If there’s been a consistent theme on this blog in recent months, it’s our belief that the future of CRM is in the cloud. In May, my colleague Chris made the argument for why CRM On Premise users really need to migrate to CRM Online, citing everything from its unparalleled infrastructure to it low overhead. And then later that month my colleague David pointed out that Power BI, with its cutting edge predictive analytics capabilities, can only be easily integrated with CRM Online.
Over the last several decades Microsoft has built out a revolutionary software suite of products that have transformed the very way we do business. From classic programs like Word and Excel to more modern innovations like Skype for Business, these products are ingrained into our everyday work lives. These services also remain integral to our ability to maximize the use of CRM.
And with Microsoft’s shift to a “cloud first” mentality, it has focused intensely on its Office 365 offerings, which transform your entire Office ecosystem into a platform that can be accessed anywhere. No longer do users have to juggle multiple versions of the same Word file or be at their desktop computer to access their events calendar. Office 365 has allowed companies to develop an agile workforce that isn’t constrained by geographic proximity or outdated technology.
And that’s how we’ve ended up with Microsoft Dynamics 365, the union of Microsoft’s CRM and ERP solutions, living together as one cloud service suiting the needs of unique lines of business via different applications. It allows you to tailor your system to your functions, such as Sales, Operations, and Field Service.
It’s clearer than ever that Microsoft has placed increased emphasis on integrating its Office 365 and CRM Online into a seamless experience. In fact, users who are still utilizing CRM On Premise will be unable to access the bevy of services made possible by this integration. What are those On Premise users missing out on by not migrating online?
Here are three Microsoft Office products enhanced by CRM Online:
You’re a sales rep. You’re always on the road, but thanks to Office 365 you can collaborate with your team from anywhere, in real time, on different files: Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. You co-author a PowerPoint presentation online with your team. You can then upload the file to your Sharepoint folder in CRM for that opportunity, making it visible to anyone who later visits the folder for that record (in Sharepoint or CRM). Behold, automated organization and seamless collaboration. You can enable Sharepoint for specific entities in your CRM, and libraries will be created in Sharepoint for those entities, along with folders for each entity record. A directory of documents for accounts, a folder for each account, along with all the pre-existing capabilities of Sharepoint: workflows, approvals, and sharing with outside users.
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You can also take advantage of OneNote from within CRM Online. Take meeting notes, draft ideas with the team, record research results, and then save it to the opportunity or contact in CRM. This, too, gets filed in the appropriate Sharepoint library to be visible along with all the other content you’ve saved for that customer.
Skype for Business
Work in CRM, with others. You can interact with any contact information in CRM via Skype, from directly within CRM. Find a contact, click their number, and call them. If I have a question about an opportunity, seamlessly chat with the owner of that opportunity from that record for immediate answers. Or as immediate as humans can provide them.
If you want to take the conversation to the next level, throw Yammer in the mix. Make the conversation about this customer social, allowing users to view and contribute from one cohesive view in CRM. With these options for fast, consolidated conversations, CRM becomes akin to a virtual office.
Track your outgoing and incoming email in CRM. With the Office 365 email application, you can automate email tracking by creating entire email folders that sync with CRM, organized against specific records. See CRM information in-line in your email inbox; if a customer sends you an email, you can view it within the context of previous emails or phone calls they’ve exchanged with the rest of your team, as well as other CRM records associated with them (opportunities, cases). You won’t know where CRM ends and outlook begins.
I often think CRM’s most appealing feature is having the ability to see everything you need about your relationship with your customers, and Office 365 really boosts that ability. That’s because everything you do in your day-to-day operations can be completed through Office 365, and this leads to more robust reporting and a better customer experience. When people discuss user experience in software you’ll often hear references to the importance of “continuity,” and Office 365’s integration with CRM Online, with its enhanced ability to view and track customer interactions, takes that continuity to the next level.
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