Tag: Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM – a Comparison

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM – a Comparison

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has become a must have for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Businesses have realised that if they do not have a solution which keeps all customer information in one place, it will result in gaps in employee knowledge and therefore the level of service they deliver may be lower than that of competitors. Unfortunately this will only have one consequence – the customer will go elsewhere. This is why CRM solutions have changed from being a nice to have which provide a competitive advantage to an essential component to ensure business success.

CRM solutions provide a way of improving business efficiency. Essentially they provide a central location to store all information relating to customers, prospects and suppliers alike. They also prevent duplication of effort in terms of data entry and avoid the problems caused by having multiple records for one company, reduce silos of information and increase staff productivity. However in order to deliver these benefits, you have to have a solution which meets the needs of your organisation and it needs to be implemented correctly.

There are lots of different CRM solutions on the market, some are aimed at large corporations, others smaller organisations. However, two very well known CRM solutions are Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM, so how do they compare?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a hugely popular CRM solution, the latest version Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 builds on the success of earlier versions of the software as its more feature rich, more powerful and more flexible.

Often the problem with implementing a new system into an organisation is that there is a poor user uptake due to the unfamiliarity of the software. However with Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is not likely to be a problem, as the solution looks and feels just like any other Microsoft program. What’s more, the solution works from within Outlook and works the way that your users do, by giving them access to customer information without having to change screens.

In addition to this, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has Role Tailored Functionality. Research suggests that users do not use 90% of the icons on their desktop and as a result they can act as distractions. However, with the Role Tailored functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM the icons which users don’t need are hidden and those which they do need are promoted. This significantly improves the productivity of the workforce and an increased level of productivity is likely to result in greater profitability.

Another advantage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that the solution is available either as an On-Premise solution or as a Cloud-Solution. What’s more if you initially decide to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a Cloud solution and then some months later decide that you would actually like it to be an On-Premise solution, it’s straightforward to change from one to another. Similarly, if you decide that you want an On-Premise solution converting to a cloud solution, this can also be done.

Sage CRM

Like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage CRM is a leading mid-market CRM solution. One of the key advantages of Sage CRM is that it provides one central location to store all information relating to customers, suppliers and prospects. What’s more, it improves knowledge across an organisation as all staff will have access to information as well as the CRM calendar. The CRM calendar allows anyone in the organisation to view another employees diary on a specific day and or month and also see those activities which are completed or pending. This enables appointments to be scheduled in a member of staff’s diary without the worry that it is going to clash with another appointment.

Essentially Sage CRM will provide a 360 degree view of everything which is happening within an organisation. From a Sales perspective it will enable a user to use a dashboard to have a clear view of their leads and opportunities. It also has a workflow which will create tasks for the sales team. This is a really useful tool as someone in marketing could enter a lead and schedule a call for someone in the sales team and this will automatically appear as a task.

Another significant advantage of Sage CRM is that it integrates seamlessly with Sage 200 – Sage’s mid-market ERP solution, eliminating the need to switch screens. This means that users will have access to a single view of customers, suppliers, partners, and channel members. This ensures that everyone has access to accurate and up-to-date information regardless of where it’s held. This significantly enhances customer service, reduces errors, delays and streamlines a wide range of processes.

From a Marketing perspective, there is a marketing area where campaigns can be created which will enable the marketing team to track the cost of a campaign and the number of leads which it generated.

So which solution is best?

Both Sage CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are extremely powerful solutions and have a lot more features, functions and workflows than those outlined here. So, it really isn’t a case of one solution being better than the other as both solutions have their advantages. What it actually depends on is your organisations requirements and which solution you prefer the look and feel of.

What is clear is that both Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM will deliver significant advantages to an organisation providing they are implemented correctly and the users are fully trained.

Rebecca Rooney works for Concentrix, that offers CRM software including Microsoft CRM, Sage CRM, plus Sage 200.

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CRM Software – Comparing Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Salesforce

CRM Software – Comparing Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Salesforce

CRM Software solutions are an integral part of the sales, marketing and customer service of most organisations. Today, CRM Software dwells far further than these functions to manage all business requirements. This has been termed by the people at Microsoft as xRM – (x) anything Relationship Management. Choosing which solution is right for your company is not easy and often companies compare different CRM offerings.

