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A Comprehensive Guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM: A Comprehensive Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction

In today’s noisy and crowded buyer’s market, forward-looking organizations need to focus on what really matters – the customer. They know that the modern-day customer is digitally savvy and well-informed. They also understand the importance of speaking the customer’s language, and they make an effort to manage their relationships with the customer in ways that benefit them both.One of the most powerful ways to do this is through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. For close to two decades, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has been the CRM of choice for organizations worldwide.But what exactly is Dynamics 365? How does it work? And why should you choose Dynamics over other CRM systems on the market?

Read on to find out more.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an integrated and comprehensive platform that enables businesses to manage customer data, drive richer engagement, and position their organization for resilience and agility through real-time analytics and business insights. It’s a cloud-based solution, and updates are made regularly, ensuring that users always have access to the latest features and functionality.In 2016, Microsoft’s earlier version of the software (known as Microsoft Dynamics CRM) was replaced with Microsoft Dynamics 365 – a fully-rebranded solution specifically designed for customer engagement but based on the same underlying framework as its predecessor.

What Can You Do with Dynamics 365 Software?

Dynamics 365 can help your business grow by automating processes for more efficient operations. It can track customer interactions and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, helping improve marketing efforts and produce better results. Additionally, it can track leads and opportunities, helping your organization keep track of the sales pipeline and close more deals.Here are some of the specific outcomes that Microsoft Dynamics 365 is designed to deliver:

A 360° View of Customers

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a wide array of features to help with customer relationship management, from first contact to keeping in touch after a sale. Features range from sales and marketing to support and service. Dynamics 365 is the ideal place to centralize important data to create powerful customer experiences that lead to higher conversions and improved customer satisfaction.

Customizability

One of the main advantages of Dynamics 365 is that it’s highly customizable, allowing your business to adapt the software to its specific needs. This means you can make Microsoft Dynamics 365 work exactly how you want it to, with no hassles or headaches involved. For example, adding new pieces of information or adding process steps that are specific to your business is quick and easy with Dynamics 365.

Automation of Routine Tasks

Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables you to automate ordinary but time-consuming tasks like updating customer records, helping you save time and work faster. It’s a flexible, scalable CRM solution that seamlessly integrates with many existing business systems to enable more seamless interactions and increased service efficiency. Through its powerful integration features, Dynamics 365 provides the ability to automate tedious tasks, allowing your team to focus on the customer experience.

Eliminate Organizational Silos

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to synchronize your previously siloed Sales and Marketing functions to extract necessary synergies that can improve your collective lead nurturing capabilities. It can even empower you to improve your customer service processes.

How is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Different from the Former Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

In late 2016, Microsoft released Dynamics 365, a combined ERP/CRM solution that builds and improves upon the existing capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM while providing additional capabilities.Dynamics 365 breaks down the previous silos of ERP and CRM to deliver new purpose-built applications in the easily accessible and secure cloud. These applications work seamlessly to help your organization manage, coordinate, and synergize business processes across multiple functions.Unlike Dynamics CRM, Dynamics 365 comprises seven key components:

  • Sales
  • Service
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Project service automation
  • Field service
  • Customer insights

In short, Dynamics 365 extends the functionality of Dynamics CRM.With Dynamics 365, you don’t have to pay for the features you don’t use. You can choose a ‘custom’ pricing plan based on the functionalities you plan to use, whether an ERP feature, a CRM feature, or a combination of the two.If your organization is an established enterprise looking for a way to simplify complex processes or customer engagement strategies, you can especially benefit from Dynamics 365 due to its powerful customer insights and business intelligence for nurturing and tracking leads, connecting with customers, and improving conversions. This is useful when expanding into new markets (or countries), product lines, or customer segments.

Quickly understand the capabilities of Dynamics 365 with WayPath Consulting, a certified Gold Partner.Talk to an expert.

7 Powerful Features of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Here are some of the latest, most compelling features you can look forward to in a Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution:

1. Advanced Reporting and Analytics

Dynamics 365 has powerful reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing you to quickly gather insights, track performance, and make data-driven decisions.With its built-in reporting tools, you can create reports and dashboards, visualize data in charts and graphs, and more. This can help you transform data into actionable insight.

