Community Forum – Tell us how you track external interactions

Resource Type
Survey (Community Forum)
Publish Date
Innovation Research Interchange
Customer Insight, Technology Scouting, Process Improvement, Alliances/Collaborations
Associated Event

Our Innovation team interacts in various ways with external solution providers (e.g., start-ups) and we don’t have a good way of capturing the interactions. Please let us know if your organization uses a CRM system or some other method to keep track of your interactions. 

1. What CRM system or other method does your organization use to keep track of interactions with external providers such as start-ups?  Also, what do you like and not like about the system?

  • Salesforce (three responses) 
    • Likes:   
      • Broadly shared access, very good search functionality
      • Transparency across the company, Outlook integration
      • Allows customization, facilitates knowledge sharing across the organization.
    • Dislikes:  
      • Adoption still increasing
      • Clumsy UX, overengineered forms, only a few people use it regularly.
      • Salesforce can have a steep learning curve, and in our organization the rollout/layout was optimized for one group of users, making it less user-friendly for the rest of us.

  • Custom solution using Microsoft PowerApps
    • Likes:
      • It is lightweight and integrates to our pilot process tracking. 
    • Dislikes:
      • PowerApps is clunky sometimes.

  • A central database keeps track of external collaborations, confidentiality agreements, etc. Purchasing and raw material departments handle this.
    • Likes:
      • Once one is used to it, it provides clear guidance for how to start, carry on and finish collaborations.
    • Dislikes:
      • Less responsive, cumbersome and slow: hard to centralize across a global company.

  • Internal database
    • Likes:
      • It is global.
    • Dislikes:
      • Some restrictions on information accessibility.  Not used for tracking day-to-day interactions.

  • Home-built application using Microsoft Power Platform to track identification, evaluation, and selection along w/ pilots and milestones
    • Likes:
      • It is lightweight and built for our process. It does not shoehorn our process to work with a standard CRM tool.
    • Dislikes:
      • Limited usage by team members (adoption)

  • We use network folders or Microsoft teams to store information but it is more repository vs active and very limited
    • Dislikes:
      • It is very cumbersome and hard to search and data mine. 

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