The University of Bolton are taking a new approach to managing their relationships and engagement with current and potential business customers, implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Luke Stansfield, Information Systems Developer at the University, explained. “We had no real system to manage relationships and interactions with our customers and business contacts. This was identified as a real risk which could potentially damage the excellent business relationships we had developed. We knew that if we could improve the effectiveness of our Continuing Professional Development marketing campaigns, these could provide a valuable source of additional income.
We also wanted to effectively manage the diversity of relationships between individual companies and different parts of our organisation.”
Microsoft Dynamics CRM:
“It was the logical choice for us”, said Luke. “We are predominantly a Microsoft-based institution and, unlike some of the alternatives, it offered out-of-the-box installation with the capability to customise it to fit our processes. It also enabled us to complete the project within budget.”
Recognised for its category-leading capabilities, Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps to increase productivity and create a connected organisation that is equipped to please customers. It provides a powerful set of CRM capabilities within the familiar Microsoft Outlook application, helping to reduce learning time and leverage existing investment on Microsoft Office.
Maximising cross selling:
A key part of the new solution was to enable academic staff within all schools to add and maintain their contacts and interactions with external businesses in a central CRM database. This would enable monitoring of the response to enquiries and highlight and escalate those that were not being dealt with within an acceptable time frame. It would also facilitate the cross-selling of services to existing and past customers and allow for the effective management of marketing campaigns to ensure response was maximised.
With these requirements established, Collabco were able to work closely with key University staff to produce a detailed functional requirement that covered: BSDU, marketing, data migration, security, integration and reporting. This then facilitated a gap/fit analysis together with a comprehensive gap resolution list as the basis for the design of the new CRM solution.
Managing contacts across the University:
After implementing a pilot, the full solution went live in March 2011 and since then the University has continually increased the use of the new platform. “We have so far run a number of successful marketing campaigns utilising it”, said Luke. “It has proved its worth and more people within the University are now beginning to see the benefits it can bring.”
Importantly, the solution will eventually be used to manage contacts across the entire University, something that was identified as an issue at the outset of the project.
A platform for the future:
“We have developed a strong working relationship with Collabco”, concluded Luke. “They took the time at the outset of the project to understand the way that we worked and how we wanted to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This gave us the confidence that the final solution would meet our needs, rather than us having to change to meet the software’s functionality.
“I was impressed with their attitude and professionalism during the actual implementation. On a number of occasions they worked out-of-hours to ensure that project deadlines were met and we came in on time and within budget.
Guest post by Gerald Haigh. Gerald writes regularly for the Microsoft blogs.
I really look forward to RM’s regular regional Technical Seminars. The many sessions – which aren’t all highly technical by any means – deal with real and current issues, the educators and IT staff who attend are thoughtful, keen to learn but also with lots to offer. A huge amount gets covered in one short day, but nothing seems rushed, and that’s largely because the RM people, back stage and front, are efficient, helpful and always kind.
The one I attended this year, in November, at Birmingham’s National Motor Cycle Museum, included sessions on The Cloud, Classroom Control, BYOD , and Microsoft Exchange. Running parallel was an Educational Seminar that covered topics on, for example, Creativity in the Classroom, Podcasting, Windows in the Classroom and e-safety.
Like all good events, though, one of the main features is the opportunity to mix, mingle and just go up to people to talk. RM recognise that, and the big main space of the National Motor Cycle Museum conference suite was devoted to breaks, lunch and general milling about. Along the edges were exhibition stands from a number of suppliers including Meru Networks, HP, Toshiba, Apple and, of course, Microsoft.
The 120 or so teachers and network managers who attended were interested in all the stands, but simple observation showed that Microsoft consistently drew by far the most interest.
You don’t have to guess why that was. Just think ‘Surface’ and ‘Windows 8’ and you’ll get the idea. Everyone was keen to look, try for a chance to touch (which has a particular meaning in this context of course) and ask lots of questions – and this is the kind of event where the questions are good ones. It’s in the nature of the products, though, that the answers were good ones too. Network managers and teachers who see ‘Surface’, for example, are very quick to catch on to the significance of its creative potential and manageability. It’s very clear that the presence of ‘Surface’ at functions like this, together with Windows 8 devices from other suppliers, will do much over the coming weeks and months to reinforce the view not only that tablets are set to make a big impact on teaching and learning, but also that the debate about which device to use is a long way from being over. The Microsoft presence at BETT 2013, you feel, is going to open many eyes.
