Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft has made CRM software usable and easy to adopt. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a flexible CRM solution that works the way you work, adapting to each business culture with its unique way of responding to customers.

  • MS SharePoint 2013 :

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 gives organisations the ability to work together like never before and optimise how people interact around content. Organisations that collaborate are more effective and SharePoint is the perfect platform for this.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Past Present & Future

  • Dynamics CRM in the Past :

When Microsoft released Dynamics CRM 4.0 in 2008, it was a product with very basic functions in the area of Sales, Services and Marketing. It was considered as a Tool for SME to capture their client data. It did not have features that SAP-CRM would provide such as direct connection to Sales and Ordering Systems, extensive Billing information.

  • CRM Present :

Dynamics CRM 2011 became a popular product and 2013 release made many enhancements to the online cloud (SaaS) offers. It was possible to integrate all CRM operations online with office 365, which also included SharePoint, as an option. However, plugin assemblies and workflow assemblies were still required for larger complex organisations. Business processes were introduced but did not have options of decision making and was rather a flat process flow to encapsulate workflows with a process name.

A. Enhanced Customisation

Dynamics CRM 2015 has features that made it possible to be customised entirely by Business Analyst with very little intervention required from Developers. Process Customisation enhancements in 2015 are:

Business Process Flows:

Business Process Flows have been vastly improved to include decisions structures along with branching within them to the extent that a Business Analyst can literally translate a Visio Business Process Diagram into one-one Business Process Flow in the Dynamics CRM. As a result, all business logic implementation by workflows/dialogs can be encapsulated within these high level processes.

Entity Business Rules:

Server side implementation of Business Rules is possible now, using Business Rules editor, and therefore there is no need to write plug-in assembles in Visual Studio to achieve this. It is possible to move the commonly used scenarios from plugins and code them directly as a an Entity-Level Business Rule. In short, it is possible to customise Dynamics CRM within Dynamics CRM, without having to write it first in Visual Studio and then deploy to Dynamics CRM.

In 2015 Dynamics CRM, Field Level calculation is possible that enables us to calculate at the field level without writing a workflow for them.

Calculated Fields:
Instead of writing an automated workflow, it is possible do field level calculations such as:
  • Weighted revenue of an opportunity
  • Automatically apply a discount, if an order is greater than a certain amount
It is now possible to calculate aggregates at a record level from child records for a given entity. For instance, Business Analyst can define Rolled up Fields to provide information such as:
  • Total number of high priority active cases related to the account
  • Total revenue for the open opportunities related to the account

B. Enhanced Sales & Marketing

Product Taxonomy

The product catalogue (with pricing information) in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 also supports product taxonomy that lets sales managers:

  • Hierarchically organize products and product bundles into product families
  • Group products and services into bundles to create attractive packages for customers
  • Define product relationships such as upsell and cross-sell products so sales team can see these products as recommendations at the time of building orders

Account Hierarchies:

This new feature enables us to create drill down the hierarchical view of accounts that can be used to:

  • See how an account is doing in overall revenue
  • Drill into tiles for sub-accounts to see where the deals are coming from
  • View important details about each sub-account, such as credit limit, who is working on the sub-account and latest activity posts for the account

Social Listening of Key Accounts:

Microsoft Social Listening is a tool that can be configured to analyse visually what Key Accounts Customers are saying about the a Topic such as organisation, product, and competitor in Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, News and Videos. It shows Trends & Buzz from various social media channels that can be compared as well to see where majority of posts are coming from. This service also culls out social media trend in multiple languages.

Marketing Calendar

In 2015 Dynamics CRM, we can create Marketing Calendar of Campaigns. Campaigns are usually displayed as Lists or records, which makes it difficult for marketers to compare visually all campaigns on a time line of weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly fashion. It is possible to drill down to individual campaigns and inspect its activities including social marketing messages, A/B tests, etc. from the marketing calendar view. Marketing Calendar, thus facilitates Integrated Marketing Communications and Marketing Planning.

  • Dynamics CRM the Future :

As Dynamics CRM would grow into a more powerful tool in the future, following features may become crucial for Organisation’s ability to extend CRM

Power BI- Power Pivots:

Although it is presented as a site in Share Point, but in reality it is a powerful BI Engine in itself. In combination with Power Pivots, it is now possible to download entire data (all the relevant related Tables from the SQL Server) and build an entirely new Data Model that can be then uploaded to PowerBI for an interactive drill-down report format, without affecting the original data. In other words, in the past to do a BI analysis, the requirement was to store data in Dimensions and Measures in Data warehouse and then create a multidimensional cube to perform such drill down operations, which involved a considerable experienced BI developer’s time, now can be performed by a Data Analyst or Business Analyst with deeper insight in data models, on the fly.

Cloud Offers:

Tighter Integration with Dynamics ERP suite is expected to happen, enabling Enterprise-wide interoperable Business Processes with implementation of Business Logic (Workflows) with a unified capex model of paying for technology for all Microsoft Dynamics products CRM, NAV/AX on public cloud.

CRM Portal embedding in external websites:

As Dynamics CRM would start to be used in multi user scenarios, it would be often required that an external party such as a web-site be able to enter data into the CRM DB, for instance an site contact us form directly enters Leads into CRM Database. It is expected in the coming years that Microsoft would expose the xrm as service object to sites and Windows Programs with enhanced API calls.