Article by: Andrew Shough
In today’s wide world of technology, customers expect great value for the large sums of money they spend with providers; this includes prompt and clear feedback on projects, contracts, cases, etc. For a service based company such as us, this is crucial in order for us to maintain a relationship with our customers.
So how do you unlock value quickly? A self-service portal enables service companies to provide their customers with access to information concerning their account quickly, without the need to phone someone. A lot of this information is normally stored in a system such as Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM, as it is in our environment.
The CRM licence implications for providing clients access is very costly, not even to mention the security risk with them being able to access all information stored in CRM. So how do you enable a customer to access the right information, relevant only to them, in a cost effective and secure manner?
ADX Studio’s, a Microsoft company, has a portals solution that lives on top of your CRM and the data to provide information to your target audience. ADX is a portal technology built using the .Net asp.net Framework, and comes without any form of a database.
So how do I provide the information without a database?
ADX comes with a CRM solution that you deploy into your organisation and then the first time the website is accessed, it prompts for the CRM organisation to connect to. Once this information is captured, then you are ready to go, depending on how you have deployed the CRM Solution.
When deploying the CRM solution, you have the option of building everything from scratch; I.E: you deploy the components and then configure the whole site from scratch, or, you can use one of the starter site templates and ADX will build out pages, forms, and views for you to use with your existing data in CRM.
An example of this is the Knowledge base feature that is part of the support module in ADX. This feature will utilise the existing Articles entity in CRM to show content, as long as the article has “Publish to the web” marked as yes.
The above shows the article in standard CRM 2016, and below you can see the article showing up in the knowledge base in the ADX Portal.
This type of functionality is available for all information in CRM, it’s up to you as the implementation person on what information you wish to share with a customer. All of this information can be shared using CRM views and forms, and ADX pages.
And if you are worried about a customer seeing other customer’s data, there is no need to worry. ADX knows who the logged in contact is and what customer account they belong to and will not allow any data outside of that contact and his/her own information to be shown.
There are ways around this with custom development that is allowed in ADX, but more about that in the future.