My Love-Hate Relationship with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
I became certified as a Microsoft Dynamics 3.0 consultant back in 2006. I was in the Empire State Building in New York City for six days, twelve hours a day. Seventy-two hours of training, and I was official. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the start of my love/hate relationship with Microsoft Dynamics.
Dynamics CRM 4.0 Was Better
I liked Dynamics CRM 3.0, and when CRM 4.0 came out, it was even better. It was easier to use, and much easier to customize as well. This made working on it more efficient, making the overall price lower, making it easier to sell. I was happy.
Dynamics CRM 2011 Was Perfect
Then CRM 2011 came out next, and it was "the cat's ass." Now I was truly in love. This product was easy to use, with simple fields, a simple navigation pane, simple views, a little bit of workflow. I felt confident I had made the right choice to say yes to Microsoft Dynamics and that we would have a long and beautiful relationship.
Then Microsoft broke my heart.
Dynamics CRM 2013 Was Terrible
Change is not always good. The next release, Dynamics CRM 2013, was just terrible.
In past versions, the user interface was very straightforward. The navigation pane was at the left side of the screen; you could see a sub-menu dropdown with one click. Then Microsoft introduced this ridiculous top-screen navigation that required you to scroll endlessly (horizontally… with your vertical scrolling wheel) to find the information you wanted. CRM is supposed to make you more efficient; this had the opposite of efficient, and I believe everyone hated it.
Plus, Microsoft put a five-person minimum on the price. Instead of telling my clients it cost $49/month, I had to tell them it was $475/month. Those were not fun conversations.
Dynamics CRM 2013 just did not fit our small business clients anymore; it was way too complicated. I couldn't recommend it anymore because I am brutally honest and can not recommend something I won't use myself.
I literally hated Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.
Dynamics CRM 2015 Was Worse
By this point, I became so frustrated that I actually built my own CRM system called P2xRM, using the principles that worked in Dynamics CRM 2011. Navigation on the left, simple, clean fields, simple search. Hit a button, export to Excel. It was fast and relatively easy to customize, just like CRM 2011. I thought that Microsoft Dynamics and I had split for good.
Dynamics 365 Is Awesome
Dynamics 365 made me fall in love with Microsoft Dynamics again. When Satya Nadella took over as the CEO of Microsoft in 2014, he truly transformed the company, including Dynamics CRM, now called Microsoft Dynamics 365.
The way Microsoft built Dynamics 365 is incredible; it's designed for the next 20 years. It is no longer just an application, it is an ecosystem.
Going from CRM to SharePoint to Teams to Word to Excel, everything ties in so nicely. And then you have the Power Automate workflow engine in the background. You could take data from here and put it over there, and move things around very efficiently.
The Dataverse. Pure brilliance. Now everyone that builds software for Dynamics 365 builds it to that common data model. This means if you want to add a piece of technology, you don't have to wonder if it will talk to the other pieces. They are all using the same foundation. You can just install it, and see your data. There is nothing to migrate. If you don't like it, you can uninstall it, and it goes away. We can really offer a lot of value to our small business clients without any risk.
It's much easier for an end-user to do some high-level customizations. This is what “Citizen Developer” is all about. Users can create their own workflows, personal dashboards, and personal views. You couldn't do that 10 years ago. It didn't exist.
The pricing model is affordable again. There’s a $95 option, there’s an $8 option, and many in between.
With the new licensing model, it is easier to build new products too. CRMPlus365 is a product we built, using the same technology as Dynamics 365, that we can offer to our small business clients who are looking for big business technology at a small business price point.
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