The Complete Guide To Microsoft Dynamics For Business

Digitization, mobile channels and real-time, engaging customer experiences are the norm for enterprise and business these days. Customers not only expect a uniquely crafted journey, but one that meets their needs and preferences. A whopping 75 percent of consumers are more likely to support a retailer that recognizes them by name, and recommends content or products based on their purchasing history.

Furthermore, Gartner estimates that, by 2020, smart personalization engines will be driving customer intent to enable digital businesses to increase profits by up to 15 percent.

Consumers want personalization, unique experiences and real-time connections to the businesses and brands they love, including mobile experiences and apps that deliver 24/7 engagement.

The trick, however, is tapping into the kind of information that will deliver actionable intel about your audience.

How do you know what they like? How do you know their purchase and browsing history? How do you know where they live, or how long they’ve been a customer? How do you even know how your new customers are finding you?

The answer is big data and predictive analytics, or more specifically a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Another common — and useful — tool is an enterprise resource planner (ERP). Wouldn’t you know it, Microsoft Dynamics 365 happens to be both.

What Is Microsoft Dynamics?

Simply put, ERP and CRM software allows brands and professionals to gain necessary insights they can use to improve key operational processes, enact more informed decision and boost assets or resources.

How? These tools allow users to track, monitor, parse, organize and share a great deal of customer data, giving the appropriate teams the information they need to come up with more detailed insights.

A CRM, for example, can monitor sales activity, employee performance, marketing campaign impact and success and much more. The sales activity can help you pinpoint the ideal seasons, time or even day of the week where you see your highest sales numbers.

By really digging in, you can nail down what makes for a successful campaign and revenue boost, as opposed to throwing something against the wall and hoping it sticks.

The software also:

  • Combines huge troves of customer information and data into a single source
  • Automates marketing analytics, interactions and engagement
  • Delivers actionable business intelligence
  • Facilitates communications and outreach
  • Tracks sales performance, opportunities and even predicts new products or services
  • Analyzes all forms of data — from customer addresses and contact information to purchase history
  • Drives responsive and engaging customer service and communication

As you might expect, Microsoft Dynamics or Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the tech giant’s data-driven enterprise and business solution. The full service provides five separate apps: sales, customer service, field service, project service automation and marketing. All these apps work seamlessly and sync data and insights between them, so you have a more connected, more intelligence-fueled business.

That’s a lot to take in, right? Never fear. Microsoft has certified Dynamics partners that can you get setup with the program. For example, Winfosoft provides global implementations for the Enterprise edition of this software.

The entire platform is the successor to Dynamics CRM Server, and runs on the same Windows Server network.

Microsoft Dynamics and Dynamics 365 are essentially the same thing — the only difference is that Dynamics is online-only, while Dynamics 365 is an on-premises version of the toolset. Because it’s locally maintained, 365 offers fewer capabilities and feature support than the cloud-based service: an important distinction to note.

What Do I Do Now?

Assuming you’ve already decided you do want to deploy and use a CRM like Microsoft Dynamics, the next step is to decide what kind of implementation you prefer.

Do you want a local setup, with on-premises hardware and networking? Or, do you want to use the real-time, always-live cloud service with all the necessary components managed by a licensed Microsoft team?

If you choose a local setup, you’ll need to make room for the necessary hardware and data center, put together a more robust IT support team and both plan out and field test your setup before it goes live.

Using the cloud-based service is definitely much more convenient and comes with a more comprehensive set of features and compatibility. But it’s not an overnight thing, either.

Getting Started

Step one is to choose the app that’s appropriate for your role or project. You must choose from sales, customer service, field service and project service automation. Broad roles — such as marketing — will fit into one of those apps, depending on what goals you want to achieve.

After selecting an app, it’s time to become familiar with the service. The best way to do this is to explore and interact with the dashboard. You can read more about working with the Microsoft Dynamics dashboard here.

Microsoft offers web application, local software and mobile apps support for its services. Find a platform or channel that works best for you and your schedule, and go from there.

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Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about AI, cloud computing and IoT for publications like The Week, The Data Center Journal and VentureBeat.
About Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about AI, cloud computing and IoT for publications like The Week, The Data Center Journal and VentureBeat.

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