Another stand that interested me was that of Meru Networks. I first met the people from Meru some years ago, quite by accident, with Merlin John of ‘agent4change.com’, at St Pancras Station. We spent a long time with them, and concluded that this was, to say the least, a product with a future in education, given the hugely increasing demand on school networks. And so it seems to have turned out, for Meru are installing managed wireless networks in schools at an ever-increasing rate. It’s another reminder that the first priority for any school that’s looking at BYOD, or one-to-one computing, or just expanding their resources is to pay attention to the network that’s at the heart of it all.
Much as I’m always tempted to spend all my time talking to people, and although there were inevitable timetable overlaps, I did get to some sessions. ‘The Cloud Explained’ was the kind of good basic introduction that clears things up for people who’ve always been reluctant to ask the obvious questions. Another that particularly interested me was Simon Ansell’s on ‘Preparing your network for BYOD’ in which he talked about ‘squaring the circle’ of accepting any device on to the school network and reaping the benefits of learning while at the same time protecting the infrastructure. It’s the kind of challenge that will send some network managers running for the hills, but we know from experience that it can be done, and Simon is one of the people who can show schools how to do it – albeit slowly, methodically and one careful step at a time.
RM were showcasing some interesting new products, too. ‘RM Unify’ provides single sign-on access to all of the many cloud services that school users would otherwise need to log on to separately, including RM’s own cloud services such as RM Books, and Microsoft Office 365 for education which is increasingly becoming significant as so many services and products move to the cloud.
When I first heard about RM Books I wondered just how necessary it would be, but it turns out to be another of those products that you need to spend a few minutes looking at before you realise its implications. In effect it’s a way of supplying and managing electronic textbooks in school online. Having had the experience over the years of managing stockrooms full of rapidly deteriorating (and sometimes disappearing) textbooks, trying to find money to replace them or bring them up to date, attempting to retrieve them from students before they left or went to live in New Zealand, I’d have been more than grateful for something like RM Books, assuming that Tim Berners-Lee had been born a little earlier. Above all, like all online services it provides that all-important audit trail – who had what and when, and where is it now? If textbooks fall anywhere within your sphere of interest or responsibility – and that covers a lot of teachers – I’d say do as I did and take a careful look at RM Books.
The last session I attended was ‘Microsoft in Education’ presented by Education Partner Lead Mark Stewart, who’d spent the day providing the answers to those ‘Surface’ and Windows 8 questions on the stand.
With so much to talk about, Mark chose to focus on the Microsoft vision and strategy for future learning. He mentioned the New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone – a real showcase for future learning and for embedded technology that’s worth a visit http://www.futureschoolstrust.com/New-Line-Learning/We-are-NLL
He also reminded the audience about Microsoft’s Partners in Learning network http://www.microsoft.com/education/ww/partners-in-learning/Pages/index.aspx
Mark also drew attention to the global ‘Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills’ initiative, led by Melbourne University and co-sponsored by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft.
Mark’s look to the future hit the right note. The people who attend education events often spend much of their time solving immediate problems, and they surely welcome the chance to glimpse the more strategic picture.
This is a Microsoft delivered training day, hosted by Salford Software in Manchester on Monday 10th December 2012.
It’s a technical hands on introduction to some of the IaaS Cloud Services that Microsoft is now offering to Academic organisations.
The camp will be led by an Azure specialist and is aimed at the IT Professional. On it you will build and deploy an entire SharePoint infrastructure with a dual-machine server-farm, Active Directory Domain Controller and SQL Server. On the road to that infrastructure you will create a dual-server, load-balanced IIS website, a WIndows Azure Virtual Network in to which you will deploy the Active Directory Domain plus all the member servers (SQL and SharePoint) and you’ll also learn how to generalise your images and add them to your library of images to make future deployment simpler.
All running in the Cloud!
You will walk away with a complete – Cloud based – service that you will be able to continue to use, further develop and show colleagues following the camp.
Please register at the site below:
Windows Azure IT Pro Camp
09:00 – 09:30
09:30 – 10:00
The Windows Azure Platform
10:00 – 10:30
Windows Azure Virtual Machines
10:30 – 10:45
10:45 – 11:15
Lab: Windows Azure Virtual Machines
11:15 – 11:45
Windows Azure Virtual Networks
11:45 – 12:15
Lab: Windows Azure Virtual Networks
12:15 – 12:45
12:45 – 13:15
Active Directory in the Cloud: Windows Azure Active Directory, Running a DC in Windows Azure
Lab: Running an Active Directory Domain Controller in Windows Azure
14:15 – 15:00
SQL Server and Sharepoint in the Cloud
15:00 – 15:15
15:15 – 16:45
Lab: Running a complete infrastructure in the cloud (Sharepoint, SQL Server, Active Directory)
Wrap-up and Review
You will need a working Windows Azure subscription and you need to have applied for and successfully been granted access to:
§ Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks – for the IT Pro camp.
