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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Review

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Sweet Spot
Microsoft CRM key differentiators include software delivery choice (online or on-premise), value (total cost of ownership), productivity (seamless integration with Outlook and other commonly used desktop programs) and its partner ecosystem.

Microsoft CRM customers frequently choose this product for its native Outlook user experience, relatively quick deployment, flexible tools and affordability.

Short list Microsoft Dynamics CRM when:

  • Seeking flexible but easy to use Sales Force Automation (SFA) software.
  • Searching for the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) for unmodified CRM solutions.
  • Your staff currently use MS Outlook and Office products.
  • If you feel you may change software delivery methods from cloud to on-premises or vice versa.
  • Your IT department is a Microsoft shop and makes use of MS platform products such as SQL Server, Visual Studio, Windows Workflow Foundation, SharePoint and/or Communication Server.
  • You're looking for a tier 2 CRM system.

Dynamics has historically met the business needs and IT constraints of small and midsize businesses, however, the CRM software is clearly moving up market, is scalable and Microsoft now touts several customers with over one-thousand concurrent users.

Alternative Solutions
CRM buyers may be best advised to consider alternative CRM products when:

  • Seeking mature vertically focused, industry-specific CRM software.
  • Seeking marketing automation technology, or marketing software designed with the intent purpose of acquiring more leads for the sales force.
  • Seeking an enterprise-level contact center solution. While Dynamics is steadily advancing the Service component of the CRM suite, the current version is more practical as a help desk product than a contact center solution.
  • Seeking social CRM, or social selling, social marketing or social service solutions.
  • Internal IT shops standardize on non-Microsoft technologies such as Oracle, Linux or Java/J2EE.

It's been my observation that businesses with fewer IT resources and an open propensity to outsource more often go with competitor solutions such as Salesforce.com, while businesses with more IT resources tend to more often choose Microsoft CRM.

Concluding Remarks
Microsoft is a cloud convert. While the company has yet to show cloud or CRM innovation, it is a superb fast follower that can generally marshal the resources to emulate the best ideas within one to two software versions. Historically this has worked well for the software giant. However, this strategy often fails once a new market crosses the chasm and the early majority accelerate adoption. Software version cycles are being reduced from every 18 to 24 months on average, to seasonal releases. More frequent releases are also bearing more innovation—social, mobile, analytics, omnichannel, customer experience, big data, gamification, consumer technologies and more—thereby reducing traditional obsolescence, delivering increased customer value and leaving me-too competitors further behind. Decreasing release cycles and increasing customer expectations will only continue as software is delivered as a service and incremental enhancements are distributed to multi-tenant architectures on-demand. Microsoft is today returning to its 1990's playbook—match competitors on features and beat them on price—a viable strategy for market share acquisition to be sure. However, unless Microsoft chooses to replace its fast follower competency with at least some true innovation, it risks achieving a leadership position in the CRM software industry. End

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Comments (5) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Edmond La Joya
  in the mobile crm section you didnt mention CWR
  Denise Chuck Schaeffer
    Microsoft previously partnered with CWR for Dynamics CRM mobility, however, that partnership dissolved. CWR has since ceased business.

Guest Chris Nichols
  Microsoft’s evolving channel program (from the MS Partner Program to the MS Partner Network) has had an interesting effect on the company’s CRM distribution and customer satisfaction. The required step up in partner investments (i.e. more required training, number of resources, etc) and increased focus on specific competencies initially sounded like a good idea but have disproportionately penalized the smaller VARs. The company has since adopted a Dynamics master VAR program, which looks to further squeeze these smaller VARs. It all sounds reasonable on paper. However, prior to Dynamics CRM and ERP becoming Microsoft products, that is back when they were called Great Plains, Solomon, Navision and Axapta, those companies made their reputation and growth strategies in extremely large part on a wide network of small and successful VARs. It was an extremely powerful and diversified strategy. Certainly Microsoft can do as it likes, but I think the company is heading down a road that will not be good for the SMB market, and ultimately Microsoft.

Guest Tracy Phillips
  I agree with you that Microsoft is behind the eight ball when it comes to social CRM. We're a Dynamics customer and have been waiting for social apps for over four years. We like the CRM system but we’ve given up on them to do anything social.
  Denise Chuck Schaeffer
    Don’t give up. Microsoft has been slow but I’m convinced from executive discussions they will eventually get there. The company's Statement of Direction identifies micro-blogging, activity feeds and social intelligence in their product roadmap. Timeframes are not provided and specifics are absent, but Microsoft is a company that for the most part delivers what it promises.
 

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Review

 

 

 

 

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Dynamics CRM has historically met the business needs and IT constraints of small and midsize businesses, however, the CRM system is clearly moving up market, is very scalable and Microsoft now touts several customers with over one-thousand users.

 

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