What is Microsoft Dynamics CRM ?

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects.

It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support and many other things

Why do we use CRM?
The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients; nurture and retain those clients the company already has; and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.

What is Microsoft Dynamics?
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of CRM and ERP software applications developed by Microsoft.

This product focuses mainly on Sales, Marketing, and Service (help desk) sectors, but Microsoft has been marketing Dynamics CRM as an XRM (‘Extended Relationship Management’) platform and has been encouraging partners to use its.NET based framework to customize it to meet many different demands.

Client – Server and IIS
Dynamics CRM is a client-server application, which, like Microsoft SharePoint, is primarily an IIS-based web application which also supports extensive web services interfaces.

How do we access Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
Clients access Dynamics CRM either by using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later web browser or by a thick client plug-in to Microsoft Outlook. While other browsers can be used to access Dynamics, results can be mixed and are not supported by Microsoft.

Dynamics CRM version 4.0 adds a number of new features, including support for duplicate data detection and other enhancements. Perhaps most importantly, CRM 4.0 provides true multi-tenancy, which will allow the creation of multiple organizations on a single server.

CRM 4.0 was released with the following improvements:

  1. More powerful and easier to configure Reporting and BI (now based on SSRS instead of Crystal)
  2. More powerful data import tools, de-duplication capability now included
  3. Enhanced entity relationships – many to many, self-referential
  4. Improved programmability – enhanced Web Services, unified event model, plug-ins to replace callouts
  5. Light enquiry user license now available – potentially reducing the costs associated with rolling out across larger organizations
  6. Multi Tenancy – One server can host more than one business organization
  7. Multi Currency
  8. Multi Lingual
  9. Microsoft Office Communicator / Windows Live Messenger presence integration support
  10. Cloud Computing with Microsoft Online Services

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Modules
Microsoft CRM is divided into three main sections.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales provides users with the tools to successfully manage every stage of the sales process.

  • Manage contacts and accounts
  • Improve time management
  • Promote leads to opportunities
  • Manage sales pipelines

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Automation facilitates every aspect of campaign management and mass communications. Microsoft CRM supports everything from the initial planning stages through to measurement of success.

  • Generate and send communications
  • Manage workflow
  • Create targeted lists
  • Manage and track costs

Microsoft Dynamics Customer Service module acts as a central repository for all client information and enquiries. Microsoft CRM enables customer service representatives to provide a more consistent service supporting customer retention.

  • View history relating to a particular issue
  • Generate and log cases
  • Use information within the knowledge base to answer frequently asked questions
  • Assign cases to individuals or teams

CRM as a tool for communication

  • Scheduling calls and appointment – Using outlook
  • Faxing – built into Microsoft CMR Small Business Edition.
  • Emailing _ again uses Outlook for this
  • Printing – uses Microsoft Office

CRM with Accounting

With Microsoft Dynamics we can share customer, products, invoice and billing information.

Reasons of using CRM with Accounting

Case 1: No sales manager would want his team spending their time trying to close another deal with an existing customer when that customer hasn’t paid for the previous six orders stretching over the last eight months.

Case 2: Say a credit manager calls an existing client in an effort to collect a past-due payment, it may be important for the manager to understand that the sales department is on the verge of closing a megadeal with the very same client.

Workflow rules in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Using workflow rules one can automate many routine function of an organization, such as following up with standard letter after an appointment or alerting members of your team to account-related deadlines etc…

Following are the several basic principles

  1. Assigning Task: Each task should have one (at least) primary person assigned to it.
  2. Feedback: Every step of every task should be confirmed. E.g.: Amazon.com feedback request after every purchase and delivery.
  3. Escalation: Assigning Task itself is not sufficient. Give each team member a reasonable amount of time to accomplish a task. If the task isn’t completed, make sure that the next person in the organization chart is notified. Continue escalating and notifying until something is done about the situation.
  4. 4.      Reporting and Measuring:

These are few workflow rules, using these rules you can program the business process you design. Workflow rules can access any of the data files in the Microsoft CRM and create activities for your user or send out correspondence through a fax or email. These rules can be used to notify you of overdue activities and can escalate important issues.

Microsoft CRM Server Editions

  1. Workgroup – This is intended for the smaller organization, you get five user licenses and that’s it. You can’t expand beyond five.
  2. Professional – Here you are limited only by the number of user licenses, you can purchase and always buy more as you grow. Like Workgroup, here too you can install only one copy of the software on one server, but it does have more power and flexibility when compared to the Workgroup edition.
  3. Enterprise – support for multi-currency, multi-language. You can have more than one copy of software on this server.

Hosting options

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is available on-premise and as an on-demand service (also known as Software as a Service) to provide users with choice of deployment methods to suit individual needs and budgets:

Microsoft CRM On-premise

Microsoft CRM can be installed directly into your IT environment, regardless of the size of your company.

Microsoft CRM Software as a Service or Live

Live actually means hosted or sometimes also referred to as SaaS (software as a service), here you don’t buy it, you rent it. This option is beneficial to those who do not have the facility to host Microsoft CRM on site. With Microsoft CRM Live, you don’t own the software; instead you temporarily own the right to use the software on someone else’s server, either a third party hosting company’s server or Microsoft itself.