There is a video that describes how to apply for these features here.
Any working subscription is suitable; paid or free.
You can get a free trial subscription. This grants you access to certain resources free for 90 days. You will need a Windows Live ID and a Credit Card to register. The spending limit on the free trial account is set at £0.00. When the free trial period of 90 days has passed you will be asked if you’d like to remove the spending limit and from that point on treat it as a standard paid subscription.
If you use more than the free allocation of resources in a month, you will also be asked if you’d like to remove the spending limit. There is no perpetually free subscription available for Windows Azure. There are also free trial subscriptions available to certain MSDN subscribers, BizSpark partners and MPN members.
Details of the free trial accounts are here:
IT Pro camp pre-requisites
As an IT Pro who uses a laptop, you’ll almost certainly have the required software already installed. You will need:
1. Log in to an account that has full administrative privileges on the 64-bit machine. This is the account you will do the machine setup from and also the lab-work. It’s essential to ensure you use the same administrative account for both setup and lab-work to avoid permissions problems. By far the biggest problems on this bootcamp are to do with permission problems on machine setup.
2. Install the Windows Azure Powershell Cmdlets by following the instructions on this page:
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do I need to know about Windows Azure to attend this Camp? You don’t need any prior experience or knowledge about Windows Azure to attend this Camp. The purpose of the event is to provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started with learning about Windows Azure.
Who can attend the Camps? Students, developers, technologists, IT Pros, architects, hobbyist, technology enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is that you are ready and keen to learn about Windows Azure.
How much does it cost to attend this Camp? Your luck’s in – it’s free.
What do I need to prepare in advance to make the most of the Camp? There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the Camp, listed above. Please make sure you are prepared so you can make the most of your day at the Camp.
What if I have registered already and cannot make it on the day? Please let us know as soon as you can if you can’t make the camp as there’ll be plenty of people who are keen to take your spot. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed. Thanks!
Are you interested in learning more about the latest technologies from Microsoft like Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8?
Microsoft Learning Partners across the UK are running a full range of free first look clinics across the country covering:
These sessions are run by expert Microsoft Certified Trainers who will help you explore and discover the new technologies and help you lead the way in your institution. Click here to find an event near you and book a seat.
With Windows 8 now officially on the market, you might have some questions about licensing for your school, college or university.
Whether you want to upgrade your PCs to Windows 8, gain access to exclusive offerings such as Windows 8 Enterprise edition and the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, or use Windows with greater flexibility, there is a Microsoft Volume Licensing solution that is right for your education institution.
There are many benefits to volume licensing for your institution including cost savings and flexibility.
To find out all you need to know about Windows 8 volume licensing, such as qualifying operating systems and a buyers guide, visit the website.
Recently in Las Vegas, Robert Phipps from Royal Grammar School in Guildford was crowned Third Place Winner at the Microsoft Office Specialist Worldwide Competition 2012. Robert's win proves, yet again, that UK students are at the top of the class in IT skills!
The 2012 Certiport Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office attracted more than 285,000 unique candidates from 53 countries who competed to demonstrate their mastery of Microsoft Office products. 113 student finalists participated in the final round of competition. Two UK Champions (highest scores in Microsoft Office Specialist exams taken during the year in schools) were sponsored by Prodigy Learning to attend the competition. Ben Grist from Poole Grammar School competed in the Excel category and Robert Phipps competed in the Word category and finished as Third Place Winner.
Craig Bewley (CEO,Prodigy Learning) commented: “Congratulations to Robert Phipps for coming Third in the World in Word 2007 at the Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office' in Las Vegas. It is a fantastic achievement and even more remarkable considering Robert is only 14 years of age! I think this result, coming on the back of Rebecca Rickwood being crowned World Champion last year in Excel 2007, simply proves that Students’ IT Skills in the UK are as good as anywhere in the world. Special praise should also go to Robert’s parents David and Elaine and his School, the Royal Grammar School in Guildford for all their support”.
Robert Phipps described the trip as "incredible" and noted: "The trip was an unforgettable experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks to everyone who made it possible and I shall keep my fingers crossed for next year!"
Next year, Certiport will host the 2013 Microsoft Office World Championship in Washington D.C., USA. For students to participate in the Competition and get the chance to represent the UK as National Champions, they must take an elgible Microsoft Office Specialist exam at their school (subject to official UK Competition Rules).
