As an organisation grows, it is typical for processes to become more complicated. Employees who once managed both strategic operations and day-to-day tasks eventually hand over responsibility for getting things done to new team members.

While it’s true that nobody likes bureaucracy, approval steps are vital when one person is in charge of completing a task, and another is accountable for its success. In a platform like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, approval steps ensure processes are accurate, compliant and efficient.

We recently helped a client add approvals to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The customer is enthusiastic about the added value that approvals provide, and it’s easy to understand why. In my opinion, approvals are a simple and cost-effective way to boost Dynamics CRM’s functionality.

In this post, I’d like to share with you:

  • how approvals work in Dynamics CRM
  • why organisations using Dynamics CRM should consider adding approval functionality
  • popular applications for approvals in Dynamics CRM.

 

What are approvals in Dynamics CRM, and how do they work?

People often confuse approvals and workflows. While they’re similar, they serve different purposes. Approvals relate to a single step in a business process. Workflows cover an entire process.

A workflow for sales process automation, for example, might involve all of the following tasks:

  1. A salesperson enters a new lead into Dynamics CRM.
  2. The salesperson’s supervisor is notified when they create new revenue opportunities over a set amount.
  3. Dynamics CRM automatically generates reminders for the salesperson in charge of the account.
  4. The supervisor receives automatic notifications when the account status changes.

In Dynamics CRM, approval steps generally fit into an existing workflow. So, in the above scenario, you could create an approval step that allows salespeople to approve new revenue opportunities under a set amount, i.e. under $30,000.

If an employee tried to enter a new revenue opportunity above this amount, he or she would be unable to proceed without supervisor approval.

 

Why add approval functionality to Dynamics CRM?

There are three main advantages to adding approval steps to business processes in Dynamics CRM: saving time, minimising authorisation errors and reducing administrative mistakes. Here’s how.

 

  1. Save time

By adding approval steps to Dynamics CRM, your system knows what each user is authorised to approve. This saves time approaching supervisors and managers for unnecessary approvals.

 

  1. Prevent authorisation errors

It is easy to make mistakes tracking who has permission to do what, particularly when it comes to approvals to invest in the sales process or minimise risk on large deals. The last thing you want is for an employee to accidentally approve a bid, project or application without doing the right checks. With automatic approvals in Dynamics CRM, you can remove this worry and strengthen your processes.

 

  1. Reduce administrative mistakes

When you set up approval steps to check details like pre-requisites, you minimise the burden on employees to check data manually. You also enhance consistency in decision-making and diminish the risk of errors. Quality assurance is… assured!

 

How to use approvals in Dynamics CRM

Setting up approval steps in an existing Dynamics CRM instance is straightforward and cost effective. Your account manager can provide more information about what’s involved.

In short, approval steps can streamline any business process in which:

  • a person completing a task may need to hand over responsibility for its result, i.e. to a supervisor or manager
  • there is a high level of risk, or a potential negative impact if a process step is completed incorrectly
  • tasks are complex and may need to be reviewed before completion.

Approval steps are particularly useful for processes that require working with budget limits or checking eligibility requirements. As a result, these are popular with member-based organisations, schools, universities, commercial businesses and government agencies.

Here are a few of the most popular applications of approvals in Dynamics CRM by industry:

Member-based organisations

  • facilitating board approval of new members
  • responding to tenders over a set approval limit

Education

  • approval of student prerequisites during the enrolment process
  • excursion planning and approvals

Commercial businesses

  • approving user limits for new revenue opportunities
  • approving bidding on a project over a set approval limit

Government agencies

  • confirming eligibility requirements on applications for funding schemes

 

What next?

With approvals in Dynamics CRM, you can be confident that your processes are flexible, accurate and reliable. To get started or to find out more about how your organisation could benefit, talk to a Professional Advantage consultant today, or contact your account manager. Phone 1800 126 499.

 

You can read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics CRM here.

 

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