasks such as all hardware upgrades, repairs and replacements and networking issues are now handled by cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft,  Google and others).  In most… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Microsoft Master VAR Velosio Signs Reseller Agreement with CRM Vendor Nimble
Jun14

Microsoft Master VAR Velosio Signs Reseller Agreement with CRM Vendor Nimble

Today social sales and marketing CRM vendor Nimble, based in Santa Monica, California, announced that they signed Microsoft Partner Velosio as a global reseller for their cloud-based contact management solution. I spoke to representatives at Nimble to learn why this is important news to the Microsoft channel.  Velosio is the result of the merge in December 2017 of Socius and SBS Group — two of… Continue Reading...

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File Storage Options for Dynamics 365 Portal
May11

File Storage Options for Dynamics 365 Portal

Microsoft offers Dynamics Portal as a way for external users to access information in Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM). Portals are included in some Dynamics 365 subscriptions, and are used in scenarios such as customer service, employee self-service, online communities, and supplier portals. Dynamics Portal is also applicable for xRM solutions such as grant management, eligibility… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Microsoft Dynamics 365: So Many Apps, So Little Time
May11

Microsoft Dynamics 365: So Many Apps, So Little Time

I have been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 since it was called Dynamics CRM.  The product was so successful that Microsoft took what was once three CRM products in one (sales, marketing, and customer service) and broke it into separate solutions along with introducing new apps including Field Service and Project Service.  Microsoft also brought its preferred accounting products Dynamics… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 3
Apr30

Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 3

The discontinuation of Microsoft Parature is just over two weeks from now, so presumably nearly all customers have chosen a new software platform for customer service and migrated to that platform. Many customers likely chose Microsoft Dynamics 365.  They may have picked Dynamics 365 because it comes from Microsoft, and they can receive credit from Microsoft for any Parature subscriptions which… Continue Reading...

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8 Steps to Execute an Internal Communication Plan that Builds Trust and Gets Results
Apr04

8 Steps to Execute an Internal Communication Plan that Builds Trust and Gets Results

The following is a guest blog post from Tabetha Sheaver, CEO of Plus Delta 314. Her new company focuses on helping customers succeed with adoption of CRM and other solutions.  Does your company suffer from poor communication? Poor communication is cited as the #1 reason for employee turnover and project failures. Organizational change management is a discipline that has a number of steps and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Understanding Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Admin Roles
Mar22

Understanding Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Admin Roles

Managing Dynamics 365 instances If you run Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) in the Microsoft cloud, you need to understand how your Dynamics instances relate to Office 365 and choose which of your administrators receives which roles and permissions to manage Dynamics 365. In on premises deployments, your network administrator would create and delete user accounts.  The Dynamics 365… Continue Reading...

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Track Your Relationships in CRM — Whether or Not You Have "Customers"
Mar14

Track Your Relationships in CRM — Whether or Not You Have "Customers"

Many businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) software to track sales activities, marketing and customer service, but CRM is a great tool for tracking other relationships as well. My company InfoStrat is focused on work for government agencies and non-profits, neither of which have customers per se, but they do have relationships with citizens, stakeholders, members, vendors,… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Time is Running Out for Parature Migration to Dynamics 365
Mar12

Time is Running Out for Parature Migration to Dynamics 365

With Microsoft scheduled to shut down the Parature customer service solution on May 15, 2018, time is running out to convert to Microsoft Dynamics 365.  Microsoft offers a migration tool to make it easier to export data from Parature.  For a look at how Microsoft Dynamics 365 handles customer service and field service, watch this video: To migrate to Dynamics 365, start by purchasing a… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors (GovCon) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Feb13

Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors (GovCon) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

One of InfoStrat’s most popular solutions is Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors (GovCon). Here are some answers to frequently asked question on this solution: Can I add new fields to the solution?  — Yes, the solution is fully customizable and you can add your own new fields to any form, view or report. Does Dynamics 365 for GovCon work on mobile devices?  — Yes, Microsoft offers mobile… Continue Reading...

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Introducing InfoStrat ProShop Professional Services
Jan30

Introducing InfoStrat ProShop Professional Services

InfoStrat has recently announced a new service offering called ProShop to allow its clients access to dedicated support and software development services throughout the year outside of a structured project.  This service complements InfoStrat’s specialties of Microsoft Dynamics, SharePoint, ClickDimensions, Scribe, Sitecore, and custom development. ProShop addresses your information technology… Continue Reading...

