Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Crests Forrester’s List of Top CRM Suites

Forrester published a new review of leading CRM vendors. Here are the highlights mixed in with our interpretation of the results.

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    Research giant Forrester just published a new review of leading CRM applications, The Forrester Wave™: CRM Suites. It’s a detailed, 31-point comparison of nine providers Forrester says “matter most,” and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM lands at the top (with some company). Here are the highlights of the study mixed in with a bit of our interpretation of the results.

    Meet the Contenders

    Forrester identified nine CRM suite providers for inclusion in the list: Creatio, Freshworks, Microsoft, Oracle, Pegasystems, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM, and Zoho. These contenders were selected because each:

    1. Offers a suite of applications, including functionality in at least four of several named categories (e.g., sales, marketing customer service, field service)
    2. Has suites that are “integrated” or “unified” with cohesion and consistency between the functional areas
    3. Offers a solution suitable for enterprise-level organizations
    4. Targets multiple industries and both B2C and B2B
    5. Has customer references of at least $250 million in revenue
    6. Has a “significant market presence”

    How they were evaluated

    Vendors were evaluated on a 31-category scorecard that looked at the strength of the current offering, the vendors’ strategies, and their market presence.

    How things shook out

    Forrester categorized each of the nine CRM vendors as Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, or Challengers. Only three CRM vendors earned the Leader designation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, Salesforce, and Oracle.

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    On Forrester’s five-point scale, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM earned the highest rating in 20 of the 31 categories, including sales automation, customer service, business intelligence (BI), and innovation roadmap. For comparison, Salesforce earned five points in 19 categories, Oracle in ten.

    Where Microsoft shines

    The Forrester Wave survey has plenty to say about Microsoft and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, but perhaps the most significant are what Forrester refers to as the solution’s focus on delivering good data backed by the tools to interpret that data. The author noted that Microsoft incorporates BI and artificial intelligence (AI) to help users uncover the most salient data points and use the data — in the context of their roles — to make better decisions and take informed action.

    For example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM has a range of interactive dashboards that provide users with real-time streams of the data they care about. AI-enabled next-best-actions inform automated workflows, and Microsoft provides additional tools to create custom AI models. There’s also Power BI, which offers advanced analysis and visualizations.

    The road ahead

    While current capabilities certainly matter, there is much to learn by studying a CRM vendor’s future product roadmap. Forrester identified three themes that dominate Microsoft’s roadmap — a path, they say, that is “paving the way for digital transformation,” and includes:

    1. Embedding insights and automation in business processes
    2. AI-fueled next-best actions
    3. Integrating collaboration and business data and placing it right in front of users (for example, in Teams, Outlook, or the CRM).

    Forrester goes on to say that Microsoft’s strong vision, robust offering, and partner ecosystem are largely responsible for its 40% year-over-year growth.

    Our interpretation of the results

    There are two things surrounding Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM that stand out to us across this comparison — consistency and innovation.

    At first these two attributes might seem at odds — how can you be innovative if you’re maintaining consistency? Innovation matters because you want to ensure your vendor is continually improving the product, taking advantage of new technology and incorporating new customer-driven features. Consistency is crucial because it allows users to minimize learning curves, easily pivot from task to task and across related applications while maximize their productivity and efficiency. Microsoft successfully marries these two elements in Dynamics 365 CRM — we’d argue better than anyone else.

    We can point to some of the categories where Microsoft excelled in this analysis to illustrate. On the innovation front, Microsoft led the product vision, innovation roadmap, and business intelligence categories. Pointing to consistency were the wins in collaboration, developer tooling consistency, and process management.

    Why does it even matter

    We all love comparisons and top-ten lists so it’s easy to say that this report is just another fluff piece to feed the egos of the included vendors. But we’d argue that unbiased analyses, like Forrester’s, help companies weed through some of the sales speak and focus on the attributes that matter to their organizations.

    We encourage you to read the comparison and begin to identify what’s important to you. Just because an application scored five points in a category doesn’t necessarily make it the best fit for you. Seeking out a product that combines powerful current capabilities with ongoing product investment gives you the best shot at selecting a CRM solution that will deliver long-term value.

    Final thoughts

    We love a little friendly competition and often publish our own comparisons of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and other industry vendors. While we may be a bit biased toward Microsoft here at Velosio, we firmly believe that continual market pressure from worthy competitors such as Salesforce and Oracle keep Microsoft on its toes and consistently innovating. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

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