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How well do you know your sales process? What are the three most valuable pieces of information that your salesperson needs to know before moving a lead to an opportunity? When you close an opportunity, what information should you capture that will help improve your sales process? These are the type of questions that you should be asking when you implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM—whether for the first time or if it’s your third upgrade.



Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an amazing canvas on which you can paint your own processes. To make the most of its potential, you need to examine your processes and ask, “What can we do better?” To get those answers, you need to ask the right questions. Enter the Business Analyst (BA). The BA’s role in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM project is to ask the right questions so that CRM reflects the art of your business processes.

Constantly adding value.

In order to know what questions to ask, your BA has to understand your business. Spending time with a BA can be enlightening on its own. Looking at how your typical day flows, understanding what decisions you make and how you make them, and breaking down your processes to a task level. This outside perspective immediately sheds light on ways that your processes can be improved.

Now that your BA has a deeper understanding of what you do, they can leverage their experiences to start asking the hard questions. Why do you do a certain task? What can we do to eliminate some steps in order to speed up that process flow? What information is really important to you making a decision, and what else is just “noise”? Answering these questions will be challenging, but essential to getting the most value out of your investment in CRM.

As you work through these questions and answers with your BA, your BA will be developing in their head (and in documentation) the most effective solution for your business needs. They will know the ins and outs of your processes and how they will be implemented in CRM. They will know why certain data elements have been moved front and center, and others have been pushed aside. They will help you customize your process flows in CRM to maximize efficiency, and they will help you capture the data critical for your organizational reporting needs. But most importantly they will help walk you through this whole process until your solution is ready for deployment. By staying involved the BA becomes a true partner, helping you communicate your needs to the project team throughout the course of the project. A BA can be a translator between you and the developers, and even help you communicate to your own users when changes are ahead.

More than just an analyst.

Once you’ve developed a solution design, you realize how the title “Business Analyst” doesn’t begin to cover the role. They are an integrator on the project team—a part time solution designer, technical consultant, business expert, and sometimes even project manager all rolled into one. By integrating with all the different aspects of a project, BAs have a deeper understanding of what each role does, and the value that each brings to the project. This not only gives them a better understanding of why things are done a certain way, but what works and what doesn’t work.

In Part 2 of our BA 101 series we will talk about why a Business Analyst is an integral part of any Microsoft CRM implementation project so stay tuned, and as always, happy CRM’ing!

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Joe CRM is a CRM superhero who runs on pure Microsoft Dynamics CRM adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe CRM’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics CRM and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.