Data and Documents for Grant Management
Jun26

Data and Documents for Grant Management

Managing government and non-profit grants usually requires a combination of structured data along with documents to track all the information required for applications, review, award and post-award reporting.  One of the more important design decisions you can make in implementing grant management software is to determine the proper place for structured data and documents, that is which… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Understanding Microsoft Dynamics Products
Jun17

Understanding Microsoft Dynamics Products

One of Microsoft’s growth engines is the Dynamics family of products.  These are business software applications that include enterprise resource planning (ERP), accounting, finance, operations, human resources, customer relationship management (CRM) and even mixed reality and artificial intelligence. In contrast to operating systems and general purpose applications such as Office 365, Word,… Continue Reading...

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CPA Practice Advisor 2020 Review of Serenic Navigator for NPO
Jun16

CPA Practice Advisor 2020 Review of Serenic Navigator for NPO

The latest review of Serenic Navigator for Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) is featured in CPA Practice Advisor. The review describes the modules offered for a range of accounting requirements of non-profit organizations, such as accounts payable, inventory, purchasing and budgeting.  Serenic Navigator includes grant management capabilities to help grantees meet compliance requirements of grant… Continue Reading...

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NaviPayroll from Serenic Software Now Available on Microsoft AppSource
Jun01

NaviPayroll from Serenic Software Now Available on Microsoft AppSource

Serenic Software is now offering it NaviPayroll on Microsoft AppSource. NaviPayroll is an integrated payroll and HR solution and the most widely used add-in for businesses using Microsoft Dynamics™ 365 Business Central. By using NaviPayroll as part of Dynamics 365 Business Central, organizations maintain full control of their most sensitive employee data.  NaviPayroll provides a range of… Continue Reading...

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COVID-19 Crisis Highlights Need for Online Presence for Businesses
May29

COVID-19 Crisis Highlights Need for Online Presence for Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people and businesses to adjust to social distancing with new behaviors.  Many businesses such as retail and restaurants have had their physical locations closed and forced to conduct all their transactions online.  Some of these businesses already had web infrastructure and delivery capabilities in place.  Others scrambled to create new ways to place orders and… Continue Reading...

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Victim Offender Mediation Tracking
May22

Victim Offender Mediation Tracking

InfoStrat’s SAVIN 360 solution provides comprehensive victim notifications for prisons and jails, and that is not all.  The victim and offender data required for victim notification may be used for related solutions, such as victim grants, case work, and more, as part of a wholistic approach to victim offender services.Victim-offender mediation (VOM) or victim-offender dialogue (VOD) is a… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Case Study: Victim Notification for State of Texas
May18

InfoStrat Case Study: Victim Notification for State of Texas

InfoStrat, a division of Serenic, specializes in government software solutions. Some of these solutions are for applications you may not have thought of, such as victim notification.  The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Victim Services Division provides notifications to victims of crimes and their supporters about changes in offender custody and status.  Business Situation TDCJ… Continue Reading...

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Serenic Software Acquires InfoStrat
Apr28

Serenic Software Acquires InfoStrat

This week marks the biggest news ever for InfoStrat – the company that I founded 33 years ago. We are pleased to announce that InfoStrat was acquired by Serenic Software, through its parent, Sylogist Ltd. We are excited to join an organization who offers complementary solutions for key markets including public sector, nonprofit and NGO organizations. This is a significant investment and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Congratulate Jimmy Kuo for 20 Years at InfoStrat
Apr28

Congratulate Jimmy Kuo for 20 Years at InfoStrat

I am happy to congratulate Jimmy Kuo on his 20th work anniversary at InfoStrat.  Jimmy has served as our chief technology officer and director of the InfoStrat Azure and SharePoint practices. More than that, Jimmy has exemplified that can do attitude and continuous learning that InfoStrat seeks in its consultants.  He is one of the few people I have known who are both developers and… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat's Robert Shurtleff Named as Microsoft Dynamics 365 FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect
Apr22

