Gill Walker – CRM Success Catalyst, Speaker, Educator, D365 Project Manager, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant, Solution Architect, Advisor, Trainer, MCT, MVP, DTM


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Gill Walker's comments on achieving success - and avoiding failure - in a CRM project

What makes a CRM solution a success or a failure?

The simple answer is creating a solution which solves real business issues for the organisation. However, that is probably not what you expected as an answer.

So, to drill into that, to achieve CRM success we should: 

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  • Understand the issues that we are trying to solve.

These issues will be areas within the business where processes and / or data in the legacy systems cause the users, or customers / clients to work inefficiently, perhaps repeatedly entering the same data, lots of hunting for information or performing tasks manually that could readily be automated.

  • Understand the technology in enough detail to see how much of the issues can be resolved out of the box and then design a solution that really takes advantage of the existing functionality.

Once we have a solution designed we should invest in education - and education is far, far more than end-user training. Under the umbrella of education we should ensure that our technical team have a broad understanding of the technology so we can avoid adding hundreds of unnecessary fields, for example, as that is all a particular person knows. We should also ensure that we have some power users who have a far broader understanding of the technology than most end users. 

Education of key stakeholders, of members of the technical team and of course our end-users is the single most effective way of achieving a successful CRM solution. This is what I call the 'Move to the Middle' model where you empower your stakeholders to understand the why of the technology and you move your business processes towards how your selected technology works natively.


A few years ago, I was helping a client, who has invested several hundred thousand dollars into a CRM (D365) project which was structurally unsound. Because it is structurally unsound, they were unable to build marketing lists and they have huge numbers of duplicate records. 

This came about for two reasons:

  • firstly, the key people did not see the benefit of education, so the communication between them and their implementators was flawed;
  • secondly, they had engaged a partner who had never implemented D365 previously, (but did have ‘the gift of the gab’ especially around “agile”). This meant that they were incapable of taking the client requirements and creating a solution that delivered the requirements while using the power of the technology.

Needless to say, the partner did not advocate for education, as it ran the risk of both reducing their billable hours and showing up their lack of experience.  If your selected implementation partner is not including significant eduction throughout project, perhaps you should ask why they are not so doing!

This is subject about which I am passionate, and I have written and spoken about various aspects of it at length. You can see my writings elsewhere on this blog, and see me speak on .

To complete this, we could comment on how to make your CRM project a failure. To avoid a CRM success story, simply choose any combination of the following:
  • Implement technology for technology’s sake - rather than to fix real business challenges;
  • Fail to accurately scope your requirements, perhaps preferring to go on a long, ‘agile’ walk;
  • Don't ensure understanding of the project and the technology throughout all relevant people.

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Opsis is an expert Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform and CRM strategy consulting company. Our focus is your CRM success, with Microsoft Dynamics 365 / Microsoft Power Platform or any CRM technology - not licence sales or billable hours. As Principal CRM Success Catalyst, Gill oversees all business operations, strategic planning and execution, yet she still believes in offering personal attention to each and every client, so as to understand their needs and offer tailored solutions.  We are based in Sydney, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia.  Gill is the creator of SuccessRM - your blueprint for CRM success.  We offer:

  • Strategy for your successful CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform
    • scoping
    • implementation
    • technical support
    • training
    • consulting, advice and guidance
    • assistance with your centre of excellence
  • Mentoring for CIOs and other decision makers tasked with implementing CRM.