Want to grow your Apprenticeship Vacancies?

Do you want to grow your Apprenticeship Vacancies?

Organisations that aspire to be truly responsive to the needs of employers face a challenge in handling increasing numbers of Apprenticeship Vacancies and Candidates whilst controlling costs.  Qualifying and processing large numbers of Candidates is time consuming and resource hungry at a time when immense pressure is being placed on budgets across the Further Education & Skills Sector.

Organisations offering Apprenticeships and Traineeships need to do more with less.

This is where JustApply comes in!

JustApply offers FE Colleges, Universities and Private Training Providers their own customised and Branded Professional Recruitment Solution and Portal.

Your organisation can offer Employers the opportunity to create their own Vacancies online and Candidates can register their own details, upload or create their own CV, sector interests and apply for Vacancies with a single click.   JustApply can post vacancies to NAS, UJM, Facebook, Twitter, NGtU and many other Recruitment Portals in addition to your own website so the potential pool of candidates is much larger.

This frees up your teams to provide an improved service to employers and have all data stored in one easily accessible place.

Let us show you JustApply and discuss what it could do for your organisation


JA portal 2

 JustApply Portal

 JustApply can actually save money with ROI being realised in many cases in 3-6 months.

Providers that are using JustApply are able to advertise more vacancies and handle more applications than ever before, up to 300 vacancies per month with 3000 applications per month in some cases. These figures have been achieved without an increase in headcount!

The diagram below illustrates the scale of savings providers can expect to make using JustApply.

FERMs cost savings

Click on image for more details

To see further details and to see JustApply in action, please call 0845 230 0447 or email info@focusonbusiness.co.uk

Integrating Microsoft CRM with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) Portal

Unique integration of Microsoft CRM with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) Portal enables Further Education Colleges to improve efficiency and reduce

Focus on Business has developed the FERMs system, which is based on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform, over the last five years, working closely with more than thirty FE Colleges.

The FERMs CRM system provides Colleges with unique functionality that enables them to collaborate more effectively with employers and apprenticeship candidates, linking processes and removing the need for repeated manual data entry. College users are able to engage more effectively with Employers, working with them to efficiently provide filtered applicants to vacancies quickly and at the same time creating and maintaining ongoing relationships between both employers and apprentice applicants.

Before the direct integration with NAS Portal was available Colleges would have to complete paper applications with both employers and candidates and then enter the information into the NAS portal manually as well as their own CRM system. FERMs integration with the NAS Portal speeds up matching of candidates to vacancies and simplifies the invitation to interview process.  The ability to share this  information, increases the chances of employers finding candidates with relevant backgrounds and skills and removes a lot of rekeying of information for the college, candidates and employers.

Employers working with a College that uses the FERMs system can create vacancies themselves or with the assistance of their College representative on a simple easy to use web form, designed to match the NAS template. Once a vacancy has been agreed it can be posted directly onto the NAS Portal with one click. Applicants using the NAS Portal can register their interest in a vacancy in the normal way and  this interest is automatically entered into FERMs against the applicant record and the vacancy.

In addition to the new NAS Portal integration which is unique to FERMs, the Recruitment & Apprenticeship (R&A) Management System from Focus on Business enables Colleges to post vacancies to their own web site, the Job Centre, social networks and several hundred other job portals.

Other benefits include:

  • Re-usable data – Applicants can be advised to apply for other suitable vacancies,
  • Tools and workflows to simplify the management of the interview process,
  • Search and filter tools to better match candidates and find vacancies, based on postcode, qualifications and skills,
  • Sharing of vacancy and candidate data with all stakeholders

The key focus of the system is to help Colleges be successful in this new recruitment space, be more efficient and cost effective, whilst also improving the experience for both employers and apprentice candidates.

The process improvements that FERMs R&A can offer are measurable. Click on this link to view the potential savings that can be made


If you would like to find out more about FERMs or integrating your Microsoft CRM system with the NAS Portal, please contact Focus on Business Ltd on  0845 230 0447 or
by email to info@focusonbusiness.co.uk. http://www.crmforfe.co.uk

Database cleansing through Duplication Detection in Dynamics CRM

Creating a good database is a major and ongoing challenge for most organisations and the issue that keeps coming up is Duplicate Records. This blog will show you how Dynamics CRM can help avoid Duplication.