2. CRM and ERP Capabilities

Dynamics 365 includes both CRM and ERP capabilities, allowing you to manage your sales, marketing, customer service, and operations processes in one system. Dynamics 365 lets you manage customer interactions and sales processes, while its ERP features let you manage finances and operations. This can save you time and money by streamlining business operations.

3. App Modules

App modules enable you to create customized, highly targeted apps or business process flows within the CRM. A simple drag and drop functionality eliminates the need for add-ins, plugins, and writing code. These apps aren’t limited to a single page or sitemap – they can be used throughout the platform.

4. Unified CRM User Interface (UI)

The unified UI in Dynamics 365 adapts to the device or screen being used to provide a consistent and highly accessible experience across the web, Outlook, and mobile devices. In conjunction with this UI, the Sitemap Designer allows you to easily create and edit sitemaps. Another feature – the Visual Process Designer– enables visual representations of business process flows, business rules, and task flows.

5. Customer Insights

This feature provides intelligent analytics and detailed visualizations to help you better understand and engage with customers. In addition, two powerful features, Predictive Match and Predictive Scoring, provide contextual information about customers and empowers you to generate machine learning models to predict business outcomes.

6. Customer Service Hub

The ​Customer Service Hub enables you to manage cases and knowledge posts with greater efficiency, agility, and speed. Customer Service Hub is built on the new Unified UI and provides AI-enabled experiences and insights. It can help with intelligently handling routine requests, resolving more complex issues, and delivering tailored service to customers across multiple channels.

7. Learning Paths

Learning Paths in Dynamics 365 is a series of interactive assets like videos, guided tasks, and documents about its features and functionalities. These resources can be customized depending upon each user’s department or job responsibilities.Now that we’ve explored some core features of Microsoft Dynamics 365, let’s consider some features that appeal most to the developer community.

4 Reasons Why Developers Love Microsoft Dynamics 365

Here are some of the most powerful technical features that every Microsoft Dynamics developer should be aware of:

1. Editable Grid

The Editable Grid in Dynamics 365 enables inline amending of records from the entity view or the related records sub-grid. With this feature, developers no longer have to waste time navigating to open records and update information. It allows for faster information updates and easier movement within Microsoft Dynamics 365 while extending its functionality. The Editable Grid is also supported in the web client.

2. Web API Enhancements

The Web API enhancements provide developers with more flexibility while working with entity metadata, global option sets, and relationship definition to retrieve specific records, rather than just the complete list.Using Web API (and form scripts), developers can access local data in Dynamics 365 for Outlook, even while they’re offline. With these enhancements, they can also retrieve entities right after creating or updating them. Before this release, two operations were needed – POST and Uri. But now, developers can specify the return=representation preference in the header of the request. A successful POST request will return HTTP 201 (Created) and include the selected entity properties. A successful PATCH request will return HTTP 200 (OK) with the full entity.

3. Sitemap Editor

In Dynamics 365, different functional areas can be grouped into ‘apps’ with relevant functionalities and then displayed only to particular users depending on their area of work. A Microsoft Dynamics developer can programmatically retrieve and associate–or dissociate–a modular app with security roles to define that app’s access permission. This design process is supported by a graphical Sitemap Editor, which eliminates the need for days of editing sitemaps in XML.

4. Client-side Scripting

By applying custom business process logic in Dynamics 365, data can be displayed on a form. Client-side scripting using JavaScript is one of the methods to achieve this. A form can contain fields, a quick form, or a grid. Form scripting can also be used to add icons with tooltip text based on the column value in the view. A rich set of client APIs interacts with form objects and events to control what and when to display on a form.If your in-house Microsoft Dynamics developer doesn’t have the expertise to help you make the most of your Dynamics 365 implementation, talk to the CRM experts at WayPath. We can help you harness the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 to streamline customer acquisition, enhance business processes, and boost customer satisfaction levels in your organization.

