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PowerMap Lets Users Visualize the Lay of the CRM Land

PowerMap Lets Users Visualize the Lay of the CRM Land

PowerMap for Microsoft Dynamics CRM lets users create visual representations of data sets by sticking pins onto a virtual map. It's intuitive to use: Pick a pin, pick a CRM entity, pick a view. Users can click on a pin to select a record, and information will pop up on the screen. Clicking on the name of a record opens it in a separate window.

PowerObjects has released PowerMap, a new add-on for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This is the first iteration of the product, and the functionality is basic.

Dynamics CRM
Map
(click to enlarge)

However, version 2, which is expected in a few weeks, will have stepped-up capabilities, PowerObjects CEO Dean Jones told CRM Buyer.

A more advanced version will follow within a few months, he said.

At its core, PowerMap does what the name suggests -- allows users to plot addresses of a group of entities on a map within Dynamics CRM.

"It is a way to create a visualization of geolocation in the database," Jones said.

Mapping data has become an essential tool for a lot of companies and though Dynamics CRM does provide some functionality in this area, PowerMap kicks it up a notch or two, he said.

How It Works

Information from a database is typically displayed in rows and columns, which can make it difficult to detect patterns. With PowerMap a user could geocode a company's accounts to see which states had the highest concentrations of its most profitable customers, for example. Or a firm could geocode the locations of all of its tractors, say.

However, PowerObjects anticipates that more common uses for the mapping functionality will be to visualize the locations of accounts, contacts or prospects -- perhaps for a sales rep who is setting out to visit a territory.

A user can geocode any entity in Dynamics CRM with this first iteration, Jones explained, including custom entity types. All that is required is an address field.

The Next Version

Version 2.0 will provide users with additional functionality. They will be able to use a map definition tool to create three views within a map instead of just one, for example.

A user could create a map with red pins signifying customers who appeared ready to leave a company; green pins signifying customers likely to increase their business; and blue pins indicating stable customers.

Future Functionality

In the third version, PowerMap will gain heat map functionality, routing and directions, Jones said.

In the case of directions, a user will be able to click on a pin and get "to" and "from" directions from that location. With routing, a user will be able to tick off seven different locations, say, and get the most efficient route to take. Heat maps will illustrate the density of the data in a particular area.

PowerMap uses Bing maps technology. It can be installed with any Dynamics CRM 2011 application, including online or on-premises installations.


Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.


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