A common scenario is to use CorasWorks to integrate work management on SharePoint with external CRM (customer relationship management) systems. In this article I’ll review how one customer did this to integrate their Capture and Proposal Management system with Deltek GovWin CRM (a popular CRM for Federal Government Contractors). I’ll also give an example of how you can go beyond just integration and use work automation to get more work done, more easily and more consistently.
Our customer is a $200M Federal Contractor. They use CorasWorks for their Intranet and many of their work management applications. They are using Deltek GovWin CRM as their CRM. They had created a Capture and Proposal Management system using the Lohfeld Consulting Group’s Capture Command Center solution and methodology on SharePoint 2010. So, you had CorasWorks in the middle, the Lohfeld solution running in a siloed area of SharePoint, and, the CRM system running in its silo elsewhere within the enterprise.
They wanted to eliminate the silos and make work more efficient and consistent. They wanted one seamless work environment.
They started by upgrading the Lohfeld solution using CorasWorks to enhance the UI and automate the work. Viola, one seamless work environment using CorasWorks on SharePoint. Then, they turned to the integration of the Capture and Proposal Management solution and their CRM system.
The schematic below shows how the resulting system lays out.
In addition to the end user work management features, the CorasWorks platform comes with robust integration middleware. This part of the platform allows you to integrate CorasWorks-based work management solutions with just about any external system – database, web service, cloud service or app. CorasWorks supports two-way integration. It is also all done via configuration, without requiring custom compiled code.
In this situation, they decided to use the CorasWorks capability in a one way scenario. Within the enhanced Lohfeld Capture Command Center they created a virtual directory of opportunities. When users come in they see all of the opportunities organized by their capture stages. If they are in a specific business group then they see only the opportunities for that business group. The virtual directory information is coming from the CRM system yet surfaced within the SharePoint environment and in the context of the user. The user can then drill down into the working proposal site or into the CRM record.
This simple solution goes a long way to eliminating the silos and seams of the system. The benefits are as follows:
- The users have a structured way to see the opportunities and drill down into where they need to do the work.
- The CRM remains the “source of truth” about the opportunity data.
- They eliminate the seams and any need for duplicate work.
- The virtual opportunity directory is dynamically updated in real time.
- It is context sensitive so that users will see what they should see based upon their business group.
Getting Better: Let CorasWorks Do More of the Work
Now, this is a great beginning. But, they can do better by allowing CorasWorks to do more work for the users. This customer uses CorasWorks Actions to automate work within Capture and Proposal. They could extend this use to also have CorasWorks automatically update the CRM system for key changes – two way integration.
Let’s imagine that an opportunity is in the Pre-Proposal stage. The RFP is now released and you need to do some things and move it into the Proposal Development stage. The user would run a CorasWorks Action and it would do the following:
- capture a few fields of information about the RFP in a single task specific form
- update information in SharePoint
- move the opportunity from Pre-Proposal to Proposal Development
- update the corresponding fields in Deltek GovWin CRM
- log the action for tracking and reporting in the work management system
- send emails out to the Proposal Team, Capture Owner, BD Owner, and business unit manager
- spawn a couple of pre-defined tasks to kick off the Proposal Development effort such as scheduling a Gate Review, Color Review, Kick Off Meeting, or, task to develop a Compliance Checklist
All of these activities are done by CorasWorks with just one action by the user. Clearly it would increase the user’s productivity by eliminating work. It also means that the user doesn’t have to leave SharePoint to go over to the CRM and do data entry. Accordingly, it insures that all of these pre-defined important items get done – fully and correctly. Once instructed, CorasWorks doesn’t forget what needs to be done or get distracted. It just gets it done.
The organization gets the same seamless result as they did before, and, they also get the productivity benefits and consistency of CorasWorks work automation.