Originally posted by Prodigy Learning
Register for the virtual course here. For more information on the free training and resources for schools through the IT Academy programme, including free new courseware for HTML 5, Gaming and Mobile, please go to www.microsoftitacademy.com.
Guest post by Gerald Haigh
It was really good to be at Shireland Collegiate Academy for the UK launch of Microsoft’s Shape the Future project earlier in November. Katie Hook has already very efficiently described the event here, but that gives me the opportunity to say a little about what was happening in the classrooms leading off the main hall.
In one, for example, a teacher was demonstrating Microsoft ‘Pivot’, for data analysis, in another, students were showing cross-curricular project work with ‘One Note’ and in yet another, students and family members were using the family portal.
Just now, though, I want to home in particularly on a room which had been taken over by a year six class from a Shireland partner school, Victoria Park Primary Academy, where ‘Shape the Future’ is having a very visible effect. There, with their head teacher Andrew Morrish, the children were using their RM Minibooks, bought under the Shape the Future scheme, which has made one-to-one computing affordable for the 120 children in years five and six at Victoria Park. The children were clearly excited at being at the event and keen to show their minibooks off to visitors.
This was obviously something to follow up, and so I arranged to speak to Andrew in his school a little later, when things had calmed down a bit. Victoria Park, like Shireland, is in a richly multi-ethnic, multi-lingual area, with a very high level of deprivation, and the children need great commitment, skill and devotion from their teachers if they are to reach their considerable potential. As we chatted I learned that Andrew took over Victoria Park seven years ago. Then, it was in Ofsted ‘Special Measures’. Since then it has significantly been turned around and was designated ‘Outstanding’ at the last inspection.
‘It’s been achieved primarily by putting the children at the centre, as independent learners, and the role of ICT in that has been key,’ says Andrew. ‘But we were never able to afford a one-to-one ratio, so when ‘Shape the Future’ came along we jumped at the chance.’ The children use a range of software, including ‘OneNote’, ‘Songsmith’, ‘Kodu’ ‘Publisher’ and the Office suite of which ‘PowerPoint’ is a favourite. ‘They love PowerPoint,’ says Andrew. ‘They’re very confident with it, and use it a lot, and I’m keen to develop Kodu for programming and storyboarding apps.’ ‘OneNote’ , he says, is particularly useful for the cross-curricular projects that make up much of the classroom work in humanities and arts subjects. ‘They used to record everything first in one book, then produce a really lovely best book. OneNote has replaced all that they can put it all together and include multi-media clips.’
One often overlooked advantage of equipping all children with technology is that it irons out some of the inequalities around homework. Children in the same class can have very different experiences of homework. Some will have a quiet room, with a computer and parents ready to support them. Others will be trying to find a space to work in the middle of a busy family life, with parents who feel unable to help. Helping parents to have confidence is part of the answer, and that’s been very successful at Shireland and at Victoria Park.
Where each child has a personal device, though, a lot of the other inequalities fade away. ‘They don’t need a table and a chair, they can sit at the bottom of the stairs, anywhere. It helps the parents, too, because children don’t need to ask for help, they can sort things out for themselves by trial and error in a way you can’t do with a worksheet that’s either right or wrong.’ One of the knock-on effects of providing devices for years five and six is that the netbooks that were previously used in those years have been passed to years three and four. ‘There’s not enough for one-to-one, and they can’t take them home, but it quadruples the provision in those years, and as a result the whole of Key Stage Two is very ICT rich.’ That raises the question for Andrew of how far you go down the age range with one-to-one. ‘Do you reach a point where it’s not the best use of your budget? That’s something for us to think about.’
It’s still early days for the one-to-one project at Victoria Park – year six had their devices in mid September, year five in mid-November – so there won’t be anything to report for some time in terms of measured outcomes. There are visible effects on motivation and engagement, though, and there’s every expectation that attainment will follow.
Meanwhile, the children are taking to their minibooks with zest and enthusiasm. ‘They’re fiercely proud of them,’ says Andrew. ‘And they were quick to personalise them with screensavers and wallpaper.’ The only small worry he has is that they don’t come with a safe carrying case. ‘I don’t like the idea of the children openly carrying them home on dark nights, but perhaps RM will come up with an answer to that.’ How could they not? I ask myself.