Microsoft Dynamics uses duplicate detection rules to determine whether a record is a potential duplicate. When a duplicate detection rule is published a matchcode is created for the record. This matchcode is checked automatically against records that are being created or updated against existing matchcode within existing records.Microsoft Dynamics has simple default duplicate-detection rules already set up for accounts, contacts and leads that are based upon the records with the same e-mail address.Dynamics CRM default duplicate detection are available:

  • When a record is created or updated. This includes when a record created with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook is tracked in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  • During Data import

Enable and Disable Duplicate Detection

So now we know a little bit about Microsoft Dynamics Duplicate detection. We need to now ensure that Duplicate Detection is enabled.

  1. In the navigation panel, click Settings, System, Data Management and then Duplication Detection Settings


  2. Select whether you want duplicate detection to be on or off.

    Note: Many organisations will want to use duplicate detection in almost all areas possible to ensure that records are not duplicated. Quick word of warning though… this may hurt performance depending on the size of your database and/or your server specification

  3. Select when you would like duplicate detection to take place.
    • When a record is created and updated
      Users will be prompted automatically before saving or importing potential duplicate records of any record type for which a published duplicate-detection rule exists.Note: Duplication detection will not take place when a user merges two records, converts a lead or when an activity is completed.
    • When Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook goes offline to online
      If you are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook you must select how you would want duplicate detection to work when synchronising data. By default, duplicates will not be detected when Microsoft Dynamics synchronises records.
    • During Data import Each time a user defines a data import job, the choice to check for duplicates will be available.
  4. Click OK

Removing duplication-detection for one record type.

There may be a record which you decide that you don’t need duplication detection, so this shows how this is done.

  1. In the Navigation Panel, click Settings, Customization, Customizations and Customize the System

  2. Double click the record type where you want duplication detection to be disabled.
  3. Within the Data Services section ensure that Duplicate Detection is not ticked.
  4. Click Save and Close
  5. Publish your customisations by clicking on Publish within the entity.

    Note: If you are making a lot of customisations you may forgot to publish from within the record, so as good practise you may want to click the “Publish All Customizations” button from the Customize the System screen.

In the next blog we will look how to create and edit duplicate detection rules

If you require any further assistance with Dynamics CRM (all versions) contact the CRM experts at Focus.

Microsoft Releases the CRM 2011 Outlook Client Troubleshooting Wizard

Some GREAT News coming from Microsoft, which has got us really excited. They have just released Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook Configuration Troubleshooting Wizard.

The Microsoft CRM 2011 Outlook Troubleshooting Wizard can help find the most unlikely solution for an error in the Configuration Wizard. Whatever the reason that your Microsoft Dynamics CRM is unable to connect to Microsoft Outlook, the wizard will help identify and fix the problem.

The Wizard provides easy to understand solutions, with step by step guide and screenshots, so you are able solve known configuration issues with the CRM client.

The wizard is for both CRM Online and On Premise environments and can be found on http://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/2011/en-us/online/5.0/outlook-troubleshooting.aspx

Here are some screenshots of the interface:

If you require any further assistance with Dynamics CRM (All versions) contact the CRM experts at Focus

Shared View in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Another great feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the ability to Create and Share Views. In this post we are going to look at how we can do this and also how to remove them when they are no longer required.

Once you have created the parameters of your Advanced Find, click on Save As and name your view.

The saved View is now available for you to select from My Views from the View Dropdown menu within the record or alternatively by clicking on saved views in Advanced Find.

To share the entire view you must select Saved Views within Advanced Find, this usually bring up your Active Saved Views.

Note: By selecting the drop down option of saved views, it enables you to choose from the different views that are available.

To Share a particular view or update user preferences, highlight the view and select share.

A window appears that enables you to decide which other user(s) you would like to share the view with and what control they will have.

  • Read: Will allow the user to only read the view. Must be selected for the view to be shared.
  • Write: Enables criteria of the view to changed
  • Delete: User is able to delete the view. Once deleted by any user, the view is no longer available for user to view
  • Append: Not available for selection
  • Assign: Allows users to change the ownership of the view
  • Share: Allows the user to share view with other CRM Users/Team

The View will now be available for all users to access through My Views from the record, it was created for.

