Social Media Integration (Facebook and Twitter) in Microsoft Dynamics CRM-2013 for a Client in Singapore
Customer is a recognized not for profit leader in the Singapore region. It has several volunteers and financial philanthropists. The company work on various projects ranging from education, social, arts etc. Have an extremely close tie-up with the Government of Singapore to share data about people working for them or financial remuneration being paid to them.
Presently they have a CRM solution created by for maintaining a list of Volunteers and donors. With the advent of social media people tend to be more informed through these sites rather than traditional mode of communication. Unfortunately the current CRM solution that they have does not include any kind of social media integration. This requirement may not seem important but our research has led us to believe that this organisation is missing out from reaching to its thousands of loyal support base. This in turn harms the organisations goal to help the society. Any program that the organisation launches, it needs people to know, irrespective if they join or not.
An added feature which we believe is extremely helpful is, understanding and knowing your supporters or detractors. Thus there is a need for storing all the comments made on a particular event in the CRM plus the person who has made it must be stored as a Contact. This will give the company an opportunity to engage with its volunteers or donors much better.
A Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 solution that will publish CRM Programs to Facebook or Twitter with a click of a button. The same solution will have option of bringing in all the comments made on Facebook for the event.
On-demand publish of any Program from CRM to Facebook page
- Increases the knowledge diffusion.
- Availability of data on the web without any extra effort.
- Knowledge sent to targeted audience.
- Better people management.
- Increased web presence leading to more volunteers.
- Better knowledge diffusion helps in reaching prospective donors through Social media.
The Implementation Process
This integration process took one month to be fully functional, with minimum of custom fields or entities.
First step taken by XRMLabs was to create a clear mapping among the fields in Microsoft Dynamic CRM 2013 and the various social media websites. As an example let us say CRM has a Program entity with name, description and start date and end date. These fields will map with the Facebook events for a page.
Each department for our client has a different Facebook page thus it is very important for CRM to understand which program gets published where. For this we created a custom entity called Configuration which has a owning business unit, the user who is currently logged in belongs to a business unit, thus we can easily find the matching configuration entity.
Not all users should be allowed to post on social media sites, to control this we created custom security roles to indicate if the logged in user belongs to the Admin category with the permission to publish
For the second part of the requirement where we bring comments made on our event in Facebook back to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 we faced a severe logical problem. For Facebook comments we had created a custom entity called Comments that had a lookup field for Contacts. Question was how do we map the user making the comment on Facebook with the Contacts stored in CRM. After many consultations with the client, we suggested that the Facebook Id of the user be stored in a custom field in Contacts entity, if the user exists then his/her look up is stored in the new Comments record, if the user does not exist then we create a new Contact and store the users first name and last name as given by Facebook into the new Contact record.
Next big road block was Twitter OAuth issues because of the predominance of third party libraries like Twitterizer and Twittinvi, which do all the heavy lifting for the programmer, we were in a quandary. As the reader might be aware that third party dllâ€™s are not allowed in CRM plugins and workflows, it left us with two choices, either to use some open source library or write our own. At the end of the day we went for the latter because open source libraries do have contractual obligations and our client was not in favour of these.
Finally it was the choice between plugins and workflows. The experts of CRM working for us decided that for the push events i.e. from CRM 2013 to Facebook or Twitter we will use plugins as the amount of data is negligible. For the pull requirements i.e. from Facebook to CRM2013 we will use Workflows because the volume of data is unknown, to mitigate the chance that plugins get timed out due to excessive comments posted on Facebook XRMLabs decided to go with workflows.
The greatest power a human has is knowledge. It depends on an individual how he/she uses that but without it no progress is possible. Social media in this generation replaces the ubiquitous form of knowledge dissemination like letters, phone calls, word of mouth etc.
With a click of a button you may send a tweet or a status update to thousands of people. It is not only the followers in your Facebook social graph that get it but it is distributed over and over again by sharing and re-tweeting. This effect cannot be achieved without a traditional media campaign costing millions of dollars.
Now the organisation is free to take on actual volunteering work without dedicating extra staff for knowledge dissemination. On the back end Microsoft CRM 2013 already has all the data required to launch this event, an authorized user just has to log into his/her account and click a button called publish to Facebook, this in turn will publish the program details with description on to the Facebook created for that department. Anybody who is attached with this page will come to know about the event in seconds and will have an option on commenting on it through Facebook.
None of these steps mentioned above requires the user to know anything about computing or complicated CRM logic. Every configuration is already set up for the user inside Microsoft CRM through a custom configuration entity which in turn is related to a Business Unit. Once the user logs in his/her owning Business Unit is discovered by the solution and the related configuration entity is loaded on to the memory. Thus our solution is aware that where to post and how to post. Only requirement that the operator has to full fill is to provide valid Facebook credentials and give permission to the Facebook App developed by XRMLabs to post in his/her behalf.
- Microsoft Dynamic CRM 2013
- Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0
- MS CRM SDK
Microsoft Dynamics CRM in itself is a wonderful tool to store, manipulate, categorize and filter knowledge. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on whatâ€™s most important. The glaring missing feature is the lack of an inbuilt medium for distributing the same.
This is the part where the solution developed by XRM Labs comes in it not only distributes the knowledge to wider audience over the web but it helps organisation to connect with prospective donors or volunteers.
Instead of an army of volunteers/employees manning hundreds of phones and then diligently calling up each and every contact on your list to let them know about your upcoming program, the organisation using XRMLabs solutions just has to click a button and all its contacts will come to know about your event through Facebook and Twitter.
Finally not only will the volunteers and donors be engaged with news from the company but the organisation itself will have the opportunity to understand the mind-set of its volunteers/donors through the comments they make on an event. This will allow the aforementioned organisation to better cater to the needs of society by adapting to the ever changing ground realities. Only the boots on the ground are best people to ask for advice and this is the point where comments negative or positive would play a big role.
XRMLabs pull you out of this no-win situation by providing the services like Innovative Consulting, Efficient Data Mining, Migration and Support, Integration, Custom implementation, Reporting.
Besides services we provide, there are several other advantage of XRM Labs described as follows Engagement Flexibility, Complete product/project life cycle outsourcing, Cost Effective, World class experts, Quality Delivery.
For any Queries Feel Free to Contact us:
Level 2,Block-B, Building-1132,Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016, India.