Today I found myself thinking back over the past several years about the progression of the Dynamics CRM product. I was one of the lucky people who actually implemented and supported CRM 1.2 for a company. We also implemented the BizTalk Connector on that project. It was all quite interesting and I have some fond memories. Needless to say, CRM 3 quickly followed 1.2, then came 4, 2011 and here we are with CRM 2013.
As I was taking the walk down memory lane, I tried to recall how I felt about the product changes from version to version. There actually wasn’t too much that I recall about using version 1.2 other than I was really glad when CRM 3 came along. Several enhancements came with CRM 3 to include SSRS, improved configuration and integration, etc. CRM 4 and 2011 followed, each with their own set of exciting new features; multi-tenancy, data import, SQL 2008, the Ribbon, reduced clicks, improved navigation, dialogs, improved workflows, SQL 2012 support and so much more. I recall several features that I was eagerly anticipating with each new version.
So here we are with Dynamics CRM 2013 and all I can say is WOW, look how far the product has come. Of all the versions, I can honestly say that the changes and features in this release make it the most exciting yet.
First we have a completely new and more intuitive User Interface that no longer relies on multiple open windows and is touch optimized. The new form lays a strong foundation for the many other new features and enhancements that include but are not limited to quick create forms, related entity in-form editing, mobility and tablet support, improved cross- browser experience, business process flow, synchronous workflows, business rules, actions, record level image support, server-side sync, integrated Bing maps, auto-save, Yammer, and more.
As we can see there is much to be excited about in this release. We have so many new tools to access and we are just beginning to understand and familiarize ourselves with the new capabilities available to us. This application is going to empower us in ways we don’t yet fully understand.
With the above as a background, one of the reasons I am excited about this release more so than others is because I think the Microsoft Product Team has set the stage for some really exciting things to come. What I’m seeing in CRM 2013 is quite different than what I saw in previous versions.
In previous versions I saw some great new and exciting features and enhancements. I see the same in CRM 2013 but I also see something additional. Something that was not as obvious to me in past releases.
I now, much more clearly than in the past, see the foundation for a truly visionary product. A product that is used by everyone and without limitation or regard for device or browser, is easily configured to present the information needed based on an individual’s role and responsibility, a go everywhere, access anytime wealth of information to more intelligently interact with clients, prospects and team members, and one that is moving the configuration and power of the application into the hands of the business analyst, system customizers and administrators while maintaining and improving the extensibility of the platform for developers.
This is why I am so very excited about Dynamics CRM 2013. I am excited because we now have a story to tell that I believe is unique to this CRM product. I am not aware of any other CRM product that has the choice of OnPremise or Cloud, deep and efficient Office product integration, easy to use configuration tools that drive business process / rules, automation and configuration into the hands of the business analysts and system administrators, device and browser agnostic while providing an architecture for extensibility to meet any and all needs regardless of the vertical. To add to that, this is only the beginning. Things are about to get crazy exciting.
Excellent article Donna!! surely this is a milestone in MS Dynamics CRM!
I couldn’t agree more! 🙂
I agree the hybrid model is very unique, however, its applicable ability is questionable. If on-premise is on a different upgrade cycle than cloud or CRM Online how do you keep the base version up-to-date in a hybrid methodology? I think it’s unique, however, even with two upgrades a year CRM Online is having a hard time outpacing SFDC. That’s the key here, CRM Online has been marginalized as a follower and not necessarily a leader in the market. I certainly believe the UI evolution is a step in the right direction and superior Office integration (btw, where’s Office 365 integration?) but is it enough to really hand it to Salesforce who is growing at 30% plus in total user adoption. SFDC seems to have Sales and Service in a virtual chokehold for capabilities and their ability to deliver on the marketing side has really began to refined a complete end to end market, sales, and service scenario.
MSFT is really behind on this front.
I think the fact that a Salesforce “enthusiast” is taking the time to respond to my blog on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 speaks for itself. I certainly don’t bother myself with responding to Salesforce blog articles. I’m too busy working with the Dynamics CRM product; servicing prospects and clients 🙂
SalesForce’s offering is limited to Online only(no choice), they do not have anything close to the Office integration of Dynamics CRM, nothing slightly comparable to Office 365 and never will. Salesforce is overpriced, not as easily configurable, and the list goes on. Salesforce was in the market many years before Microsoft, but even with that head start, they have been consistently losing ground to the Dynamics CRM product year over year. It won’t be long before Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be looking back at Salesforce and saying, ‘Catch me if you can’.
Your last paragraph says its all so perfectly! I’ve already started working in CRM 2013 and I’m really enjoying the changes. The capabilities within the product seem to have aligned so nicely with what users really need and are looking for these days. There is so much virtue in keeping it simple.
Looking forward to your follow-up posts as more and more people start using 2013.
I agree with Bridget. I’ve recently been on a project with a client that was trying to move data from one cloud provider of an ATS solution to another ATS cloud provider. It was a disaster. Very expensive and it failed. All along I kept saying to myself, this would have been so much easier with CRM Online. The Schema is standardized. we can get data out of the cloud. We can maintain our email. We can integrate the data with our Great Plains system. So it prompted interest by the poor client stuck in the middle of these tool failures to look at CRM.
Sales Force is now the “leased Xerox Machine” in the office. So many are stuck with it and decisions like this are defended by decision makers to protect their reputations. But that is getting harder and harder to do.
To address Jessie’s specific concerns, the hybrid model provides choice. Some organisations do not want to move to the cloud. Many CIOs want either an on-premise model or a private cloud model. Dynamics CRM provides that choice in a product rated as highly as Salesforce by independent analysts.
In regards to the upgrade cycle, given a customer only uses one deployment mode, the different upgrade cadence of the different models is irrelevant. If you are online you get features every six months, on premise, every 12 months and on that 12 month date, both product are identical again.
The characterisation of Dynamics CRM as a ‘follower’ is simply not true. Gartner and Forrester clearly put Dynamics CRM in the leader camp and the choice in regards to deployment mode is one of many examples demonstrating a different go-to-market strategy than Salesforce.
Office 365 integration is there in regards to SharePoint which can be used for CRM document management. For the ‘core’ products in the Office 365 suite, Microsoft’s model is to integrate with the downloaded parts of Office. So you use the local copy of Word, Excel etc. Office 365 is not a pure online play; it takes the best of the cloud and local applications and CRM takes advantage of this.
In regards to the growth of Salesforce’s user base, no-one knows this number because Salesforce have not released subscription numbers for years; they refuse to, unlike Microsoft. Revenue has been growing a 30% for Salesforce. Subscription numbers for Dynamics CRM (which Microsoft do release) grew in the period March 2012 to March 2013 by 33% (2.25m to 3m subscribers).
The notion that Salesforce’s capabilities are superior in the market is not supported by the analysts and I think it is more accurate to characterise the products as having equivalent functionality. Both have their strengths and weaknesses but deliver the essentials equally well.
Leon, you’re pretty gracious about going in-depth in your rebuttal to a drive-by troll. That said, you call out important data points that should be considered by companies serious about proving their CRM selection as most valuable to them.