MS Dynamics – not just CRM but xRM
Microsoft has really put its weight behind the development of the CRM platform and its success is pretty evident with the fact that the platform has evolved exceptionally over time. Now that the Microsoft’s development team has delivered and done one heck of a job at that, it’s time for the marketing team to match that level.
They can simply start by re-branding the product as xRM. Confused? Read on.
The product is still marketed primarily as a CRM tool. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an approach for managing a company’s interaction with its existing and prospective customers.
When you look at the current features of the platform, CRM is almost a misnomer, since it is capable of so much more! It is now ready to be used as a fully functional, independent development platform, quite justifiably so.
- Highly scalable, secure and robust architecture
- Extremely flexible security model
- Highly customizable user interface development using web resources
- Powerful built-in workflow engine for business process automation
- Ability to expose and consume web services for programmatic manipulation of data and integration with legacy systems
- Seamless integration with SharePoint, Outlook, MS productivity suite, MS Social Insights, ADX Studios portal
- Availability of a large number of third-party components
- Multiple deployment options, including On-Premise, Online, and Partner Hosted
The possibilities that this platform comes up with are endless with its capabilities. However, in order to completely utilize the power of this platform, it would be wise if it is used to do what it already does best- MANAGE RELATIONS.
If you have been to a B-school, you will know and agree that those countless case studies eventually boil down to ONE thing- Managing and nurturing BUSINESS RELATIONS, not just with your customers, but suppliers, employees, stakeholders, general public. Great businesses are built on leveraging their knowledge of customers, suppliers, stakeholders, and exerting their influence on them. The faster you are able to analyze their sentiment, the faster you will be able to act on it and gain an edge over your competitors.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a complete solution out there which lets you manage relations. Granted, there are name sake modules for those in ERP but they are more transactional in nature and are grossly incapable for the intended purpose.
MS Dynamics CRM can easily be extended into xRM. An xRM should be a generic relationship management solution which should have a 360 degree approach in managing customers, suppliers, public relations, and just about any relationships the company wishes to manage.
Let’s explore a few use cases where standard CRM functionality can be easily extended to xRM.
Public Relations Management
Public Relations Management is extremely crucial in today’s era and United Airlines sure can vouch for it. A PR disaster cost them a whopping 180 million dollars (look up ‘united breaks guitars case’). People’s satisfaction level doesn’t reach you directly anymore, they broadcast it on social media.
Social Insights from Microsoft Social Engagement allows businesses to analyze and measure their brand’s perception using social media trends. The tool also provides granularity and allows users to drill down into the data and see what the users have said. By consolidating the details from Dynamics CRM or Dynamics Marketing, you can find out what you’re doing right, and address potential issues before bigger problems arise.
Supply Chain – Forecasting
One problem plaguing the manufacturing sector is not being able to manage its supply chain optimally. Raw materials usually have a usually long lead time while the orders are placed / modified at a moment’s notice. This can translate to either of these scenarios:
- You over stock raw materials, which is very risky in a volatile price market
- You lose out on orders because you cannot fulfill them
This problem is only compounded further due to the lack of right talent / knowledge. Employees responsible for ordering / managing supply chain are barely proficient in advanced forecasting models and tools.
One solution to this problem is to utilize the rich information in CRM of the expected pipeline; which when combined with brilliant analytical capabilities of the platform can be used to build automated forecasting models.
Donor Management (NGO / NPO)
It’s intriguing to see how the requirements for NGOs and NPOs can be mapped to standard CRM OOB (Out of the box) entities.
- ‘Donor profile management’ maps to ‘Customer Profile Management’.
- ‘Donation management’ maps to Leads and ‘Opportunities Management’.
- ‘Campaign / fund raising management’ maps to ‘Campaign Management’.
- If there is even further additional information that you need to capture then they can be easily built using custom entities and web resources.
You can provide a portal to publish job openings and accept applications using ADX Studios portal. ADX Studios was recently acquired by Microsoft and has seamless integration and access to all CRM entities.
Each application can then be mapped to the standard sales and opportunities processes of verification, multi stage qualification, multi stage evaluation and quotation (offers).
These were just a few examples of what can be achieved using MS Dynamics CRM platform. Move over CRM, xRM is here!