Office 365 and CRM Online - Less Isn’t More, More is More

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To the Cloud?
If you’ve been thinking about transitioning to cloud computing and cloud services, but aren’t yet convinced that it is appropriate for your organization, consider how much cloud computing is changing the way we do business by providing opportunities to deliver and consume IT in entirely new ways. As companies scramble to dominate the marketplace with cloud based solutions, flexibility is the name of the game. If you are here because you’ve decided that you need to implement a CRM system, no doubt you’ve already been faced with choosing the deployment option that suits your business.

Let’s Face it, to Succeed You Must Adapt
Keeping pace with market shifts and innovations is all the more challenging in periods of constrained budgets. Business agility is a major driver for cloud adoption and the ability to respond quickly to changing business requirements is a critical advantage of the cloud model.

Software Licensing Models Will Change
According to IDC, the world's leading technology media, events, and research company, traditional packaged software and perpetual license revenue are in decline and a software industry shift toward subscription models will result in a nearly $7 billion decline in worldwide license revenue in 2010. As a result, a permanent change in software licensing regime will occur. This means the traditional software upgrade/update models will permanently change.

Consumers Have More Power
People have greater access to information these days and they shop around. Consumers are more savvy and educated. The focus is not simply to acquire a product but to get the product at the lowest price with as many value-added features as possible. The traditional channels of influence have been broken by social media, and people seeking information have many different sources for advice on their purchase decisions. Reading this blog post is a perfect example. Businesses must continuously seek new ways to differentiate their products and services to stand out in a sea of opinions.

At an event held to discuss the impact of Customer Relationship Management and the importance of CRM Strategy, David Beard of Sage UK, stated "More than ever customers are expecting higher levels of personalized and exceptional services. To do that, businesses need to understand their customers’ behavior and reaction to their business messages, tailoring them accordingly. They need to understand how to retain their customers and give a better experience. CRM technology should enable greater customer insight and provide greater customer interaction. The technology becomes the enabler to the strategy."

What’s Your Strategy?
Does your CRM strategy involve social media monitoring, business intelligence, mobile access and company-wide business process integration? As the marketplace becomes more competitive and consumers become smarter, tracking customer data and sales opportunities isn’t enough anymore. To gain a true competitive advantage, you need a holistic approach where marketing, service, and sales aren’t viewed as separate entities. The move to the cloud is part of a global shift where companies must reach beyond the confines of the office and learn to manage the interconnected web of relationships on which their businesses now depend.

Is your head spinning yet?

Believe it or not, you’re actually at an advantage if you are looking to implement a CRM system or adapt your CRM strategy at this time because we are on the cusp of the movement toward real-time, cloud-based customer relationship management solutions. In my last post, I wrote about Microsoft’s plans to add Dynamics CRM to its Office 365 offering. This is pretty remarkable in terms of value. You now have the option of getting a robust and adaptable CRM solution bundled with the tools you most likely use every day, and if you really want to get the most out of your CRM system, integration should be part of your strategy. With a cloud-based CRM solution:

  • You don’t have to purchase software or hardware to support your solutions—you just need a supported web browser.
  • You don’t have to dedicate IT personnel to management. There is no maintenance; deployments are faster, upgrades are instant, and all users have access to the latest software.
  • You pay one simple subscription cost per user, per month—and that includes access to support services.
  • You can scale up or down as your business demands.
  • You can access it anywhere and collaborate online.

 

Right now, a deployment of Microsoft Office 365 plus Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online together costs less than HALF the monthly subscription fee of Salesforce.com’s Enterprise Edition. Enterprise Edition is currently priced at $125 per user/ per month and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online + Office 365 is under $50 per user/per month.

The emergence of cloud computing can’t be considered a fad; it has the IT industry abuzz for a reason. It is slowly turning enterprise level applications such as CRM into commodities that are universally accessible, delivered on-demand, and on our terms. If your goals include keeping your business software costs way down and your flexibility way up, deploying solutions in the cloud is the way to go. If you are looking for a Microsoft Certified Colorado technology partner, contact NexusTek.

Resources:

PRWEB (April 22, 2011). "Marketing Elite Put CRM at Heart of Business Agenda". Press Release. Retrieved 2011-07-06.

BUSINESS WIRE (July 26, 2010). "SaaS Revenue to Grow Five Times Faster Than Traditional Packaged Software Through 2014, IDC Finds". Press Release. Retrieved 2011-07-06.

By Natalie Wilcox, NexusTek, Inc., your Denver, Colorado area Microsoft Certified Partner.

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