Two of the major CRM software applications on the market today are Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.

There was a time with these two CRM software applications that the choice was more black and white. You either looked at software deployed in-house (Microsoft Dynamics CRM) or the software-as-a-service model (Salesforce).

Now that Microsoft has moved into the cloud with their software as a service model and Salesforce now has a development platform with its “Force” offering your options are now blurred.

Salesforce was founded in 1999 with a vision to create an on-demand information management service that would replace traditional enterprise software technology. Salesforce calls itself “the enterprise cloud-computing company”. Sales Cloud™ and Service Cloud™ are Salesforce’s applications for sales and customer service. Their approach to the cloud computing deployment model has led to them developing the force.com cloud platform that allows developers and users to build business applications on top of the Salesforce offering.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM, created by Microsoft product team with vast resources was designed with a long-term vision that will allow Customers to use CRM with multiple Microsoft products and choose deployment options to meet organisational needs.

IT researcher Springboard found Australian and New Zealand was already the most mature market for SaaS applications in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to BRW Magazine the market is tipped to grow 45% a year in Australia and New Zealand from $ UA 1.7 billion in 2008 to $ US7.7 billion by 2012. The magazine also referred to customer relationship management software as the most popular SaaS application (35 percent) and that “companies in Australia are using SaaS because it’s cheaper, rather than because it’s easier to use. Only 9 percent cited “ease of use” as the reason for choosing SaaS.

Choice and Flexibility:

With a multitenant CRM solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers any number of deployment options, depending on your needs. On-demand, on-premise, and partner-hosted models are available for Microsoft Dynamic CRM. If your deployment requirements change so too can your CRM software deployment options as each deployment option is built on the same modern architecture and data model.

For example, you can take your configurations and data hosted by Microsoft and move to In-House or to a Microsoft Partner web based CRM software hosted model. Salesforce platform offers SaaS by the Cloud and you don’t own the software and configurations. If you want to change to an in-house solution you need to move to another CRM application. You need to factor the cost of getting your data out of Salesforce.

Depending on the level of subscription you purchase for Salesforce there have been reports of your data being held hostage. This is, depending on your level of subscription you need to upgrade your subscription in order to export your data.

Cost:

Salesforce claims to cost significantly less but Microsoft Dynamics CRM insists that the comparison is not for like services. A-la-carte pricing that is additional to potential price hikes at contract renewal time can significantly affect the total cost of Salesforce. When assessing comparable online products between the two opponents, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is available for less than 50% of the Salesforce fee. The latest pricing in the USA indicates that “Microsoft CRM [Online] runs $ 44-59 per user per month, compared to $ 125 for Salesforce” Professional
Edition.

Entry price for Salesforce is cheaper but if you want more functionality you obviously have to pay more. With Microsoft CRM you have access to the complete system from the moment you first purchase. Your purchase decision should never be based on solely on price as its only one component in the decision making process.

Those that buy first time around on price usually call back 6-24 months later asking for help. From personal experience decision makers who purchase solely on price first time around re-purchase the second time around on service. To compare in-house versus hosted pricing you need to calculate over a 3-5 year period and not just 1 year.

Ownership of Data:

Salesforce, as a software-as-a-service provider, does not own the data collected by its customers. Instead, its data centres are outsourced to Equinix, a third party company in the USA and Singapore. With Microsoft CRM for in-house, and partner hosted options, customers have full control over the security and physical location of their data. You can swap and take your data between these options.

Microsoft CRM Online hosted by Microsoft will be released in Australia late 2010 and the data will be hosted in Singapore. Again, you will have the ability to move from hosted to in-house but the online model will have some restrictions around customisation code. In order for Salesforce customers to get development platform capabilities they must buy the unlimited version.

Ease of Use

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is designed for easy user adoption because of its similarity and compatibility with Microsoft Office and Outlook. Simply put, it is designed to minimize the need for training, reduce application switching, and produce high productivity. With the launch of Microsoft CRM 5 or 2011 its release name), Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 the GUI (interface) between the three product suites becomes very similar in look and feel. This provides users with an easy to learn experience and greater chance of user uptake.

