Competitive positioning in the CRM market is highlighted with the following strengths.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Strengths
- The Dynamics CRM for Outlook client is a top cited user benefit. In addition to the web client, the CRM application operates within an Outlook client, permitting users to perform their CRM related tasks and activities without having to open another window or screen, or navigate among multiple applications. The CRM for Outlook client mimics the Outlook user interface which decreases training requirements, increases ease of use and delivers a consistent user experience. Additional ease of use features include a contextual ribbon bar, role-tailored design and simple user personalization of workspaces and views.
- CRM market share analysis shows Microsoft gunning for the number 2 market share leader position. While Salesforce continues to increase the market share leadership gap, Microsoft has challenged Oracle and SAP for the runner up spot.
- The Dynamics CRM releases continue to focus on an improved user interface and user experience. The application includes a dynamic process flow control at the top of forms which adds context to otherwise static records. Instead of just viewing any particular (account, contact, activity, opportunity, case, campaign, etc.) record in isolation, the process flow visualization shows the record history (how it got to its current state) and the record destination (what steps are next to achieve the desired outcome). Users can also switch among multiple business process views based on record type, role or purpose.
- Microsoft is steadily improving Business Intelligence with flexible wizard-driven inline visualization workspaces, support for PowerPivot and Excel cubes, integration with Power BI, time-based queries, and easy to create dashboards — all of which collectively empower business users to analyze information without IT support. Azure machine learning and Cortana intelligence assets look to support a new era of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, however, are in early days.
- Dynamics CRM offers flexibility among software delivery alternatives—including on premises, SaaS or partner hosted. The Dynamics online and on-premise versions share the same code base (although there are timing differences in new release features) thereby also permitting customers to change delivery models. Further, Dynamics is hosting agnostic, permitting customers to choose among a plethora of hosting providers or bring the software in house. Dynamics also operates in the Microsoft Azure cloud, however, it remains to be seen whether Azure may become the first cloud to bring true portability to CRM customers.
- Dynamics includes robust customization and deep platform software integration tools which collectively increase product flexibility and extensibility while delivering technology efficiencies. The business software highly leverages the MS SQL Server stack, including Reporting Services for reports, Analysis Services for data warehousing, Windows Workflow Foundation for business process automation and the .NET framework for integration. SharePoint integration offers a powerful and integrated content management solution. Such top to bottom leverage tends to facilitate straight-forward IT efforts in terms of reducing complexity, time and cost.
- While CRM integration with the stack of Microsoft productivity programs is a strength, it is not necessarily a competitive advantage. Microsoft promotes and aids its CRM competitors such as Salesforce in integrating other CRM systems with Microsoft tools such as Outlook, Excel, OneNote, Skype for Business, Delve, Power BI, SharePoint and OneDrive.
- Microsoft is ahead of the pack in business process automation capabilities. Dynamics CRM leverages multiple types of workflow tools (i.e. real-time and background workflows, Dialogues, Actions and Business Process Flows) and the Windows Workflow Foundation platform for comprehensive and sophisticated workflow creation and customization.
- Excellent desktop integration. Office users can seamlessly integrate with the CRM data to create mail merge documents from Word, use document or email templates for distributions or use Excel pivot tables or other data massaging for data modeling and analytics.
- Strong offline system utilization via the Outlook client with automatic synchronization when online connectivity resumes.
- Good quotes and sales order entry for sales staff. Integration with any of the four Dynamics ERP products (Dynamics AX, Nav, GP or SL) for continued sales order fulfillment is performed using the 'Connector', which is limited and somewhat rigid, but delivers out of the box CRM to ERP integration.
- A global CRM solution that provides localized functionality in 40 regions, 41 languages and covers all the 'multi's' – such as multiple company, multiple currency, multiple languages and multiple time zones. To compliment a multi-national product, Microsoft has over 2000 CRM VARs (value added resellers), 100 ISV (independent software vendor) partners and hundreds of hosting partners in 85 countries. Without a doubt, Microsoft has the most mature global business partner channel in the world.
- While corporate viability is never guaranteed, Microsoft's size, growth, brand, diversification and profitability provide a much greater assurance of corporate longevity that many of the much smaller, emerging growth competitors.
- With a combination of impressive features sets and the lowest subscription pricing among all short listed CRM vendors, Dynamics often offers the best value proposition in the market.
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With a combination of impressive features sets and the lowest subscription pricing among all short listed CRM software vendors, Dynamics offers the best value proposition in the market.