The customer relationship management market is dominated by a small list of leaders pushing the industry forward. Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online are two such tools gaining greater market share. A recent Gartner report listed these two suites as part of its Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation study, explaining businesses can use either an online system or an on-premise deployment.
The research firm said both Microsoft Dynamics products offer similar functionality. The online version is a testament to the amount of companies migrating operations to cloud computing environments.
"Organizations consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises primarily for: (1) the potential for more-attractive total cost of ownership (TCO) versus using cloud-based offerings, (2) integration with Microsoft Outlook and the ability to leverage the Microsoft technology stack, such as SharePoint and SQL Server, and (3) to avoid data privacy and real-time integration issues associated with the cloud," Gartner explained.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online really gained steam in terms of adoption levels in 2012. Gartner said that large sales organizations with at least 500 users were at the forefront of implementing the suite. One of the main differences between the online version and the on-site one is in terms of release cycles, with the former receiving two each year compared to one for the latter.
How Microsoft thrives where other vendors can't
There are plenty of service providers throughout the CRM market, but few offer the breadth of IT products quite like Microsoft. The tech giant integrates its products with one another, delivering a unified experience for businesses using their other popular solutions. Gartner emphasized this point regarding Microsoft Dynamics CRM, noting the suite works with SharePoint, Lync, Visual Studio and Outlook.
These other Microsoft products enhance collaboration and content management, presence and instant messaging, customization and investment capabilities, the research firm added.
Companies planning a CRM implementation are not just investing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but the entire Microsoft ecosystem that improves operational efficiency and department collaboration.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM also going social
Social networking is one trend that is defining the business-customer market. Companies that analyze data can better serve their clients by fostering long-lasting relationships with businesses that would be more challenging without this level of insight. CIO reported on the social listening functionality from Microsoft's latest Dynamics CRM Spring update.
The social listening tool with the Microsoft product allows marketing, sales and service professionals to view real-time social media conversations and leverage this feedback to craft their marketing campaign and products.
The great aspect of the social listening functionality with the Microsoft tool is that it benefits all types of businesses. Sealord, a global sustainable fishing company, uses the social solution to gain insight into how stakeholders view important industry trends, according to the news provider. This capability proved advantageous for the business, which reacted accordingly following a shark-finning incident and communicated with customers about the situation.
"Without Microsoft Social Listening, we would not have had the opportunity to hear what was top-of-mind for our stakeholders and the community we serve, and ensure Sealord's work to be sustainable in these areas was understood," said Alison Sykora, public affairs and communications manager at Sealord, CIO reported.
How the cloud comes into play
There are so many benefits to a successful CRM deployment that businesses without such tools in place are putting themselves at a severe competitive disadvantage. The combination of technologies such as cloud computing, mobile devices and CRM software allows employees, especially sales representatives, to access data anywhere at any time to communicate with existing customers and prospects. This type of IT infrastructure makes it possible for personnel to always view the most up-to-date information to better serve clients even if they are not physically in the office.
Charles King, principal analyst at PundIT, a tech industry publications firm, told CIO that cloud computing will become an integral part in Microsoft Dynamics suites in the future. He also said Microsoft cannot just rely on its productivity apps and operating systems to remain successful moving forward. It must continue to expand to new markets, with CRM being a key part of this strategy.
"In essence, Microsoft wants to be a full-service business applications provider. So continuing to develop and provide new applications on the Dynamics CRM platform is critical going forward," King told the news provider.
Get your CRM deployment right from the start
If your organization is interested in adopting CRM, contact Pinnacle, an Advanced Imaging Solutions company, today. We are a leading IT managed services provider, analyzing our customers' unique operational infrastructure to create a comprehensive roadmap to ensure their success over the long run.
Once a CRM suite is in place, we provide ongoing performance assessments to make sure IT products are working efficiently at all times. If complications occur, our support team is ready to react to fix the problems before they negate productivity. To learn more about our CRM offerings, click here to contact us.