If you’re a business owners who wants organization and structure around their company, CRM software is likely a must. Short for customer relationship management, such software enables you to track client interactions and maintain healthy relationships without putting in a lot of extra effort. Tools like Microsoft Dynamics 365—which includes applications for both CRM and ERP solutions—help you keep important information, like data, metrics, notes, opportunities. etc., in one centralized place.
Having been around for almost two decades, Microsoft’s collection of Dynamics solutions ↗ is expansive. However, when you have so many good options, it’s easy to confuse all the different names and capabilities!
To make sense of it all, a brief review of the history of Dynamics and the differences and similarities across SKUs over time can help. Nevertheless, the point to remember is that despite the nomenclature, Dynamics 365 undoubtedly has the CRM capabilities your business (or your client’s business) is looking for.
But first, what’s CRM again?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps businesses target different audiences, maintain benchmarks individual projects and issue alerts based on customers’ activities, among many other functions. It helps businesses proactively communicate and deal with both existing customers and leads to ensure lasting relationships.
A part from relationship management and tracking, CRM tools are also useful for data collection and reporting. All businesses rely on information and metrics sourced from tools like Google Analytics, Marketo or Facebook (among countless others), and most of these platforms help enterprises monitor, control and improve traffic they get on their websites.
While tracking data from individual sources is undoubtedly helpful for any business, CRM is crucial when you want to bring those sources together to dig deeper for more valuable insights that can then be used to plan your growth strategies accordingly. But it’s not necessarily as simple as just lumping swaths of data together in one location. A lot of this information comes in data packets, and it’s not very useful for a business until it’s analyzed, filtered and sorted. CRM software helps with this as well, so businesses can make sense of and generate reports on the insights collected.
History of Microsoft Dynamics, Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365
Rather than thinking of Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 as disparate entities, consider them as evolutions of one group of solutions over time. Here’s a brief history:
- Microsoft CRM 1.2: Launched on Dec. 8, 2003, but did not receive much because you could not create customized entries from the data.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0: Released Dec. 5, 2005, it could be accessed through mobile devices and received reasonable reaction.
- Microsoft Dynamics 4.0: Also known as the Titan, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 was launched in December 2007. It was the first time a product passed the one million user mark after two years in 2009.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011: Released in February 2010, this Dynamics CRM version fully supported search engines like Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013: Launched July 28, 2013 July and went live for new signups online via the internet with Dynamics CRM Online.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015: Announced September 2014 along with some updates to Dynamics CRM Online. In 2015, the CRM Cloud service was also launched.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016: In November 2015, Microsoft announced the launch of CRM 2016 in 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2 versions. These included significant productivity enhancements.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365: Released November 2016, Microsoft introduced the successor for Dynamics CRM, which included the following applications: Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation and Dynamics 365 for Field Service
How Dynamics 365 helps with customer relationship management today
Now, Microsoft Dynamics 365 comprises a bundle of intelligent business tools that help manage complex operations without raising expenses. It also provides greater operational efficiency and customer experiences.
A critical aspect of Dynamics 365 is that it includes a lot of different variations and combinations that work well with any business’s customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning needs.
Listed below are a few examples of Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications.
Helps transform customer insights and prospect leads into revenue, individualizing sales and speeding up processes artificial intelligence.
Helps businesses reinvent and explore new ways to improve customer service by personalizing the customer experience and improving employee productivity.
Improve customer experiences and automate the shopping process using artificial intelligence capabilities.
Supply Chain Management
Maximize how well assets perform and avoid supply issues while satisfying digital commerce needs.
Build financial health and increase your agility in day-to-day business operations.
Improve your marketing strategy with better research and refine target audiences with all the data and information you store and report on.
Demystifying Dynamics CRM applications and the Dynamics 365 family
CRM software plays a vital role in ensuring your daily operations proceed seamlessly. It also enables you to work better, smarter and faster so that productivity increases and you can make informed decisions for your business.
Microsoft’s portfolio of Microsoft Dynamics solutions—including and beyond those designed for CMR—can help you accomplish all of the above and then some. However, with so many different options available, some business owners might not know where to start. If that’s the case, working with an expert partner who knows the Dynamics 365 landscape inside and out can help simplify things for businesses, as well as for IT providers helping to deliver such solutions for them.