As a Microsoft shop, we’re often asked by prospective clients why they should consider Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE (short for Customer Engagement, and formerly CRM) over other leading competitors. There used to be a saying, “Nobody gets fired for choosing IBM” — a reference to the company’s early domination of the server market and reputation for over-delivering making it a safe bet. Fast forward 30 years, we could substitute “Microsoft” for “IBM” and the phrase holds true.
Now we’re not recommending that you choose a technology solution just to be safe, but when the safe solution also happens to be the best solution, it’s definitely worth your consideration. So, why choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE over the competition? Here are eight good reasons.
1. Popular platform lowers cost of ownership
Referring back to our IBM reference earlier, part of the ultimate demise of IBM’s influence lay in the fact that its technologies were proprietary and became increasingly obsolete as developers moved to open-source platforms. Case in point — it’s much easier to hire a C++ programmer than a COBOL programmer.
The advantage in choosing the Microsoft solution lies in the fact that support and customizations within Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE are likely to be less costly simply because there are more people familiar with the popular tools the solution leverages.
2. Native integration promotes efficiencies
One would be hard-pressed to find a company that’s not using at least a couple of Microsoft solutions. And companies that add Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE can capitalize on that reality, integrating Office, Excel, Teams, and Outlook with the CRM application to realize greater efficiencies and streamlined workflows.
The native integration allows each team in your organization to continue working in the applications that are familiar to them while benefitting from the free flow of information between solutions. For example, emails sent through Outlook are captured in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE. Sales Orders created in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are visible in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE. Users can export data from Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE to Excel, make changes and easily transfer the data back into Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE.
3. Make Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE your own
We think the real value in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE lies in its ability to morph to meet the needs of the customer, rather than requiring a customer to alter their business processes to fit the software.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE is built as an xRM platform, meaning it can easily be customized to meet specific business needs. And because xRM is an open platform, it’s not just for Microsoft developers (back to that popular versus proprietary advantage). Many customizations, such as adding and removing fields, require no code changes, putting the power squarely in the hands of confident users. For more complex customizations, the Microsoft Power Platform allows low code, no code customization options for workflows, integrated applications, power virtual agents, and more.
4. Smart thinking
Plenty of CRM applications have begun promoting their Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities lately, but Microsoft was a pioneer in this area. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE has incorporated AI capabilities for years. Here are just a few of the ways the application powers smart thinking:
- AI for Customer Service: AI-driven technology empowers informed decision making about improving resolution rates, reducing wait times, and decreasing customer service costs. Companies can use case resolution insights, backlog trends, and historical comparisons to evaluate agent performance and business impact, and address inefficiencies in their system.
- AI for Sales: Predictive lead scoring and predictive opportunity scoring helps salespeople prioritize the right relationships, achieve higher lead qualification rates, and reduce the time it takes to qualify leads or close opportunities.
- AI for Customer Insights: Unify data from multiple sources (think spreadsheets, Business Central, etc.) to gain a 365-degree view of customer activity.
- AI for Market Insights: Helps organizations understand and interpret what customers say, do, and feel about their brand and products by synthesizing activity and data from proprietary search and browse signals and public social signals.
5. Realistic and transparent licensing fees
Ever shop for a new car? You see an affordable base price and think, “Yes – I can do this.” But then you work your way through all the options (can they really still charge for power windows?) and the price jumps by fifty percent. And did you notice that they always put that one feature you really need in the next tier package?
Some CRM vendors play this same game, advertising a low price, but the low-cost option doesn’t include any advanced features. In order to get the robust functionality you need, you need to pay for a more expensive plan. And to get the necessary reporting and data analysis tools, you’ll have to spring for the highest tier option. We’re also hearing from customers switching from other leading CRM applications to Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE that the vendor bumps up the licensing fees significantly after a year or two of use. In contrast, Microsoft is transparent about fees and functionality for CE. So, you’ll know up front what you’ll pay and what you’ll get.
6. When it’s gotta work — an SLA guarantee
Downtime is costly, and CRM downtime can be especially expensive in that it stands in the way of the exceptional service you wish to provide your clients. Microsoft’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) guarantees a 99.9% uptime rate for Azure where Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE is hosted.
Go ahead and ask the competitors about their uptime guarantees — many (including the big ones) don’t offer one.
7. Reporting capabilities
When we ask our customers what functions they use most — in any type of software — reports and queries are always on the list. In fact, one could make the argument that the main reason we use software is so we can report on the data it collects. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE takes this reality to heart and delivers robust reporting capabilities unequaled among its competitors.
In addition to the dozens of available standard reports and the infinite number of customized reports you can build, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE leverages Power BI to take CRM reporting to a whole new level. Gartner and Forrester both recognized Power BI as a leader in the Business Intelligence space, and for good reason. Coupling Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE with Power BI creates the ultimate power couple. Watch out Salesforce.
8. Partnership speeds ROI
Some companies decide to implement a CRM application on their own. We know because we’ve re-implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE for many of them. Just because is cloud-based and intuitive to use does not mean that you won’t benefit from a professional implementation.
The good news is, there is an enormous, global Microsoft partner network. Wherever you are, whatever industry you’re in, and whatever size your organization is now, and however you expect to grow, there’s a Microsoft partner ready to provide the personalized support, services, and strategic guidance that will speed your CRM return on investment.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE has a definitive edge over competing CRM applications. If you’re looking to invest in a CRM solution for the long-term, one that’s built on world-class, industry-leading technology and delivers the integration capabilities, robust feature set, fair pricing, and analytics that drive efficiency and performance, look no further than CE. As a Gold Microsoft partner, Velosio works with companies across industries, helping them implement customer experience solutions that differentiate your organization, create value and add to the bottom line. Reach out to learn more.