Wearables for CRM : Smartwatch Apps – CRMUG Mobile SIG Meeting Recap 11/17/2015

I wanted to take the time to recap a great meeting I had a pleasure of hosting in November 2015. This meeting is part of CRMUG Community ‘s virtual Mobile SIG. I help run this group and have spearheaded a number of web meetings to date, this this is one of them:

“Wearables for Dynamics CRM – Building a Smartwatch App”

Gartner Research reports that smartwatch shipments will quadruple in 2015. Check out how users could work with Dynamics CRM right from their wrists. In this session we will explore real world use cases for this technology, check out what smartwatch apps are, and discover what they can do. Understand the architecture necessary for getting CRM data to and from these tiny experiences. The best part? You’ll get a live demo of a smartwatch app for Dynamics CRM. You will see code and cool gadgets—don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Speaker: Jason Lattimer – Active Microsoft MVP in CRM; Sr. Tech Architect, PowerObjects

Host/Intro: Nikita Polyakov – Past 5 Year Microsoft MVP in Mobility; Mobile Director, PowerObjects

Audience: Technical, Developer

Level: Intermediate

Watch the Recording Here [Registration Required]

Summary of Smartwatch App Use Cases

Having an opportunity to kick it off the meeting – I spent the time I was given by sharing my Point of View on Wearables for CRM. Laying the foundation with some real world Use Cases for Smartwatch Apps before the audience got a chance to go deeper with the main presenter.

It’s no surprise that smartwatches are overtaking simple fitness trackers in popularity. But what is more interesting are industry analysts views like this: “Enterprises need to start putting together a road map for thinking about how wearables can improve their businesses over the next few years.” according to Forrester Research.

Here are a few Categories for Use Cases for Smartwatch Wearables:

Alert Users

Alert CRM Users that their attention is needed in the CRM system. This can be done with even the simplest wearable using an SMS alert.

A hot lead or an urgent case need specific Users’ attention back in the CRM system. Timeliness of attention to those events separates good from great outcomes. As getting in front of an interested prospect has higher chance of closing business; and customer experience, major link to profitability, is directly linked to time to communication on new support case.

A natural reaction from an Alert on a smartwatch is to then check a mobile app, so be sure that is enabled. Otherwise users have to find a larger device, which might be ok, depending on the nature of the task matter beckoning the users’ intervention or action.

Engage

Show progress towards Goal or Pipeline to gamify or engage CRM users. More rich apps can show small visual graphs, while simpler wearable can use text.

Customer version of this can be tracking My Reward Points balance or progress towards the next Coupon awarded, including the coupon code itself.

Offering this information is tactical to the mobile moments our users and customers have while swiping and flicking their devices.

Notify

Notify of Status Change or Action Needed events in the system succinctly. Example: Quote Discount Approved or Your Approval Pending.

Customer version of this is notification can be their Claim was Approved, More Information is needed or an Order has a status update.

Interact

Rich smartwatch applications can collect interactive feedback. For example choices like Confirm, Approve/Decline can be sent data back to CRM. This helps move business along, while traditionally an important action would be waiting in an Inbox on a larger device lost in a clutter of other business.

Confirming assignment in round-robin or team delegation scenarios is another great example where quick accept or pass keeps the business humming along.

To hear a more in depth examples and discussion around these wearable use cases, including a technical presentation – tune into the webcast recording itself.

Technical Details

Building Smartwatch application requires a unique approach and Dynamics CRM itself is also unique – I won’t steal Jason Lattimer‘s thunder and his know-how in this post. Please take your time to check out the entire Webcast video here + read about Dynamics CRM Development topics, including Microsoft Band, over on Jason’s blog here.

Jason has also graciously shared his source code from this presentation on GitHub:

In Closing

Smartwatches are exciting addition to today’s business tool set. As you can see there are a number of real world business scenarios for almost every CRM user. These use cases help organizations move processes along increasing the speed of business and increase quality of customer experience. That’s worth a look!

See you soon!

How to get Dynamics CRM on your Microsoft Band

Want to get truly personal touch with your Dynamics CRM? If smartphone app is not personal enough, how about a personal touch on the wrist?

To get a better overview of why would someone want to use Microsoft Band on their wrist for Dynamics, read this post: Get more Personal by using Wearable Tech for your CRM

Microsoft Band

I got the Microsoft Band the morning it came out. I think I heard I am still one of the lucky few to have it as it is US-only limited release for now. I immediately attempted to get my own Windows Phone apps to start using Cortana voice commands to my Band, to which she replied on my Band “This feature is not yet ready.” I contently knew something better was coming.

Microsoft Band is a cross-platform wearable that combines fitness tracking we all come to expect from heart rate to sleep monitoring, GPS tracking for runs and bike rides, all the trimmings. Combine that with personal assistant capabilities and rich notification screen that last all day? Good stuff. For new Microsoft this is beginning to be par for the course to ship cross platform products. Which is great because I want all iOS and Android users to be on board with me here for what I knew I wanted to do as soon as the SKD came out…

*drum roll*

I want to put Dynamics CRM on your wrist!

Why? Are you crazy? No. I kept quiet about this on purpose until I saw what the Microsoft Band SDK has to offer.

How is this a better Platform?

Sure I’ve seen what other CRM systems were doing with their wearables. I think those are less cross-platform, meaning those devices are tied to a specific Smartphone Manufacturer or a specific mobile operating systems. The only aspect that Band shares with them is that of course none of the wearables with exception of some Android Wear share same platform between each other. But we can’t have it all easy all the time. A Microsoft Band works with iOS, Android and Windows Phone. We will get into other wearable devices including Microsoft HoloLens another time.

Some scenarios where this makes sense:

  • Urgent Activity in CRM needs your attention
  • New Lead with High rating just got added and assigned to you
  • An important Support Case is about to hit it’s SLA window
  • You have a change in route and location of your next Appointment
  • KPI Micro-Dashboards and KPI change Alerting
  • Executive Assistant Messaging

The point is to serve discreet and personal notifications from your system to the users wrist. The phone away or on mute, in the bag or purse. The Band is always on the wrist.

How does this work?

What Microsoft Band will do is surface a custom notification area for you to show to the user. Today in the Preview of the SDK the Band will allow a native phone app via SDK add a Custom Tile to the paired Microsoft Band.

There is very light feedback from the Notification back to the Phone app today.

How would an architecture look like?

System Architecture at the high level that you will need for this behavior can be seen here:
“Microsoft Band to Dynamics CRM Architecture Overview”

Microsoft Band to Dynamics CRM Architecture Overview by Nikita Polyakov

A number of things have to be in place architecturally for you to embark on this journey:

  • In Future Post I will describe the MBaaS – Mobile Back-end as a Service and why it is important
  • In Future Post I will describe the Push Notification from MBaaS to your Custom Native CRM App
  • In Future Post I will describe sending Band Notifications from your App’s Background Processes

Future for the Band and this concept

I am certain that Microsoft will slowly evolve, as it always has, the SDK to allow more and more interactivity within these 3rd party apps. As this SDK Preview shipped same time that the Band got Reply commands and Keyboard support more and more interaction will be possible in future.

Continue the conversation!

Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are!