I was looking into some Dynamics CRM competitors to get a better understanding of the CRM solutions which are on the market. Moreover, I stumbled upon the “Discover top industry analysts CRM reviews on Microsoft Dynamics” page of Microsoft which does a nice job of summarizing CRM software reviews. To save time, I gathered the most important figures for you and summarized Dynamics CRM’s strong and weak points.
Microsoft (Dynamics CRM): STRENGTHS
- Partner networks: Microsoft continues to maintain a large community of VARs and ISVs for selling, implementing and maintaining on-premises SFA implementations.
- Microsoft platform: Dynamics CRM continues to be selected because of its interoperability with Microsoft Outlook, Office 365, SharePoint and Lync. Business analysts can configure and IT departments can customize the system using the xRM platform, which leverages Microsoft Visual Studio and SQL Server.
- Functionality: Microsoft added new capabilities during the past year, including guided selling, mobile dashboards, product families, sales hierarchies and social listening.
Microsoft (Dynamics CRM): CAUTIONS
- User satisfaction compared with online version: Users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises express lower satisfaction with the system’s account, opportunity, lead, quotes, forecasting and content management capabilities than did users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
- Release timing and customer satisfaction with upgrades: Microsoft will only do annual releases for the on-premises version, which amplifies the fact that the release date of on-premises functionality has commonly lagged behind the online release dates. Some references report low levels of satisfaction with the release upgrade process compared with Dynamics CRM Online.
- Upgrades from early releases: Customers that are on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 or earlier have some upgrade challenges in the areas of custom workflows, reports and dashboards.
Microsoft (Dynamics CRM Online): STRENGTHS
- Functionality: Microsoft offers predictive analytics for sales behavior analytics and trend analysis. Surveyed users indicate improved satisfaction with ability to build custom reports and dashboards, which addresses a gap that Gartner noted in last year’s Magic Quadrant.
- Pricing: At a list price of $65 per user per month, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online continues to be priced very aggressively relative to the other leading SFA solutions.
- Platform extensibility: References give Microsoft good marks for its ability to customize or configure the SFA system to meet business process needs.
Microsoft (Dynamics CRM Online): CAUTIONS
- Platform rationalization: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online integrates with various Microsoft Azure services, but the product itself is built on a different platform, called xRM. This is because Microsoft Dynamics Online was launched in 2010, before Microsoft Azure was introduced. Third-party ISVs or internal developers in an information technology department who want to build SaaS applications based on leveraging Microsoft cloud technology will build their applications on Azure, not xRM. Azure-built applications can integrate through a services layer with Microsoft Dynamics CRM online. Microsoft has not publicly announced specific plans with dates to rationalize the overlapping platforms; specifically, moving Dynamics CRM Online from xRM onto the Azure platform.
- Integration with non-Microsoft systems: Users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online express lower levels of satisfaction (compared with the survey results of other SFA vendors) in terms of the ability to integrate the system to their back-end systems, including incentive compensation, email marketing, and configure, price and quote (CPQ) systems.
- Mobile capabilities: Surveyed users reported the lowest level of satisfaction with mobile capabilities on smartphones, and a midtier level of satisfaction with the mobile experience on tablets, when compared with the survey results of other SFA vendors.
Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is placed in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2015 “Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center” based on its completeness of vision and ability to execute.
Microsoft (Dynamics CRM): STRENGTHS
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Customer Service was the second-most-asked-for CRM product in a global Gartner survey (n = 175) conducted in 1Q15, indicating the strength of the Microsoft brand.
- There are good customer self-service capabilities, acquired from Parature, although they are largely unintegrated at the client sites. In addition, the integration of Microsoft Social Listening and Skype for Business has helped bolster the product.
- The product blends sales, service and marketing, and tightly integrates with other Microsoft assets, such as Office and SharePoint. Ongoing improvements to the user interface (for example, better screen layout, intuitive scripting and reduced keystrokes) help with standard tasks.
- The vendor has the benefit of solid financial standing and commitment to the CRM product line, global data centers, sales, marketing and customer service, as well as access to a deep bench of developer resources and global deployment partners.
Microsoft (Dynamics CRM): CAUTIONS
- There are still few examples of complex, large, cloud-based CECs, and, overall, there have been performance issues that, although fixable, are not easily diagnosed.
- A poor track record in attracting ISV partners is an issue for clients to fill functionality white space with its product offering, despite recent improved momentum.
- The mobile client is not focused on consumers, but rather on employees.
- Microsoft references referred to key technical gaps in field-level security and support for multiorganizational structures, complex support teams and multiple account hierarchies. Microsoft states that these issues were addressed in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Support Pack 1 and later.
- Clients mention as a concern the lack of trained professional services partners that understand best-in-class customer service centers, and how to configure Microsoft Dynamics CRM to achieve these in their industries and geographies. Although Microsoft has good development tools, customers do not find them directed at customer service and support scenarios.
The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Large Organizations, Q1 2015
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The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Midsize Organizations, Q1 2015
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The Forrester Wave™: Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations, Q4 2015
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