InfoStrat's Robert Shurtleff Named as Microsoft Dynamics 365 FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect

Congratulations to InfoStrat Senior Solution Architect Robert Shurtleff as one of the 36 elite 2020 FastTrack Recognized Solution Architects for Dynamics 365.FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect is a recognition conferred by the Dynamics 365 product engineering team upon a practicing solution architect, for consistently exhibiting deep architecture expertise and creating high quality… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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User Stories for Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors
Apr17

User Stories for Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors

[COVID-19 Note: When the COVID-19 crisis took hold over the United States, I stopped blogging.  Now that we have become more accustomed to our current social distancing and have a clearer forecast of the end of the crisis, I am back.]One of our most popular InfoStrat solutions is Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors.  At some point, most government contractors reach a point where they are… Continue Reading...

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Building a Team for a Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM) Implementation
Mar17

Building a Team for a Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM) Implementation

For most organizations, implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) is a team effort.  The size and composition of the team will depend on the scope of the implementation, the timetable, and related efforts such as data migration and integrations. Here are the roles that my company InfoStrat typically sees for a medium-sized implementation project: Project Manager. The PM and… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus Overview
Mar12

InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus Overview

Grants Manager Plus is one of InfoStrat’s most popular software solutions.  We developed Grants Manager Plus to help grantor organizations streamline their grant processes.  We’ve built Grant Management Solutions for public sector since the late 1990s.  We developed Stimulus 360 for Microsoft in 2009 to help state and local government track stimulus funding.  Grants Manager Plus was...

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Elaborating Dynamics 365 Requirements
Mar09

Elaborating Dynamics 365 Requirements

When implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), one of the early steps in the process is to elaborate requirements so they can be mapped to Dynamics features or to configurations or customizations needed to fulfill the requirements.Many customer requirements start off as rather vague, and require further investigation before they can be the solid basis of the project.  Let’s… Continue Reading...

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Dynamics 365 Upgrades: Migration, Refactoring and Rewriting
Feb25

Dynamics 365 Upgrades: Migration, Refactoring and Rewriting

Microsoft, like other cloud software providers, ensures that you will be using the latest version of software such as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics 365.  Enhancements are continuously released and major upgrades take place more frequently than they did when most organizations ran their software on their own servers.Many of InfoStrat’s government clients are at last moving their Dynamics… Continue Reading...

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Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps
Jan30

Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps

Source: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/ Microsoft has offered a number of forms automation products over the years, and the most long running was InfoPath which was released as part of Office 2003.  InfoPath is a powerful and flexible product that stores user data in XML while offering form features such as rules, data validation, scripting, and integration with SharePoint.  The… Continue Reading...

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Plug-and-Play Grant Management Software
Jan29

Plug-and-Play Grant Management Software

Today I received an email inquiry regarding InfoStrat’s Grants Manager Plus solution. The customer was looking for a plug-and-play grant management system.  I assume this meant that the system would require little configuration or customization.I am not aware of any grant management system which could be called plug-and-play.  The reason is that a grantor usually has a number of business rules… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Internal Training Topics
Jan21

InfoStrat Internal Training Topics

This week my company InfoStrat hosted internal training delivered by our consultants to share what they have recently learned in our software development and devops specialties.We are going to turn many of these into blog posts on the InfoStrat TechBlog.  Here is our list of topics: Project Management StandardizationCreating Virtual Assiat Bot with Dynamics 365 ConnectionUnderstanding Logic… Continue Reading...

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Happy New Year to My Blog Readers
Dec31

Happy New Year to My Blog Readers

Happy New Year and thank you to all who have read my blog and provided blog post topic suggestions.  A blog is a hungry beast and I’m planning to do even more in 2020 to share fresh content on CRM, grant management, government contracting, victim notification and other topics.It was exciting to cross over the 1 million page view metric in 2019.  Next year will hold many new developments and… Continue Reading...

