Microsoft Dynamics CRM is Microsoft’s very own Customer Relationship Manager, and has been around since 2003. Dynamics CRM provides a proven business framework for companies to either adapt their own business model to improve customer interaction and accuracy of client data, or a platform to extend and mould, to conform to their own existing business model. The current version is CRM 2013, with CRM 2015 revealed in September 2014.
It is available in two different flavours:
Online gives smaller businesses who aren’t looking to spend vast amounts of money on internal infrastructure and technology, the ability to have Microsoft host their CRM in the cloud, taking away a lot of the setup and maintenance costs associated as well. New updates are automatically applied when they become available.
On-Premise gives larger companies, or smaller companies looking to have more control over their system, the ability to have a CRM environment setup on their own internal infrastructure. This gives full control over maintenance and setup, allowing custom tailoring and resources to be applied to accommodate larger usage systems. In this format, updates have to be downloaded and installed by an admin team when they become available if required, however a company may decide against this to avoid potential changes or compatibility issues of any integrated systems.
Dynamics CRM is aimed at (but not restricted to) three main business verticals:
Each of these three sections come as standard in CRM, and use the same underlying database to store data, allowing for either complete segregation of business divisions, or a more natural collaboration across all three to give a true end-to-end business process.
The marketing section allows marketers the ability to create, manage and score marketing campaigns, and ultimately provide an accurate and true ROI. The process can be automated to further increase accuracy of figures, and automatically update figures based on customer responses.
The Sales section allows the support of the sales process from Lead generation, right through to close of sale. Leads can be nurtured, and qualified into accounts and contacts all at the touch of a button. Users can generate reports and charts to help visualise current sales efficiency, and create targets for themselves and sales teams.
The Servicing section provides a multitude of tools to help track and manage support requests received from existing customers, from initial call log, right through until successful resolution. Automated email replies can be sent to give customers reassurance their request has been received and is being investigated, requests can be tracked against SLAs agreed with a customer, and users can create and manage a knowledge base to help reduce investigation time.
Dynamics CRM has a wealth of reporting tools, from charts, lists, and views, to reporting wizards, allowing more in-depth analysis of the masses of data available.
Dashboards can be created to allow users instant access to an overview of the data that is most important to them in their daily job.
One of the major benefits of Dynamics CRM is its ability to be extended and customised. Simple business processes can be easily automated by users given minor training, allowing them the ability to speed up their own day to day tasks. More integral business processes can be automated by a team of customisers to provide company-wide automation.
Given that Dynamics CRM is a Microsoft product, it can easily integrate with many of Microsoft’s other products with minimal effort required. Dynamics CRM can be integrated and viewed through the Outlook application by installing an update for Outlook. This is allows users to access client information straight from the outlook window, email clients and contacts, and any new service requests received can be turned into a request in CRM at the touch of a button.
Dynamics CRM integrates easily with SharePoint, allowing CRM to utilise the powerful document management solutions provided by SharePoint. New accounts, contacts, opportunities and service requests can all have a folder structure created automatically in SharePoint, and all supporting documentation can be stored there to keep CRM as lightweight as possible.
Dynamics CRM also integrates tightly with Office products and gives the ability to easily export records to Excel for manipulation, and then re-import to update those CRM records. Mail merged documents can also be easily created and opened within Word.
CRM also integrates with products such as Lync and Yammer to provide a social networking aspect to CRM, allowing internal collaboration and discussions to happen right within the CRM interface.
If you think your business could benefit from a tailored CRM system or you would like to find out more then get in touch today and we will be happy to assist you in taking steps to improving your business processes.