Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Beyond Managing Customer Relationships

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Customer Relationship Management, or “CRM”, started out primarily as an organized way to manage your contacts.  It was a concept long before a toolset, that later evolved into robust applications to help manage customer relationships and provide support for the Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service functions.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a sophisticated and powerful tool for managing relationships with customers.  But that’s not the end of the story.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues to be a leader in customer relationship management tools as indicated by independent research from Gartner and Forrester.  Not only is it powerful and user-friendly, it is also flexible.  That’s where xRM (Anything Relationship Management or eXtended Relationship Management) comes into the picture. Organizations can leverage the flexibility, features, and functionality of Microsoft CRM to extend the application and support their businesses in new ways they might not have thought possible.

How might you extend CRM?  Consider managing your HR relationships with employees and job candidates.  A builder could use CRM to manage relationships with contractors, sub-contractors, and material suppliers.  A restaurant chain could use CRM to manage the relationships with its franchisees and restaurant locations. The options are limited only by the limits of your imagination.  And in each scenario, the built-in features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM such as workflow processing, activity tracking, charting, reporting, and integration with Outlook can be utilized and extended with no additional software fees!

What is the benefit of using Microsoft CRM for xRM?  Can’t you buy another software package specifically for that extended purpose?  The answer in some cases is “yes”.  The question then becomes “Why?  Why spend the money for another package when your existing tool can do it for you?”  As you discuss your CRM implementation plans with your Microsoft gold partner, you should consider how else you might leverage your software investment to meet your needs.   Much of the efforts to develop a custom xRM application using Microsoft CRM can be done by a proficient user.  The CRM toolset utilizes point and click, drag and drop functionality making it easy to create new fields and design new forms or views.  Your xRM application can be extended even further with the help of a developer using the Microsoft .Net platform and JavaScript.  Either way, your organization can benefit from using the same basic knowledge of the CRM platform to extend its functionality to other parts of your business. 

When considering how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help support your business, it’s important to think outside the box; beyond the usual limits of traditional CRM functionality.  Talk with your CRM consultants about the possibilities.  You might just find that you’re getting more for your money than you thought!

By Ledgeview Partners – Wisconsin based Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner serving the Midwest and Heartland regions

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