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ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service
Dec17

ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

I met Lou Guercia when he was president and CEO of Scribe Software, the leading CRM integration tool.  Scribe was acquired by TIBCO Software in 2018.  I recently reconnected with Lou and learned about ScreenMeet, the company he joined as chief operating officer.   The following is a description of the product provided by ScreenMeet:ScreenMeet is a cloud-based remote support tool designed to… Continue Reading...

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Navigating through Complex Cloud Computing Choices
Nov21

Navigating through Complex Cloud Computing Choices

By now most organizations are familiar with the benefits of moving their computing to the cloud, such as scalability, reliability, security and elimination of hardware costs.  What may be less clear is that for all this to work as advertised, a business process or application needs to be designed properly to work in the cloud.Cloud computing presents information technology departments with a… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Community Business Development
Nov05

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Community Business Development

Local governments agencies such as the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in my hometown of Washington, DC, – work on behalf of residents to improve living conditions, create economic opportunities and jobs by attracting businesses and helping businesses thrive. A customer relationship management system is key to work in community business development.  If you are… Continue Reading...

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Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes
Oct31

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes

Types of Dynamics Entities To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.Entities are the most fundamental part of… Continue Reading...

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PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal
Oct29

PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal

In case you have been reviewing Microsoft’s new pricing for its Dynamics products which was released this month and have been unable to find Dynamics Portal, it has been rebranded as PowerApps Portal and shifted to the PowerApps side of the Microsoft product family. Rebranding the portal product underscores the importance of app scenarios involving external users such as customers and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: October 2019 Update
Oct28

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: October 2019 Update

This month Microsoft announced new pricing for its Dynamics 365 family of products. This is the first major change in pricing since October 2017, when Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP products were rebranded, and several new apps were released.The current major Dynamics 365 apps are: Category Apps Marketing MarketingCustomer Insights Sales SalesMicrosoft Relationship Sales

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For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low
Oct24

For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low

According to industry analyst companies such as Gartner and Forrester, enterprise customers are increasingly turning to no code and low code platforms as an alternative to traditional custom development (now called hand-coded to evoke a feeling of labor intensity) in order to increase their agility and reduce expense and personnel.According to Gartner, Microsoft is a leader in enterprise… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution
Oct22

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises.This post introduces some of the key terms and how these concepts are important for planning your implementation.While Dynamics 365 is available on premises, it is most commonly… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Evaluate Dynamics 365 with a Proof of Concept
Sep20

Evaluate Dynamics 365 with a Proof of Concept

Choosing software is a big commitment, and you want to be sure that you don’t regret your choice later.  One of the best ways to evaluate Microsoft Dynamics 365 and apps built on the Dynamics platform is to conduct a proof of concept.Here are some of the keys to make your proof of concept (POC) successful: Set a schedule and stick to it. You need a predefined beginning and end to the proof of… Continue Reading...

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Tracking Feature Deprecations in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement
Sep19

Tracking Feature Deprecations in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

Cloud solution providers such as Microsoft have stepped up the pace of innovation, and are releasing features continuously rather than their traditional pattern of major releases every year or two.  This fast innovation means that users see new features and enhancements often, and you must account for how to train them to take advantage of them.It also means that some old features are… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Use Azure Machine Learning for Spam Detection in Email to Case process in Dynamics 365
Sep18

Use Azure Machine Learning for Spam Detection in Email to Case process in Dynamics 365

The following is a guest post from InfoStrat’s Dmitri Riz which is also available on the InfoStrat Tech Blog.Major software platforms like Microsoft Azure are rapidly developing toolkits that simplify access to AI or Machine Learning technologies, making them available to a wider group of developers. This article shows how the new AI Builder tool on Microsoft Azure PowerApps allows for a quick… Continue Reading...

