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Need Custom Features for Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Cloud Native Can Help! 


“We love our CRM solution! It’s great. But…”


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from a client. No one’s ever completely satisfied with their CRM. Companies want to know if this or that CRM will be “the one” that solves all of their problems. We’ve received more RFPs than we can count requesting a feature-by-feature comparison of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with another CRM solution. The reality is that no CRM is perfect, and there are always trade-offs involved.


But most companies don’t want to compromise: they want a CRM that actually meets their needs. Fortunately, this is easier than ever to achieve, with the help of a custom solution…and it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.


Cloud Native: Custom CRM Development in the Cloud

That’s right: developing a custom CRM solution doesn’t have to be a major headache. In the past, any attempt to customize a platform would run up against serious challenges. Finding someone with the right expertise was difficult, and you’d just be setting yourself up for a hassle down the road when it came to support—not to mention excessive hosting costs. But thanks to Cloud Native, things have changed.


“Cloud Native” is a relatively new term in the IT world, so let’s be clear about what exactly it means. Here’s how the Cloud Native Computing Foundation defines the term:


“Cloud native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.


These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil.”


So, what does this mean for you? Put simply, Cloud Native gives you the ability to build custom features into your CRM without the need to customize the packaged software.


Let’s look at an example. Imagine that you’re using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and you want add the capability to verify customer addresses before shipping. The thought of adding this functionality to Dynamics CRM might seem daunting (and expensive) -- and, in fact, it is. With so many CRMs these days moving to the cloud, trying to build a custom solution into the CRM itself is just a bad idea. Fortunately, there’s no need to go that route.


Let’s say you launch an eCommerce platform down the road and need the address validation also to take place when a customer is finalizing the details of their order on your website. Instead of building a custom solution into Dynamics CRM itself, you can create a new enterprise service -- we’ll call it AddressValidationService -- that’s both external to your CRM and your website. This means that both your website and CRM could use it seamlessly, at the same time. Customer address data coming in from your website can now be validated with ease, avoiding delays between your website and CRM system. If you had the feature built into your CRM system, you would have been forced to validate the address.


There are some major advantages to developing the feature in our above example in cloud native, including:

  • Higher quality data
  • Focused system maintenance with Dynamics CRM and your website—they get to do what they do best
  • Real-time CRM data that’s clean
  • Better performance and user experience
  • External address validation


...and the list goes on.


What About Costs? Will Cloud Native Be Expensive? 

The above example is simple enough -- but what will it cost? Are you looking at a high price tag? Not at all.

Thanks to the focus on developing an individual, isolated microservice, Cloud Native development is quick, easy, and affordable. Features like the one in our example can cost as little as $2,000 to build.


What about hosting prices? Isn’t hosting a service like this expensive? Not by a long shot! If you look at my previous posts about hosting, you’ll see what I mean. The hosting service in the above example would cost next to nothing if hosted using Azure Functions, or as little as $50 per month with something like Azure App Services. Think about that for a second: most CRM per seat costs are higher than $50 per month for each user.


In addition to reduced costs, Cloud Native features are also easier to roll out than the traditional IT Release Management we’re used to. In fact, a developer can verify their code without having to contact your IT Release Management division. Cutting out the Release Management process results in huge savings, especially across multiple projects. Sound too risky? Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and countless other major companies roll out these kinds of releases constantly, and you never experience a hiccup in service.


To recap: the missing CRM feature that you were afraid might cost an arm and a leg is likely going to run you a couple thousand dollars, a few hours in developer time, and could be ready to go live by next week. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?


Don’t waste your time comparing one CRM to another, trying to find the perfect fit. Let AKA help you customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Cloud Native. Call us today to speak with one of our cloud experts!


To learn more about AKA’s Cloud Services, watch the video below:


Read the full article on the AKA blog to learn more about Cloud Native.


AKA specializes in making it easier to do business, simplifying processes and reducing risks. With agility, expertise, and original industry solutions, we embrace projects other technology firms avoid—regardless of their complexity. As a true strategic partner, we help organizations slay the dragons that are keeping them from innovating their way to greatness. Call us at 212-502-3900!

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