Definition

Microsoft Dynamics CRM software

Microsoft Dynamics CRM software is a customer relationship management package. The CRM software is available in the cloud (known as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online) and on-premises, as well as in a hybrid cloud version. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is part of the family of products that includes enterprise resource planning (ERP) products such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics SL.

Like other CRM software, Dynamics enables companies to manage their prospect and customer account information in a centralized way, from one location. Systems like Dynamics can help companies get that elusive 360-degree view of a customer by capturing and consolidating all interactions and customer activities. Dynamics CRM can then build in workflows and alerts to make sales reps more efficient in their use of this information, such as creating an alert if a sales rep hasn't contacted a prospect who interacted with a company's website within the previous 30 days.

Some of the pros of Dynamics CRM include the following:

  • Microsoft is on-premises and in the cloud -- a selling point over the leading CRM provider, Salesforce, which is cloud-only.
  • Microsoft claims a familiar, intuitive user interface that can be accessed from Microsoft Outlook, from within Outlook or any Internet connection.
  • Microsoft claims tight integration with Microsoft Office applications, including Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.
  • CRM information is centralized and then exploited by Microsoft to manage customer information, email messaging and calendar scheduling.
  • Dynamics features can be tailored to specific organizational business processes.
  • Microsoft workflow automation streamlines business processes and eliminates time-consuming tasks, often by reducing the number of clicks to create or manage customer account records.

Cons of Microsoft Dynamics CRM software include the following:

  • Because Dynamics wasn't born in the cloud, it's playing catch-up on its Dynamics CRM Online version. Functionality such as social CRM and mobile require more updating.
  • Microsoft was slow to not only the cloud but also to developing partnerships and deep integrations with other offerings. Competitors like Salesforce have paved this road and are ahead of the pack.
  • While Microsoft Dynamics is tightly integrated with Microsoft offerings, integrating with other suites and applications may be problematic. CRM often interacts with several back-office applications, including ERP, financial applications, HR apps, content management and file-sharing apps, and so forth.
  • Not all companies use Microsoft products, so a familiar interface may not be a selling point.
  • Microsoft's system is sophisticated enough to be daunting for small and medium-size companies without IT departments or experience with CRM configuration.

Launched in version 1 in 2003 and now on version 7, Dynamics CRM 2015 was announced in September 2014. Dynamics CRM comes in Workgroup, Professional, Enterprise and Service Provider editions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers two types of licenses: Server license and Client Access License (CAL). Each deployment should have at least one server license and one CAL. CAL is also known as a user license.

Competitors to Dynamics CRM include Salesforce, Oracle Customer Experience, SAP Hybris, SugarCRM and others.

This was last updated in February 2016

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