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Be Careful Deleting Users in Microsoft Dynamics 365
Sep12

Be Careful Deleting Users in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Deleting users and reassigning licenses in Microsoft Dynamics 365 requires some planning and consideration.  Otherwise, you may experience undesired consequences.  Deleting and deactivating users can be complex and involve multiple administrators.   Here are some top considerations: Reassign records in CRM. Do you want to reassign record ownership for cases, opportunities, accounts, contacts and… Continue...

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Automating Your GovCon Wins in CRM
Aug29

Automating Your GovCon Wins in CRM

Microsoft is rolling out a series of enhancements to the Dynamics 365 for Sales app which will make government contractors happy and which InfoStrat is incorporating into its Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors solution.One of the best new features is customization of the Opportunity Close dialog box. Microsoft is opening up this feature so developers can treat it more like other CRM… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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7 Factors in Choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Package
Aug23

7 Factors in Choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Package

Many business reach a point in their growth when they consider implementing their first customer relationship management system (CRM).  Some of them start by using Excel or SharePoint for tracking customer data, then reach a point when they need functions that these tools do not easily provide, such as reports and dashboards or integration with other systems.There is a wealth of online… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Microsoft to Change Dynamics 365 Subscription Plans
Jul30

Microsoft to Change Dynamics 365 Subscription Plans

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-is-set-to-shake-up-dynamics-365-pricing-and-packaging-again/ According to an article on ZDNetlast week and an earlier article in MSDynamicsWorld, Microsoft is planning to change the pricing and package of Dynamics 365 apps.  At present customers can purchase apps a la carte or buy a bundle or suite of apps.  For instance, the Dynamics 365 Customer… Continue...

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When is a Sales Opportunity an Opportunity in Your CRM?
Jul18

When is a Sales Opportunity an Opportunity in Your CRM?

Sales force automation is one of the three biggest reasons to implement a customer relationship management system, but some of the business rules for tracking sales are not universal to all businesses.  For instance, CRM products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce center on tracking sales opportunities.  How you define opportunities for your business may be different from how other… Continue Reading...

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Gap Analysis for Dynamics 365 (CRM) Implementations
Jul09

Gap Analysis for Dynamics 365 (CRM) Implementations

Gap analysis explores the differences between your software requirements and the as-is features of an off-the-shelf product such as Microsoft Dynamics 365. It is one of the most useful techniques in a customer relationship management implementation.Determining software requirements is a challenging process, and requires guidance and facilitation to help end user identify their needs and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Grants Manager Plus for Victim Assistance Grants
Jul02

Grants Manager Plus for Victim Assistance Grants

InfoStrat’s Grants Manager Plus supports the full lifecycle of grants for victim assistance, such as those under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and state victim assistance programs.The goals of grants for victim assistance are to prevent violent crime, respond to the needs of crime victims, and educate the public on crime and victim issues.The… Continue Reading...

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Low Code Solutions Require High Knowledge
Jun24

Low Code Solutions Require High Knowledge

Low code solutions such as Microsoft Flow and PowerApps offer faster development of some types of software solutions.  These products allow non-developers to create solutions or apps for functions such as approvals, routing or even integrating data for multiple systems.Writing successful solutions, even without coding, requires quite a bit of knowledge and experience.  Here are some of the… Continue Reading...

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Understanding Grant Management Data: CDBG-DR Programs
Jun20

Understanding Grant Management Data: CDBG-DR Programs

InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus is used for tracking many types of grants because the data model may be extended with new fields and entities.  For tracking Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the system tracks grants in ways that are different from typical grants.CDBG-DR grants flow from a federal… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Releases New Videos for Grants Manager Plus
Jun17

InfoStrat Releases New Videos for Grants Manager Plus

On July 6, 2016, Microsoft announced the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Scheduled to be available in the fall of 2016, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will allow new ways for customers to consume Microsoft’s current CRM and ERP cloud offerings based on business functions such as financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project management and customer… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Earns Microsoft Gold DevOps Competency
Jun10