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You Gain by Using Software, Not Just Owning It
Jan14

You Gain by Using Software, Not Just Owning It

January is the time for New Years resolutions and for planning new initiatives.  The gym is getting crowded with new members who have vowed to exercise more.  Others are trying out new treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical trainers at home. Unfortunately, many of them will not stick with their plans more than a few weeks, as they become bored or other priorities take over. This reminds… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Dynamics for Human Capital Management
Jan02

Microsoft Dynamics for Human Capital Management

Microsoft continues to release new Dynamics software offerings at a rapid pace.  This post is to introduce Microsoft solutions for human capital management. Future posts will provide more product comparisons.  The flagship Microsoft Dynamics product is Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (Enterprise Edition): https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/fin-and-ops/ It is… Continue Reading...

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Top 5 Predictions for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in 2018
Dec29

Top 5 Predictions for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in 2018

The prognosticating season is on us, so I will stop procrastinating and offer my predictions for customer relationship management (CRM) in 2018: The software leaders (Salesforce and Microsoft) will extend their leads. As in many other areas of technology, the top selling products tend to gain market share, and smaller players wither or are acquired.  Salesforce is synonymous to CRM for most… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Flexible Grant Management Software: Long Term Considerations
Nov30

Flexible Grant Management Software: Long Term Considerations

My company InfoStrat has developed grant management systems for federal, state, and local governments as well as non-profits for nearly twenty years.  I have noticed a new emphasis on the requirement for flexibility in creating a system which can be easily modified to handle new grant programs and changes in business rules. Here are my top dos and don’ts from our experience and that of our… Continue Reading...

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Grant Management with FedRAMP Certification: Microsoft Dynamics 365
Nov30

Grant Management with FedRAMP Certification: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Federal agencies that administer grant programs are obligated to move to cloud solutions where possible, while maintaining adherence with security regulations such as FedRAMP which set high standards for cloud data centers. Dynamics 365 U.S. Government was granted a FedRAMP Agency ATO at the Moderate Impact Level by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Although the scope of… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365
Nov27

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Social selling is a fast growing category for sales force automation.  Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, the leading professional social network in the United States, it has been adding features and improving the user experience in order to support social selling for business-to-business companies.  For most companies, the central repository for sales information is the customer relationship… Continue Reading...

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Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 2
Oct30

Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 2

On October 9, 2017, Microsoft released a migration tool to help its Parature customer service customers migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365.   This blog post is a continuation of the first post in the Parature migration series. The Parature migration tool provides capabilities to export data from Parature, map the data to Dynamics 365 fields, and configure a Dynamics 365 portal to replace the… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Amazing Subscription Deal for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing — For Small Business
Oct25

Amazing Subscription Deal for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing — For Small Business

My blog is not usually focused on bargain hunting, but Microsoft is offering a promotion for a limited time which represents more than fifty percent off the normal price of a Dynamics 365 Sales subscription for qualifying small businesses.  The offer is called Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Service, Enterprise Editions (SMB Offer) and the offer ID...

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Onvia 8 Now Available: Find Government Contracting Opportunities
Oct05

Onvia 8 Now Available: Find Government Contracting Opportunities

Onvia recently shipped a new version of its government contracting information service – Onvia 8. The latest version brings a clean, new  interface along with many new search features:  Onvia now provides better support for mobile devices than ever: For me, one of the most exciting features is integration with CRM systems.  Onvia supports Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce, the two most… Continue Reading...

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Grant Management Portal: What to Include
Sep21

Grant Management Portal: What to Include

If your government agency or non-profit provides grants, your applicants and grantees may expect a web portal to apply for a grant, check on that status of their applications, and submit post-award reports.  Grant software such as Microsoft Grants Manager Plus offer portals which allow you to interact with your data via the portal rather than store the data in a second place and replicate the… Continue Reading...

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Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 1
Sep12

Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 1

Breaking News: Microsoft has updated the release date of the Parature migration tool to the end of September 2017. In spring 2017, Microsoft announced that it was phasing out its Parature cloud customer service offering in favor of Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, one of the Dynamics 365 apps based on what was previously called Dynamics CRM.  Parature customers and Microsoft partners were… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Grant Management for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
Sep05

Grant Management for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Hurricane Harvey reminds us that Americans are vulnerable to natural disasters which can be devastating, especially to low income cities and counties.  Federal grants are key to recovery and rebuilding efforts. As explained on its website, “HUD provides flexible grants to help cities, counties, and States recover from Presidentially declared disasters, especially in low-income areas, subject to… Continue Reading...

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5 Ways that Portals Improve Your CRM
Jul26

5 Ways that Portals Improve Your CRM

Today I received a blog suggestion to explain why you might want to have a portal for your customer relationship management (CRM) system.  I have written about Portal Options for Microsoft Dynamics 365 recently, but I didn’t provide reasons why you might want to use a portal.  So here are my Top Five Ways that Portals Improve Your CRM: Provide a simple user experience for occasional users. You… Continue Reading...

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