First and foremost, to compare an ERP program with a CRM program is almost not done, as both have a different goal, which is also the reason they are developed and still exist. But both Dynamics programs have some common ground as Dynamics Navision 2015 has a CRM module. It is this CRM module which I will try to compare to Dynamics CRM. As I have some experience with both NAV and CRM, I like to mention that I am not a Navision consultant, I will try to point out interesting differences and similarities between both systems as to make it easier for a Dynamics CRM consultant to understand the CRM module in Navision and the other way around. Pointing something out is not the same as discussing it into detail, which would lead us to far and is not the goal of these two blog posts.
One of the points which will not be discussed are the possibilities for integrating Dynamics Navision or Dynamics CRM with other software programs. With integration I do not mean “making a connection between Navision and CRM through a connector”, as I will handle this topic briefly. But in the sense of integration with SharePoint, Yammer, Dynamics Marketing, … . Main reason for this decision is the ever growing range of integration possibilities Dynamics CRM has to offer, definitely CRM online in an Office 365 environment, whereas Dynamics Navision stays a bit behind.
I would like to remark that for the rest of the post when I talk about Navision or NAV, I mean the CRM module of Dynamics Navision 2015. When talking about CRM, I mean Dynamics CRM 2015.
What’s in a name
A lot of concepts in the CRM module of Dynamics NAV are the same as in Dynamics CRM, but have a different name. For example (NAV – CRM):
- Quotes – Quotes
- Salutations – Salutations
- Business relations – Relationships
- Industry groups – Industry
Before we can continue, you need to understand the differences in the way both programs define contacts. Why contacts? Because contacts are the true power of a CRM system, whether it is Dynamics CRM or Dynamics Navision. It is contact data which will be used to drive sales, make appointments, … . At the end of the day, it are people who close deals and generate revenue for a company.
“Contacts” for Dynamics CRM are (natural) persons, like you and me. Dynamics CRM also consists of “Accounts”, which are companies (e.g. Microsoft, Google, …). There are also “leads” in Dynamics CRM, which can be qualified to Contacts and/or Accounts and/or Opportunities, but this will lead us away from the subject at hand. Dynamics NAV at the other hand has two types of “contacts”; contact companies and contact persons. It does not have anything which is similar to leads.
If we take a closer look at the contact forms/cards, we’ll see that CRM’s standard contact form is more intuitive and fluent. You’ll find contact information, the social panel and related information on it. Moreover there is a map to show the contacts location, which NAV does not got.
NAV’s contact company form is a bit less user friendly, but contains nonetheless a lot of info. Some of that info is quite unique and is not available in CRM. “Date of last interaction”, the lines section and the segmentation section are some of those. Except for these sections and the fields within them, both forms are quite similar.
The contact list at the other hand is structured in two very different ways. NAV has every contact listed under its relating company. So if you have one contact company like Eco Office Inc. with several contacts, they will all be listed just under it. And yes, for those who have been paying attention, I am a fan of Mr. Bean.
The contact list in CRM is structured entirely different. Contacts are not shown under their related company, but they are shown as a huge list. This list can be filtered on every column, changed in order (from A to Z or from Z to A) or can be split up in different lists by creating “Views”.
Now lets take a closer look at other important records which are used in both systems.
Campaigns / interactions VS Campaigns / Campaign activities
NAV has its own kind of campaigns. These kind of campaigns are mainly based on a more “price” based campaign in which prices are temporarily lowered as to reach a bigger target audience and to increase the volume of sales.
Campaigns in CRM are less prices based and more activity oriented. They are a way to create activities (e.g. phone calls) and distribute them to salespersons which can then execute them.
Segments VS Marketing lists
These campaigns will use segments to target certain contacts. Segments are the way in which contacts will be split up into lists of people with the same interests.
CRM will not use segments, but marketing lists. These lists are compiled of contacts which have been altered by different filters.
Interactions (e.g. to do) VS activities (e.g. task)
After making a campaign based on segments, NAV allows for the creation of interactions. These interactions can be seen as a kind of contact between the NAV company which is making the campaign and the contact which might be interested to do business with them. A task can be made for a salesperson to do a certain thing. Or said in another way, a task can be created and delegated afterwards to him.
After creating a campaign in CRM, as mentioned earlier, this campaign wild hold different campaign members in a marketing list. This list will be the base on which activities will be created. Activities will be made for each member of the list (e.g. call this member, a task for the salesperson to do something, an email to a member). After they are created, the task or phone call can be assigned to a salesperson.
I will expand more on following subjects in the second part of these blogposts, concerning the differences between the CRM module of Dynamics NAV and Dynamics CRM:
- What does NAV has that CRM has not?
- What about opportunity, quote and order management?