Once CRM users are familiar with the sharing of Views in CRM they may decide to share multiple views, which in some cases you may not require, thereby dramatically increasing the list of your views. Furthermore they may be some views that you no longer require.

Regardless of the access rights you have been granted, you are able to deactivate a view, so it no longer shows up on your list. This will not affect other users of the same view.

To deactivate the shared view you need to go back into Advanced Find > Saved Views, select the shared view that you want to deactivate and select deactivate.

Once a view has been deactivated, it can also re-activated, therefore no need to worry about getting access to the View again.

To re-activate a View go into Advanced Find>Saved Views on the drop down select the inactivate view option that you require (i.e. to reactivate a Shared View select Inactive Views Shared with Me). This will bring up all inactive views, select the View and click Activate.

Using shared views can assist in sharing information and prevent duplication of effort.

If you require any further assistance with Dynamics CRM (all versions) contact the CRM experts at Focus.

Filtered Views in Dynamics CRM

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM it is easy to create filtered views. This reduces the need to create Advance Finds and provides a more efficient way to create sets of data that can be used pro-actively

For this example we are going to use Active Contacts. We first need to select the filter icon next to the search entry box on the right and click add filter. This brings up a view of some key fields.

This can be expanded to see all the fields within the specific record type by clicking on “More” at the bottom of this list. In the case below we are assuming that you are aiming to contact prospects that have a specific Job Title.

By clicking on the Job Title field within the list a Custom Filter Box will appear, where you are able to set the parameter of the filter.

You select a specific Operator and your view will be created with contacts that have the specified job title.

For the example below this shows all contacts with the job title manager.

Filtering filters
A good tip when running filters is to be less specific with the first run of data. This is particularly useful when cleansing data. Often data will have been created with some errors and to cover this it is wise to start with a less specific search. Allow for spelling errors, abbreviations etc and search using a parameter that for example allows for data containing words or combinations of words rather than equals.

In the above example if any of the contacts had a prefix or suffix to the word Manager in the Job Title it would have missed them because we have used a search of Job Title: Equals “ Manager”. If we had used a search stating Job Title: Contains “Manager” it would have picked up Managers of different departments within Organisations.

If you require any further assistance with Dynamics CRM (all versions) contact the CRM experts at Focus.

Auto Creation of CRM Leads or Contacts direct from Outlook Emails and Meeting Requests

We are often asked whether it is possible to create Contact or Lead records directly within CRM from incoming emails or meeting requests? Well with Dynamics CRM 2011 you are able to do exactly that, without any manual intervention.

Dynamics CRM 2011 now has a personal setting that gives you the the ability to automatically create records of recipients from email or meeting requests.

Let us show you where this option is and how we can change it, if we need to.

  1. Go to File > CRM > OPTIONS
  2. This will open the following view
  3. Click on Email tab
  4. Ensure “create” field under Automatically create records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM section is ticked. As you can see the record type is “Contact”, meaning that CRM will automatically create a Contact record of the sender.  There is also the option to create a Lead, if that is more appropriate.

This shows how CRM can you save you a lot of time and effort by eliminating the need for manual tracking and creating Leads or Contacts records.

If you require any further assistance with Dynamics CRM (all versions) contact the CRM experts at Focus.

Castle College Nottingham


Castle College Nottingham was established in 2006 following the merger of Broxtowe College and The People’s College. The college is investing heavily in improved facilities and, as part of the improvements; they felt that they needed to replace their existing CRM system, which would be unable to cope with any future developments.

The Challenge

Jane Cunningham, Business and Market Intelligence Manager for Castle College, explains, “We needed a system that would track incoming enquiries,both from learners and employers. The product would also need to support the whole ‘employer journey’ by tracking employer engagement activities beyond the initial enquiry, including booking employer visits, carrying out organisational needs analyses, and providing quotes and service level agreements.”

The Solution …. Download PDF (197kb)

About Focus on Business

With experience spanning over 15 years, providing solutions to suit hugely diverse requirements, Focus on Business has a unique insight into designing and implementing systems to meet virtually any outcomes our clients require