Customizing and Integrating

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1 Customizing and Integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM The Essential Guide 1

2 INTRODUCTION What s in this Guide Ease of Use and System Design: How easy is the system to use for your company s users? What are the best features of this system, how do they work and what can they do for your team? The Data Model: How are Dynamics CRM s objects setup? How will data flow between those objects? Customization: Mainly we will look at custom fields and custom objects in Dynamics CRM, as well as layouts. Everyone needs the almighty lead object, but after you ve successfully implemented the standard objects, what else can you create to represent your business? Integration and APIs: How easy are Dynamics CRM s APIs to use? Are there available integrations for the system and will it be easy to incorporate existing product and business data into the system? Automation: Automation refers specifically to lead assignment and workflow rules. We ll review these capabilities in Dynamics and focus on ease of use of these features. Pricing and Scalability: We ll review the pricing and editions that Dynamics CRM offers, including the flexibility you get and the pros and cons of certain editions. Mobile: Short review of available mobile applications that exist, developed by the company themselves or by a third party. Focused on ios and Android apps only. Overall: Bottom line: how good of a system is this for your business. 2

3 INTRODUCTION Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft s foray into the CRM space started back in 2003 with release 1.0 and has iterated from there to the excellent cloud system that we see today with their latest release: version Dynamics CRM uses a traditional CRM data model, where leads are created first in the system, then assigned, qualified and converted into contacts, which are associated with accounts and opportunities. One question that will arise quickly as you consider Dynamics CRM, is how you host the platform. You have two options for this: the cloud version, which will require you to use Microsoft 365 users for authentication, or you can host it on premise on your own servers. Benefits of the self-hosted ( on-premise ) option include increased security for your data. It should be noted that cloud platforms like Dynamics and other CRMs are becoming increasingly secure these days, and unless you re storing credit card or other secure data about your customers, there s little to worry about. Microsoft is doing their best to push more and more customers into the cloud offering though, so if you re considering hosting the CRM on-premise, it may make sense to have a conversation with your Microsoft 3

4 EASE OF USE AND SYSTEM DESIGN Ease of Use and System Design Windows 8 on Surface Tablet Windows Phone 8 Dynamics 2013 has adopted the new Microsoft design pattern that we first saw with Windows 8 and their Surface tablet. I m not really a fan of the pure aesthetic of the boxes design, but it does make things easy to find and navigate to. The settings and administration areas of the system still have the 2011 look and feel, but I imagine that a new UI is in the works for that piece as well. I ll give it to you straight: Dynamics CRM is increasingly easy to use and navigate. We gave it high marks for its usability, especially from the perspective of a sales rep. A couple of drawbacks to the system in terms of ease of use are around creating custom/personal views and running advanced finds, which we felt were a little clunky (dropdowns with hundreds of fields, hard to manage and edit). Overall though, it s a pretty easy system to get around. 4

5 DYNAMICS CRM DATA MODEL The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data Model If we re talking sales, then records start as Leads in Dynamics CRM. Leads are people and are sales leads, typically generated by your marketing team. Once generated, Leads are assigned to sales reps, worked and qualified. If qualified, then the lead will be converted into a Contact and associated with an Account. Contacts are associated with Accounts, which are companies. Opportunities, which represent deals, or pieces of business are also associated with Accounts, and therefore have contacts linked to them as well. A closed/won deal is used to mark a customer. Other child entities such as Activities, Notes and Tasks can be added to parent objects and tracked over the lifetime of a record in the system. 5

6 CUSTOMIZATION Customization Fields Dynamics CRM gives you the capability to create custom fields in the system, as well as add them to layouts, which in Dynamics CRM are called forms. Objects Dynamics CRM uses standard data objects, which are called entities in Dynamics CRM: Leads, Contacts, Accounts and Opportunities, as well as Tasks, Activities and Preferences on each of these objects. You can also create custom entities in CRM, and create custom fields and forms for each of these entities as well. OTHER CUSTOMIZATIONS Web Resources This lets you define a custom webpage that you can display within Dynamics CRM on any entity. You can also execute JavaScript within a web resource, for you developers out there. 6

