New Interview with Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager Brad Wilson: Three Themes

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a tremendous step forward in CRM software. While remaining true to the qualities that make Dynamics CRM a great application, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 was created with three particular themes in mind that will take Dynamics CRM into the future. In an interview with General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Brad Wilson expands on these themes.

 

Brad Wilson, GM of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Management Group, discusses Dynamics CRM 2011 with Don Fornes, CEO of Software Advice.

The first theme is familiarity. While Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 boasts many new features, it maintains continuity with CRM 4.0. When upgrading to CRM 2011, the user will retain a natural and intuitive CRM experience. Familiar Microsoft tools like Outlook work in harmony with CRM 2011, minimizing the need to move between windows in order to accomplish tasks. Giving people the personalized role-based experience inside of Outlook, a web browser, and a mobile device is core to how Microsoft delivers familiar experiences.

The second theme is Intelligence. Real-time dashboards and inline visualizations received much attention in the development of CRM 2011. The result is a dynamic, business-intelligence-focused environment that provides users with key data in an intuitive manner. Dashboards in other business intelligence applications can be static, providing a limited set of data. CRM 2011 dashboards are fully drillable, allowing users to navigate through layers of information such as lists, campaigns, and service cases.

The third and final theme driving the development of CRM 2011 is connectivity. CRM 2011 connects with other Microsoft technologies such as Lync, SharePoint, Exchange, and Office seamlessly. This helps simplify user interaction with technology, increasing user adoption and user productivity.

More than a catalog of new features, CRM 2011 was designed simultaneously to enhance and to simplify the user experience while giving users better business intelligence. The key themes expanded on by Brad Wilson allow CRM 2011 to create a familiar, natural experience within the Microsoft ecosystem. By connecting with other tools businesses use on a daily basis, CRM 2011 fits well into a wide range of business solutions. As a Certified Microsoft Partner, xRM can help your company implement and leverage your Dynamics CRM solution.

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An Abundance of Third-Party IT in the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace

Coinciding with the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft has created the Dynamics Marketplace so partners, like xRM, and users can post custom CRM applications and solutions to benefit the Dynamics community. Microsoft Partners create an ample number of solutions for Microsoft Dynamics products, which are designed to help users fully leverage the software. The Dynamics Marketplace helps users find a solution best suited to their needs. Created primarily to compliment Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (though it contains content for Dynamics ERP as well), the Dynamics Marketplace is mutually beneficial for partners and customers. Partners can post their written solutions and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 customizations while customers can browse the catalog for industry-specific applications or compatible Microsoft partners.

The main purpose of the Dynamics Marketplace is to connect Dynamics CRM customers with a Microsoft Partner that can help them with a business solution; the marketplace does this through a traditional catalog environment. This catalog empowers customers, giving them the freedom to choose a specific application through a series of filters and suggestions. Code for these applications will be hosted in the marketplace and customers can download them as a trial or as a production system. If customers’ needs extend beyond a single application, the marketplace allows them to find partners that can be hired to host and manage their CRM solutions.

The Dynamics Marketplace fosters mutually beneficial relationships now that partners can attract customers who are seeking out a service provider based on select criteria. The marketplace allows partner “X” to attract business from customers seeking out services, who have not yet heard of partner “X”. The Dynamics Marketplace is the forum that brings the two together. At the time of this writing, partners can post links in the marketplace that lead customers directly to their sites, where they can handle transactions. Eventually, the Dynamics Marketplace will be able to handle transactions between the partner and customer on the site, streamlining the experience for both parties.

Dynamics Marketplace
Get to the Marketplace from CRM 2011 by clicking
Resource Center, Highlights, and Marketplace.

The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace is an environment that helps customers maximize their business’ potential, and allows partners to highlight their specialties. Accessible from both inside and outside of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, the Dynamics Marketplace is not only the discovery of third-party IT, but also the effective utilization of IT. The Dynamics Marketplace delivers partner value in a frictionless way. As a Microsoft Certified Partner, xRM will be contributing effective and helpful solutions to the Dynamics Marketplace.

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Should You Switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Too?

You might be considering your CRM options right about now. If your company has a demand for automated workflows across sales, service, and marketing; a desire to cut expenses without sacrificing quality; or the need for greater flexibility, Microsoft Dynamics CRM could be the answer. Numerous companies are making the switch from CRM providers like Salesforce.com or Oracle, to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and they are seeing positive results.

Century Payments switched. Century Payments Inc. has reported great savings since making the switch from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 2009. Recently ranked 11th on the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Companies list, Century Payments announced that as of March 2011 it has saved over $300,000 thanks to MSCRM. Scott Harlow, vice president of information technologies and security at Century Payments said, “…We alleviated significant costs by leveraging existing resources to rapidly design and develop our new core platform.” Thanks to a rise in end-user adoption, and overall productivity, Century Payments now has a solid foundation that will scale and adapt accordingly as they continue to expand.

Smead switched. Smead, a solutions provider for document management, announced in November 2010, that one month after making the change from Salesforce.com to Dynamics CRM Online they recorded a 75 percent reduction in annual subscription costs. Smead also noted an increase in user adoption by 20 percent, improved collaboration among employees, and a higher level of business intelligence to its managers. Daniel Hart, Smead systems development manager said, “In addition to offering a seamless experience across our systems, features such as customizable dashboards give our managers insight into accounts, sales, and opportunities, which helps them make more informed  decisions.”

Microsoft is offering incentives to make the switch more attractive. Customers that switch by June 30, 2011, receive $200 cash per user to switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (minimum 15 seats, maximum 250 seats). Companies can use the cash for any purpose, but xRM suggests that the cash would be well spent on deployment services from xRM such as data migration, training, and customizations, making switching a smoother and more effective process.

Microsoft sets Dynamics CRM Online apart from its competitors through seamless integration with other Microsoft software, such as Microsoft Office. By leveraging other Microsoft products like Windows Azure, Microsoft SharePoint, and the new Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, customers receive more than just CRM software, they receive a holistic business solution to fill their technical needs. Unlike Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has the ability to serve as a cog in a greater machine.

Your business needs every edge it can get to gain a leg up on the competition. When comparing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online vs. Salesforce.com, there are a dozen reasons to choose the former. A familiar interface for end users who have worked with Microsoft products increases user adoption rates. Real-time dashboards and in-line business intelligence foster better decision making. By making the switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, your business will be in the company of a plethora of others who cut user costs by 50% and reached 100% user adoption. Take advantage of the rebate, and xRM can deliver a smooth transition, and a highly efficient solution. Give your business the chance to thrive by switching to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

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xrm.com and Streamline Solutions to Attend NAB Show on April 18-23 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Once a year, leading professionals and solutions providers from all over the globe converge at the NAB Show to learn about the latest in content delivery across multiple platforms—from televisions to film, radios and computers to phones, and much more. The NAB show is the place to be for information, next generation technologies and connections which power the entertainment industry.

 Streamline Solutions and xrm.com will be showcasing a Microsoft CRM solution.  Highlights will include rapid development platform capabilities, digital rights management and intelligence resource management.  Make sure to visit us at the Microsoft Pavilion!   To register for this event yourself, click here

 

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