Microsoft IT Academy is our Membership Program that provides Institutions with discounted curriculum learning resources and exams. IT Academy helps Institutions deliver Microsoft Qualifications to their IT Staff, Teachers and Students respectively. The Microsoft IT Academy Curriculum offers today’s students the hands on skills and experience that they will need to succeed in their education and their careers. With Microsoft Certification, students can validate those skills and pursue a career path in business or technology.
Did you know that you can add IT Academy to your current Volume Licensing Agreement e.g. EES, OVS-ES, and School Agreements, at a special discounted rate?
IT Academy program members receive attractive price reductions on Microsoft certification exams aimed at enabling skills development and certification for their students and staff.
As part of the IT Academy Program subscription, members receive free Digital MOAC Courseware from Wiley on Office and MTA curriculum, Free Teachers Certification Starter Kits (10 MOS, 20 MTA) New Welcome packs with USB keys, posters etc and enhanced ELearning and EReference Libraries, including Office 365 and Windows 8 content and more…
Microsoft Certification Road Map
The Microsoft Certification Roadmap is designed to help members choose their certification and career path. It provides a guide to Microsoft certifications in the following areas:
· MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) an industry recognised qualification that enables students to tap the full functionality of the Microsoft Office programs and ensure students leave with skills that will increase their employment opportunities.
· MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) for students looking for a career in technology, the MTA certification validates core technology concepts in infrastructure, database and development.
(MTA exams and classroom content are included as benefits within the Microsoft IT Academy program subscription)
· MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) supports the IT Staff professional development and goes toward their CPD points.
· Customisable lesson plans Downloadable and customisable lesson plans help you save time on class preparation and hone in on which topics are most important for a given technology.
· Tool to create online courses The Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS) is a complimentary tool that enables you to create high-quality, interactive, online courses and Microsoft Silverlight Learning Snacks.
· Course completion certificates Access to a customisable course completion certificate. Just download the certificate, add your school logo, insert the course and student information, then print and distribute. Course completion certificates are a great way to recognize the achievement of students that take and pass your course.
· Marketing resources to promote your IT Academy Unlimited access to marketing materials to promote your IT Academy and special offers within the program.
· Digital Literacy course Online courses to help you and students develop a fundamental understanding of computers and the essential skills you need to begin computing with confidence.
· Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Curriculum Advanced-level members receive academic pricing on Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) textbooks, designed for three- to five-day courses, seminars, and workshops.
· Academic pricing on Microsoft Official Academic Courseware All members receive academic pricing on Microsoft Official Academic Course (MOAC) textbooks, designed for semester- and quarter-based courses.
· Academic pricing on Microsoft Technical Certification exams All members receive academic pricing on Microsoft Certification exams for students, educators, and other staff members.
· Discounts on E-Reference Library subscriptions from Microsoft Press All members receive a 60 percent discount on annual subscriptions to the Full E-Reference Library, which is the complete collection of E-Reference Libraries for Microsoft Press.
· Discounts on Microsoft Certified Trainer memberships All members receive a 25 percent discount on enrollments in the Microsoft Certified Trainer program for qualified educators.
IT Academy is a great example for Institutions to showcase their commitment to their Student Learning, by enabling the institution to be a certified Microsoft IT Academy Centre that up skills their IT staff and supports their Teacher learning plans and empowers students to boost their employability potential.
For Further Information on how to sign up for IT Academy please contact the Education Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively contact your reseller.
Case study provided by Crimson
University College Falmouth is embarking on an ambitious implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 2011, starting with core business to business processes and marketing activities and eventually providing an holistic approach to the overall requirements of the institution.
The first phase of the project is being sponsored by Dr Jeremy Richards Head of Innovation, and will deliver a solution to manage business relationships for University College Falmouth’s new Academy for Innovation & Research (AIR) – a European Regional Development Fund supported project to stimulate innovation in the Cornish Economy. Dr
Jeremy Richards says “This CRM system will enhance substantially our ability to manage relationships with the business community and improve the effectiveness of our communications.” The second phase of the project sponsored by Jeremy Whitaker, Director of Marketing & Student Recruitment, will initially focus on event management, including open days, exhibitions and performances and will then move on to deliver a solution to enhance and support the fundraising and alumni strategies. Jeremy Whitaker says “The focus of this project is to deliver efficiencies in core processes and most importantly to improve the visibility of relationships across the institution’’.
Sharepoint 2010 to Integrate to CRM 2011
As part of this exciting project UCF will also be looking to Crimson to provide consultative support on a cross University implementation of SharePoint 2010 for a number of key functions, including document management and a number of key internal staff intranets and portals. The integration of the two core products and Crimsons extensive knowledge of both solutions will be hugely beneficial in terms of functional delivery and budgetary control.