7 INTEGRATIONS AND API Integrations and APIs Dynamics CRM has a SOAP API that are somewhat difficult to use and seemingly haven t been updated in a seemingly long time. Part of the headache is API authentication which you must do against the APIs, depending on whether you re using cloud or hosted Dynamics CRM. Luckily, there is quite a few software platforms vout there that will easily integrate your Dynamics CRM data with your other business systems. Here are a few of those systems for you to consider: Bedrock Data All main objects integrated - From $99/month, self signup and administration. Scribe All main objects integrated - From $3,000, must use a re-seller for setup and administration. Boomi All main object integrated - From $2,000/month, self-signup, but SaaS admin knowledge recommended. Here s an example of Dynamics CRM integrated with marketing data 7

8 AUTOMATION Automation Workflows Dynamics CRM workflows are setup as processes, and they are quite similar to other workflow rules that you may have seen in other systems. Processes can have different types, including workflows, which have triggers and actions, as well as as Business Process Flows which let you define sales stages for a single entity or across multiple entities in the Dynamics CRM system. Lead Assignment Dynamics CRM lead assignment is actually handled through the processes module as well. One of the actions of a workflow is to assign a record to a user in Dynamics. Here s a screenshot of a Dynamics CRM workflow process that is assigning a lead to a user based on their geographic location: 8

9 PRICING Pricing and Scalability Another really nice thing about Dynamics CRM is the cost point that it provides, which is comparatively affordable, and simple: MICROSOFT DYNAMICS CRM Professional Edition $65 user / month MICROSOFT DYNAMICS CRM Enterprise Edition $125 user / month MICROSOFT DYNAMICS CRM Unlimited Edition $250 user / month As a comparison, this price point is essentially the same as Salesforce.com, but the benefit that you get from Dynamics is that you can get some nice automation features like workflows at the lower price point ($65/month). Salesforce requires you to be at the $125/ user/month price point before offering these features. Much of what Microsoft advertises on their feature comparison on their website, is around other Microsoft products, which are included and integrated with Dynamics CRM, including: Inside View - Which gives you data quality and lead intelligence features (like data.com). Yammer Order and Invoice Tracking Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn t make it very clear which features are available in their different versions, so you may want to talk to a sales rep about that. We re using the Professional edition of Dynamics and it has all of the automation and customization features that we were hoping for. You can check out the Dynamics CRM pricing comparison web app here. 9

10 DYNAMICS MOBILE APPS DynamicsCRM Mobile App The Dynamics CRM mobile apps (for Android and iphone) aren t awesome. You can cull through a list of the different object types (leads, accounts, opportunities, etc ), edit top level records, but that s about it. You can also create new records on top level entities (objects) like leads, cases and accounts, but you can t create new records on any of the child objects, such as tasks, appointments or notes. You also can t convert leads into contacts/accounts/opportunities through the mobile app, so really it s just viewing records, editing and creating them. Mobile is not a strength of Dynamics CRM, to say the least. APP STORES RATINGS IPHONE 1/5 STARS ANDROID 2.2/5 STARS We were also somewhat disappointed by the lack of some UI features in the mobile app, like the map integration that you get in the desktop app, as well as the ability to see a log of activity on a record through the mobile app. We tested the app on iphone only, as the Android app didn t support the latest Android version (!!!). Perhaps their Windows Mobile app is better, but good luck finding a sales team who is using that platform on their phones. 10

11 OVERALL Overall Takeaways Dynamics CRM, specifically the 2013 version, is an adequate, modern, easy to use CRM that can scale to a large team and not break the bank. Dynamics CRM s automation and customization features are some of the strongest parts of the system, and those features stand up well against main competitors such as Salesforce.com and SugarCRM. Cons include the mobile app and APIs, which are not awesome to work with. The mobile piece really must improve, as more of a sales rep s actions start to happen on mobile devices. We d rate Dynamics CRM highly overall and would recommend it for businesses of up to 100 sales reps. 11

12 In Conclusion Hopefully we ve provided you with helpful information that you can use to make educated decisions about implementing, customizing and integrating Dynamics CRM. Should you have any questions about anything that may not have been covered in this guide, feel free to contact us at any time. We will be more than happy to get you started. Easily Integrate Your Business Data You can use Bedrock to sync between your cloud business systems and keep a running backup of your critical business data TRY BEDROCK FOR FREE Or, Schedule a Demo Bedrock Data is a data management platform that allows businesses to synchronize and manage their data quickly and easily. Bedrock connect to a lot of different bussiness systems, including CRMs, ERPs, Marketing , Suppot, Finance and E-commerce systems. Connect with us to learn more, or just get started with an integration today Atlantic Ave. 3rd Floor Boston, MA

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