Training Session Management- a Dynamics CRM – xRM example

Over the last year, we have been an developing internal application to manage all the details related to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM training sessions we deliver.  There’s lots of details to keep up with, resource assignments, things to order, and calendars to manage. We realized that we could not afford to be in the training business, especially in the current economic environment, unless we automate as much as possible and make sure we never make any mistakes.

We quickly figured out that a training session with 10 students could involve 60 or more tasks and e-mails to manage. When we looked at the administrative overhead and the requirement that everything happen on time with no exceptions, we realized that we didn’t have the staff to handle this manually.

We decided to use CRM to solve the problem and automate a series of processes that would allow us to manage the training in the most efficient way.

We started by creating a couple of custom entities: a training session entity and an enrollments entity. These two entities are the core of the Training Session Management System (TSMS) and are links to the Account entity, the Contacts entity, the CRM Users entity, and the Product Catalog.

We’ve also written 20 or so nested workflows that manage the processes involved and make sure all the information is in the right place by the right time.

The current version of the system allows us to create and manage both private and open enrollment training sessions. It validates the details, manages the tasks required to administer the classes, provides notifications to all involved, and generally makes our life considerably easier.

TSMS revolves around the Training Session entity, pictured here:

image

The general tab is used to set up a preliminary information. Other tabs allow us to put information about the resources we need to assign to accomplish the tasks and deliver the courseware, Etc..

We’ve made some minor modifications to the product catalog, which allow us to support individual courses as products.This also allows us to create quotes orders and invoices to sell product classes in individual enrollments, like the other products we sell.

While the TSMS XRM application has saved us considerable time, the real benefit is that it has automated our business processes and allows us to deliver consistently every time. Given our busy schedule and my forgetful nature,that’s the real benefit.  The system is smart enough to yell for missing information when it needs it , manages the details and keeps us organized.

I spent the last couple of day productizing and documenting the entire system in preparation for delivering it to a training partner to help them manage their training practice. I’m looking forward to their input to see where it drives the system next.

We would also like to talk to other training organizations who are looking for similar systems, especially those already running Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Have a great weekend!

Steve Noe, CRM consultant and MCT

 CEOMCT

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About stephenvnoe

CRM & XRM solution architect and project lead. I provide CRM design, services, mentoring & support to all manner of front office solutions and CRM projects.
This entry was posted in CRM 4.0, Customization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Training Session Management- a Dynamics CRM – xRM example

  1. Hi,

    We just started to use Dynamics CRM. I am responsible of our customer traing and would like to track those in CRM. I just want to track traings and who attended those. What would you recommend? Is it a lot of if work to create custom a normal custom entity or should I use custom activity?

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    • stephenvnoe says:

      Both types of entities are easy to create, so I recommend you create one of each and play with them. There are a lat of additional features hidden in the custom activity, so it’s best to try it out as you go. The service activity is probably the best starting point for you here. We are in the process of designing a new event management system and we used a structure of custom entities: Event/Sesson/Registration to manage the overall process, but extended it into the calendar by creating plug-ins that create and manage Service Activities. Each service activity tracks the session team as resources and attendees as customers.

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