Salesforce graphical interface is modern and should be easy to use for most users. The integration to Microsoft Outlook and Office is reported as not as strong as Dynamics CRM especially for MS Excel and Outlook.
Those using Google Mail will find Salesforce to their liking.

Both Salesforce and Dynamics CRM have similar modules including sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, document management, contract management, product catalogue management and reports. Although each module for each product has its strengths and weaknesses side by side you need to evaluate each application module against your business requirements (and not user likeability).

Often an organisation short lists three CRM applications to be presented to its users. Evaluation should not be based heavily (if at all) on the users liking the look and feel of the graphical interface. The users of an organisation tend to agree on one CRM application as by nature we feel most comfortable with what we already know. If you ask a salesperson who has been using a paper diary for 30 years, what is better? A paper based or CRM system the answer is always paper! Over the years I have witnessed three different systems put in front of users at different organisations and there is never a clear winner for the CRM application chosen.

At present, Salesforce has a lot of easy to use business add-on products for its core offerings built on its force.com platform. Microsoft has a host of ISV Partners who have built add-on products to Microsoft CRM but it’s not as easy to find these add-on’s spread out across the globe on various websites. Microsoft has just launched PinPoint that allows you to search globally for Partner software solutions. Also, Microsoft CRM Dynamics Online does not provide the same access to write custom code in a sandbox because Microsoft did not want outside code in its own application, but with Microsoft Azure, ISVs can execute their own code.

Access to CRM and Email

Microsoft CRM is available either through a web browser, through a mobile device or through a plug-in to MS Outlook. Salesforce integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, or Google App’s. Salesforce will run on a mobile device, through a web browser and if you want some level of Email (Outlook, Lotus Notes, or Google App’s) integration, however you will still need to download and install a Salesforce connector.

Scope and Support

According to Wikipedia, Salesforce offers support for 16 languages, while Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers support for 25. Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s ecosystem includes 750,000 solutions partners; 2,200 users groups, and 400 community web sites globally. Standard support included in Salesforce’s subscription fee allows for a 2 business day response time. With Microsoft, support is dependent on the licensing module used to purchase the software and the support offered by a Microsoft CRM Partner. You can choose from ad-hoc through to dedicated support.

The Future and Investments

It has been reported in online publication The Inquirer that Microsoft will spend US$ 9.5 billion dollars in 2010 on research and development making it the largest R&D technology spender in the world.

In 2008, Salesforce spent $ 63.8 million, or 8% of its revenue, on research and development, much of which went towards expanding the Salesforce’s cloud computing abilities. In addition, 91% of salesforce’s revenue comes from subscription and support fees from their cloud computing services.

The CEO of Zoho, Sridhar Vembu first made this good point in April 2008 by noting the disparities in R&D and sales & marketing spending by Salesforce. Using the financial data from the last 12 months, Salesforce’s sales and marketing spending of $ 605 million was almost 5 times its R&D spending of $ 131 million. It has been reported in businessinsider.com that Google, R&D spending of $ 2.8 billion was almost 1.5 times that of its S&M expense of $ 2 billion.

There is no doubt Salesforce is a leader in the SaaS market. The question will be whether the heavy weights including Microsoft (with Azure and BPOS) and Google with its GoogleApps MarketPlace will be able to stay in the game as the heavy weights begin gaining heavy market share in the cloud.

SaaS versus In-House

A note on SaaS versus In-House deployment. “In 2009, within enterprise applications, SaaS represented 3.4 per cent of total enterprise spending, slightly up from 2008 at 2.8 per cent,” said David Cearley, vice president of Gartner. This market will reach $ 8.8 billion in 2010, according to the company’s forecasts.

From a market perspective, most of the spending for SaaS is occurring in the content, collaboration communication, and customer relationship management markets. Collectively, they represented 65 per cent of the global enterprise applications software market in 2009. Many of the bad practices that occurred in the on premises world are now moving their way into SaaS.

The biggest example is shelfware. “Shelfware-as-a-service is the concept of paying for a software subscription that is not being accessed by an end user,” said Cearley. “This most commonly occurs in large organisations, but it could happen to any company, especially those that have downsized their workforce, or one that has oversubscribed to trigger a volume discount.” “SaaS may not have delivered on its early grand promises — of the current SaaS deployments we estimate that a total of 90 per cent of SaaS deployments are not pay-per use — but it has reenergised the software market and added choice,” Cearley said.