At WayPath, we can help you enjoy a stress-free transition to the latest Microsoft Dynamics version.Contact us to learn more

5 Powerful Reasons to Choose Microsoft Dynamics 365

Here are five compelling reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365:

1. Multiple Deployment Options

With Dynamics 365, your organization can choose a deployment mode based on the location of data centers, compliance needs, customization requirements, and level of control desired. Both cloud and on-premise hosting options are available with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Cloud hosting can reduce operating costs and simplify deployment across your organization’s existing infrastructure. On the other hand, hosting on-premise ensures that sensitive data is stored only within your company’s physical boundaries.The flexibility to deploy Microsoft Dynamics 365 in a way that meets your specific needs is a key benefit of Dynamics.

2. Support for Multiple Devices

Dynamics 365 is a CRM solution that works across multiple devices, providing every user with the flexibility to work from anywhere. It offers seamless integration with Office 365, so your team can easily access information across all their devices.Microsoft Dynamics 365 comes with a native mobile app that enables access to its features from anywhere and at any time. It can be further customized or extended to meet complex business requirements. Users can create, update and view CRM data, including content, leads, and prospects, while on the move, increasing productivity while working from out of the office.

3. Robust Security Model

The robust security model for Microsoft Dynamics 365 supports efficient data access and collaboration while also protecting data integrity and privacy. Administration roles can be assigned to monitor user access and set security policies, while an audit trail system automatically records when information is added, edited, or deleted. It also has an access control layer that allows your organization to selectively decide who can view, edit, and add records.This model includes:

  • Role-based security: This allows for grouping sets of privileges based on the roles assigned to them within Dynamics 365.
  • Field-level security: It can be configured to restrict access of users or teams to specific fields in an entity.
  • Form-based security: This level of security can be configured to allow (or restrict) access only to certain users or teams.

4. Built-in Power BI, AI, and ML Capabilities

Dynamics 365 enables you to import data to the Power BI dashboard and access the most important information right at your fingertips. Moreover, built-in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities provide intelligent and detailed insights about customers’ behaviors, preferences, and needs, so your organization can update its offerings to meet these needs.The AI-powered Relationship Assistant produces action cards to keep the sales pipeline moving, suggests next steps that can help nurture relationships, and issues timely notifications about opportunities. In short, it can help your organization close more sales.

5. Microsoft Flow and PowerApps

Dynamics 365 integrates with Microsoft Flow and PowerApps, allowing you to automate tasks across business processes. This is especially useful if your organization is looking to create and automate apps without building them from the ground up.With the cloud-based Microsoft Flow, you can create automated workflows across different apps and services. With PowerApps for Dynamics 365, a drag-and-drop app builder, you can quickly build custom apps and even combine data and actions from multiple apps based on business needs.

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enables Different Internal Departments and Functions

Next, let’s consider some ways that Microsoft Dynamics 365 supports different departments and functions:

Sales

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides a familiar and intuitive solution to effectively and accurately manage the sales process. With Dynamics, your sales team gains on-the-go access to customer data for lead generation, lead qualification, and conversion into customer accounts. They can also collaborate across geographies or workgroups to drive personal engagement with leads, prospects, and customers, thus winning more deals. The sales automation process in Dynamics 365 also includes order management and invoice tracking functionalities.

Marketing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables your organization to streamline its Marketing tasks. With enterprise-ready collaboration, you can work across multiple teams and even external agencies to effectively plan, manage, and execute your multi-channel marketing campaigns from start to end. With the marketing automation capabilities of Dynamics 365, your organization can drive innovation, improve customers’ service engagement experiences, reduce your time to market, and ultimately bring your marketing vision to life.

Customer Service

Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables your organization to simplify the ‘retention’ phase of the customer lifecycle. With its process-driven interface, as well as data analysis and predictive care capabilities, your customer service team can streamline the case resolutions process to reduce response times and increase the number and quality of resolutions. The AI-driven service ‘bots can increase customer self-service and free up customer service agents for more meaningful interactions that exceed customers’ expectations.

Field Service

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides a comprehensive field service automation solution to connect with customers in meaningful ways that build trust over the long term. Field agents can streamline scheduling, manage inventory, automate work orders perform preventative maintenance, and deliver more personalized service.

Project Service Automation

Microsoft Dynamics 365 also provides Project Service Automation capabilities to help create project quotes and contracts, anticipate resource requirements, forecast project profitability, and even manage the entire project from end to end. You can even manage schedules, track expenses, and analyze and simplify billing to improve profitability on every project. Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables project teams to build a truly customer-centric service delivery model with collaborative tools and built-in analytics.

