We’ve been implementing contact management systems (when you could buy a single copy of ACT at Lechmere and before the internet “caught on”) through the evolution of sales force automation (SFA) and ultimately CRM systems for business of all kinds. Needless to say we’ve witnessed a lot of change in the CRM software marketplace and the last few years have especially interesting. The once popular front office CRM applications we knew and “loved” have been dropping off the competitive landscape over the past couple of years. And to be a little cynical, it’s refreshing to witness this evolution first hand.
I attribute the changing tides to four main points:
1) Disjointed integration with Microsoft Office applications, especially Outlook
2) Cumbersome data synchronization (offline remote access, Outlook or handheld synchronization, etc)
3) Easy and secure remote access from any internet connection or mobile devices
4) Extensibility to 3rd party systems and other internal business applications.
Interestingly, each point revolves around some aspect of technology. More specifically, it revolves around how well CRM plays with the business software most companies have already invested in.
Around the time Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 AbleBridge made the strategic decision to transform our business by only focusing on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It couldn’t have been a better decision. The four main points I mention above are non issues with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM truly works the way you do. With Microsoft Outlook as the main conduit for inbound and outbound communication the interoperability with Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives the user a familiar environment to interact with the information stored in CRM. Most importantly, it makes it easy. Capturing client and prospect communication is imperative in building a CRM strategy. If it’s not easy for the end user to capture this history it is just as easy not to do it.
We also see a shift away from the value the CRM consultant brings to the table. By focusing on operational business processes, rather than the technology, we can increase the time to value for our customers. Not only does it work the way your people do but the platform can be adapted to any business. It’s truly a big ball of clay where you can define a line of business application branded for your specific business. Microsoft’s marketing slogan, “It works the way you do, works the way your business does and works the way technology should” rings true and isn’t just Marketing fluff. It’s the reason why it has emerged as a CRM market leader. This is powerful and the reason why AbleBridge made the educated decision to focus solely on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM today. It’s also the reason we’re not seeing the once popular competitive CRM products at the table anymore.
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