First Steps in Choosing Your CRM Solution

Your first step in determining which solution is right for your company is to document your CRM requirements. Secondly, research to see what CRM applications are going to meet your requirements. Third, bring in a CRM consultancy firm and/or CRM Vendor to discuss your requirements and demonstrate their knowledge and application to you. Whether you go hosted or in-house should always come after you’ve gone through the above steps.

Antony Dutton is Managing Director of Aaromba, CRM software & service management software specialists. Aaromba designs solutions to improve sales and marketing using Microsoft CRM Software, web based CRM software and Goldmine CRM.

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CRMWebX – your partner to CRM Dynamics Solutions

CRMWebX – your partner to CRM Dynamics Solutions

Are you looking to get your business back on track? If yes, then CRM Dynamics solutions can be just the thing you have been looking for. As businesses have started to evolve at such a rapid rate, it becomes imperative to stay updated with the latest changes in technology and employ them for your business as well. And, CRM is something that can completely transform the way businesses work by giving them a more streamlined work flow, and easing the pressure off the employees.

When it comes to CRM solutions, CRMWebX is one name that stands atop all. Being one of the leading names in the field, these experts have helped businesses of all shapes and sizes transform in better units with the help of their customer relationship based solutions. With a team of professionals who are ardent and adept at what they do, these professionals have managed to carve a niche of their own.

Not just CRM Solutions, but they also offer a comprehensive range of IT services that can help business expand their grip in the field. Whether you talk about Web Development and Designing, Search Engine Optimization or Data Integration, these experts have been doing it all for their clients.

State of the art methodology, a team of experts who are well versed with the latest advancements in the field and a commitment to give nothing else but the best is what makes them stand out the crowd. Add to that the long list of clients for whom they have successfully managed to deliver great results, and you can get to know all about their expertise.

If you talk about CRM Dynamics, then these experts can handle everything for the business. From CRM implementation and Development based on your business needs to its integration to the working space so as to make the employees understand how it works, these professionals can do it all, without too much of hassle.

Get in touch with these experts, and you will get to know everything that your business had been missing out on, in terms of technology. With CRMWebX, you can give your business workflow, the wings that can take it to higher levels of success, and provide the ease of working to your staff that they have been always looking for.

All in all, take your business back on the track of success. So, what’s the wait?

Duane Gore is a seasoned CRM Dynamics expert, working currently with CRM Web X.
Take your business to the top tier with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Take your business to the top tier with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

When we talk about the modern day business, CRM has emerged as one of the most important things. And, Microsoft Dynamics CRM comes across as one such software that has helped business evolved into far better and way more productive units then they were in the past. Here is a sneak peek at what this software brings for businesses of all shapes and sizes –

* Rise in Sales – by giving the business a full control of inventory it brings an easy option to enhance the sales of your organization. Gone are the days when you had to spend hours in managing the inventory of products. With this CRM you can be sure to get an improved managed of sales, simplified workflow and a rapid decision making process to make sure that your business stays on top always. So, if you have been looking for a faster and reliable way to improve business performance, then Microsoft Dynamics CRM is just the thing that you have been looking for.

* Improved Marketing – not just boost in sales, but the software can come in handy while marketing as well. With features that allow you to manage data in a better manner, take care of market segmentation in a few clicks as well as management of leads, the tool can come to the rescue for all your marketing needs. Not just that, it can help you with event holdings to manage the marketing in a far better manner than you used to. All in all, a complete solution for all your marketing needs.

* Better Customer Care – last, but definitely not the least, thing that makes this CRM software so good is the fact that it allows you to handle the customers in a better manner. From contact management to customer service insights, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has all the features that you can think of. This is the reason that it has emerged as one of the most popular tools that business have looked for improving their in the past couple of years. So, if you are looking for giving your customers a better feeling, then this CRM is must for your business.

Is there anything left to say?

So, if you have been looking for something that can take your business to the next level, then investing in this CRM is something that you must give a serious thought about rather than running everywhere for new strategies.

Duane is a business management expert, working with CRM Web X, a popular name when it comes to implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM for businesses.

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