InfoStrat Earns Microsoft Gold DevOps Competency

InfoStrat has earned the new Microsoft Gold Competency for DevOps as part of the Microsoft Partner Program.  DevOps is a key part of cloud computing, and helps organizations close the gap between software development (Dev) and operations (Ops).The DevOps Gold Competency shows a commitment to mastering cloud tools for DevOps which relate to Microsoft Azure, not only Microsoft products such as… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Licensing for Beginners
Jun06

Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Licensing for Beginners

Next month marks two years since Microsoft announced the preview of its Flow workflow automation product.  Since then, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow have been gaining in popularity.We at InfoStrat are receiving more questions from customers on how PowerApps and Flow are licensed by Microsoft.  This is a brief overview with links to authoritative Microsoft resources with all the… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Don’t Fight the User Interface
May29

Don’t Fight the User Interface

Businesses and government have adopted off-the-shelf software, especially cloud software products, to avoid the cost and technical risk which have often accompanied custom software development.  This means that software vendors control the user experience such as navigation, menus, colors, fonts, and all other aspects of the products. Faced with rapid innovation and competition, cloud… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Government Budget Management with Dynamics 365
May28

Government Budget Management with Dynamics 365

Government budgeting requires more than just accounting.  It also entails complex business processes to prepare and approve budgets.InfoStrat has been using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for government budgeting solutions for over ten years.  Dynamics 365 includes several features which enable budget tracking:Business process flows which automate approval processes Ability to store chart of… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Update Policies for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement
May23

Update Policies for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Customers of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement have been notified in recent weeks of new policies for updates.  Customer Engagement refers to the traditional core components of what was formerly Dynamics CRM (sales, marketing, and customer service) as well as newer apps for Project Service and Field Service which have been added to the Customer Engagement subscription bundle.The… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Dynamics 365 for Auditing Activities
May16

Dynamics 365 for Auditing Activities

Many government and commercial organizations are responsible for conducting audits of financial and other performance in order to ensure compliance with regulations.Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a rich platform for automating auditing activities.  Here are some of the key functions that Dynamics 365 and Office 365 can perform for auditors:Schedule visits. The Field Service app for Dynamics… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Standards and Interoperability for CRM
Apr29

Standards and Interoperability for CRM

Tomorrow I will be presenting on “Standards and Interoperability for CRM” at the CRM Evolution Conference in Washington, DC.  Standards are important for many technologies, but in business software standards are often sacrificed as companies compete with one another for a share of the market.Customer relationship management (CRM) has not been known as a field which fosters cooperation… Continue Reading...

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Getting the Most Out of GovCon CRM
Apr18

Getting the Most Out of GovCon CRM

Selling to government agencies requires a different approach from most sales processes, and therefore a customer relationship management (CRM) system bust reflect the way that your company behaves as a government contractor in order to get the most from your software investment. Here are some top hints on how to get the most of our your CRM which are embodies in InfoStrat’s Dynamics 365… Continue Reading...

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Handy CRM Views and Graphs for Government Contractors (GovCon)
Apr15

Handy CRM Views and Graphs for Government Contractors (GovCon)

If you use a customer relationship management (CRM) system for tracking government contracts, you will find yourself using some views, reports and graphs more frequently than others.Here are some favorites from my experience and from users of the InfoStrat Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors solution.The most fundamental chart is the sales pipeline funnel.  This is broken into the sales… Continue Reading...

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Understanding Budget, Payments and Milestones in Grants Manager Plus
Apr09

Understanding Budget, Payments and Milestones in Grants Manager Plus

Managing finances is at the core of InfoStrat’s Grants Manager Plus software for grantors to manage the full lifecycle of a grant.  This post explains key concepts for understanding how budgets, payments and milestones are managed in the solution.Grants Manager Plus may be configured to your business rules, so your implementation may differ from the scenarios described here.  Many of the… Continue Reading...

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