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Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
My organization uses MS Dynamics CRM company-wide. It allows for all of our employees, regardless of department, to review and share account information about our customers and prospective customers. We heavily use cases as a helpdesk solution. We have also created several custom entities that tie into the account that are also heavily used by various divisions of the organization. Our CRM system allows users to access all information about an account in one place. There is no longer a need to make several phone calls to other divisions nor do users have to search through emails to find history regarding an account. All of the information is accessible within one system.
- End-User Usability. The system is very user-friendly. A novice user can easily find an account and review all the account information on one screen with links to contacts, cases, opportunities, etc that are associated with the account. All of the different entities are shown on the left-hand side of the screen. Searching for different records types within each entity is simple. New records can easily be created by users. Users can also create their own advanced finds (views). Users have the ability to set their own default start area along with the ability to set a default view for each entity. This is particularly helpful for users who rarely use the system and don't always remember which entity they need to access or which view to select. In the case of upper-management, who may only interested in viewing Dashboards, setting these user defaults is extremely helpful. Reports are easy to run and can have a variety of parameters to allow the user to customize the report data.
- Integration with Outlook. MS Dynamics CRM easily integrates with MS Outlook through a plug-in that is installed on the user's machine. Through this plug-in, a user can track emails, appointments, and tasks from Outlook to CRM through the click of a button. From that point forward, any changes made in either system are synced. In addition, if an email is tracked, any further responses or forwards of that email (inter-company) are also tracked in CRM. Users do have the ability to untrack any email at any point, which will stop any further responses or forwards from being tracked in CRM.
- Third Party Managed Solutions. It is very easy to install managed solutions into MS Dynamics CRM. There is even a marketplace available where you can search for these solutions. They are also very easy to uninstall if you decide it does not suit your needs. Some of these solutions are free and some cost money. Regardless of cost, which is defined by the creator of the solution and not by Microsoft, the availability of these solutions are a definite strength because as a developer, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. In addition, if you create a managed solution that you feel will benefit others, you can add it to the marketplace and share with other developers.
- Marketing Module. The marketing module in CRM is lacking. As-is, it is very difficult to use the marketing entities for regular campaigns as it just lacks the power and functionality that other marketing programs have. There are marketing programs that can be purchased that will either run through the CRM system or that will run outside of the CRM system but can sync data. In my experience, I have worked with both of these scenarios. I work with one CRM organization that uses an installed managed solution for marketing and I work with another CRM organization that syncs with an external marketing program. I prefer the installed managed solution as the program is accessed from within CRM.
- Third Party Managed Solutions. While I listed this as a strength, it is also a weakness. When selecting third party managed solutions, it is important to research and ask questions. With the on-premise version that I use, I control my updates (rollups). When using the online version, updates are automatic. Make sure that the vendor who created the managed solution will keep their solution updates inline with Microsoft's updates. If not, your managed solution could stop working after an update. With some third party managed solutions, updates to the solution are not automatic either.
- Data Import. The data import in MS Dynamics CRM 2011 is much better than the data import from the previous 4.0 version however, it is still not robust enough to handle all scenarios. There is also supposed to be an easy way to export data to Excel, make changes, and then re-import the data with the changes however, you must do this quickly because any change to a record within CRM before the re-import will cause failures. It is also somewhat cumbersome at times when setting up the field mappings during the import. I have found that it is easier to use an external ETL program to import data into CRM. Usually with these programs you can write formulas and create mappings for option sets much easier than you can using the native data import within CRM.
- Time savings is the biggest ROI of MS Dynamics CRM. The accessibility of data in one, central program can save a user hours of research for just one customer. Also, being able to setup workflows to update data or automatically send e-mails also saves time. Imagine an option on an account in CRM to request credit for an account. When a user clicks the button, the system generates an email that includes key account information that is sent to the credit department. The credit department can run the necessary credit checks and approve or deny the request.
- Reporting through SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services). Powerful reports can be created using SSRS and can be easily imported into CRM. These reports are easily accessible by users at the click of a button. These reports can include tables, charts/graphs, and even links to existing CRM records. These reports can provide users and management with answers to questions that they may not have thought to ever ask. User productivity reports can also be created.
- Higher customer satisfaction ratings. Being able to view an account with all its history at the click of a button can allow any user to provide better customer service which will return higher customer satisfaction. When a customer has to re-explain their situation multiple times to multiple departments they can quickly become frustrated. Through the CRM system, these situations can be documented where any user can review it and be immediately up-to-speed with the customer's situation.
- You can perform better marketing campaigns which can lead to higher sales. Knowing what your customers want and being able to track it in a CRM system will allow marketing visibility to this information. This will allow them to create more specialized campaigns geared towards a specific group.
- I converted a company from JD Edwards CRM to MS Dynamics CRM 4.0. I had very limited experience with the JD Edwards CRM, but my overall impression of the JDE CRM is that JDE is not a CRM system but an ERP system. It seemed that the CRM piece of JDE was added-on as a last minute, "let's stay with the times" module. It was very simplistic and lacked structure. My experience with the JDE CRM system was in 2008-2009.
- I converted a very small division of my current company from SalesForce into CRM. I had limited visibility to the SalesForce system. It seemed that there was a limited ability to customize the system. It was also difficult to export all of the data from SalesForce for import into MS Dynamics CRM. This was done in 2010.
- Review your current processes and data. Think about how it will map into MS Dynamics CRM. If possible, obtain a trial license to the online version and perform a sample data import. This will allow you to see data within the entities and how the data relates and rolls up to the account. Keep in mind that customizations can be done.
- If you have current data, ask how easy it will be for your current data to import into CRM. Will you need to tweak any of your current business processes to adapt to CRM or will CRM be able to adapt to your business processes?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Feature Ratings
Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
150 - Our users represent various business functions. We have over 200 users however, not all of them actively use the system on a regular basis. We have a help desk that uses CRM Cases for tickets. We use our system for inventory items via a custom entity. The sales group uses the system extensively - mostly opportunities, accounts, and contacts. Accounting and Credit/Collection uses the system, mainly for account information. There are also a few other teams that have required custom entities to be created. We also heavily use the reporting in CRM.