Finance and HR Management

Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help your organization manage its finances more effectively. It provides tools and dashboards that give a clear overview of the organization’s financial health to help leaders better allocate resources.It also streamlines employee files by enabling human resources personnel to manage information across multiple areas such as recruitment and benefits.

Operations Management

Dynamics 365 can also help your organization automate its operations processes. The unified platform enables employees who work in different areas of the organization to collaborate and resolve problems together instead of dealing with them individually, increasing efficiency for the business as a whole.​

Deployment Options

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers multiple robust deployment options for enhanced organizational flexibility and agility: on-premise, cloud, and partner-hosted. All the capabilities of the CRM are available for each option.Dynamics 365 online is a convenient cloud-based hosting solution offering several benefits, including remote real-time access, freedom from purchasing expensive additional hardware or software licenses, automatic updates, and enhanced security protection.Microsoft Dynamics 365 on-premises requires setting up applications and servers within your organization’s environment. Although this increases the cost, it also provides better control over your data.The third hosting option, partner-hosted deployment, is essentially an on-premise CRM running on a Microsoft partner’s server.

Integration Considerations

Integration is critical for effective customer relationship management. Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides powerful integration capabilities – with the Microsoft stack and with third-party solutions – that can empower your organization to embrace a more collaborative way of working. This improves your organization’s productivity and enables your workforce to have all the information they need to better serve customers.Integrations include:Microsoft:

  • Exchange and Outlook
  • Office 365
  • SQL Server
  • SharePoint
  • Power BI

Others:

  • Adobe Document Cloud for digital signatures
  • ProntoForms for offline mobile access
  • Xero and Sage accounting packages
  • Skype for communications
  • LinkedIn for lead capture and social selling
  • Cortana virtual assistant

…. and many more.

Make Microsoft Dynamics 365 Work for Your Organization

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is truly a cloud-based CRM platform for the new age, from powerful data insights and customizable functionalities to enhanced third-party integration and automation capabilities.If you’re still unsure whether Microsoft Dynamics 365 is right for your organization, contact us today for personalized help. WayPath’s highly skilled team of Dynamics 365 experts can help you grab the many opportunities available with this CRM to unify your siloed business functions, power automated processes, and develop more meaningful customer relationships. Get in touch today for a free demo.

Why WayPath?

Considered a market leader when it comes to software and technology consultancy services, WayPath is a reliable partner you can trust.With technical expertise spanning numerous sectors like financial, healthcare, transportation, and more, we take care of your every need without any hassle. Our CRM offerings are rated the best across the world.

WayPath Client Success Stories

Learn how WayPath has assisted our clients in accelerating the achievement of their strategic objectives with Microsoft Dynamics 365:

Dynamics 365 Streamlines Workflow for a Large Non-profit Organization

The Challenge

Our client required a program to allow for a smooth hiring and vetting process. Applicants to the organization, clients, and employees needed to input data, exchange information, and upload documents.They sought a consistent process for an 18-month recruiting workflow that allowed for the documentation of who spoke with whom and ensured that no part of the process was missed or repeated. Experiencing an extreme case of “too many cooks in the kitchen,” they needed to track interactions with hundreds of applicants and various other participants while maintaining a self-servicing process. The goal was to establish a streamlined application process and a strong return on investment.

The Solution

WayPath proposed a Dynamics 365 solution given the inherent workflow capabilities of a platform and its ability to handle the scale of our client’s needs. Our client desired assistance from WayPath to conduct user requirements sessions and user stories for implementation. Because our client has applicants seeking to work abroad, it was critical to create an organized process that gathered information from various sources.WayPath’s minimum viable solution was a catalog of development items for applicants to complete. This offered a centralized place for them to work so that all stakeholders could easily see the status of the process.

The Results

The Dynamics portal allowed for smooth email communication between the consultant and the applicant, while SharePoint was used to upload files via secured channels and messaging. Each applicant was assigned a consultant to help them learn a new language and prepare physically, emotionally, and financially to go abroad. Our client was able to save significant costs by moving much of the functionality from Salesforce to Dynamics, as Dynamics allows for increased centralization, standardization, compliance, and visibility.

Read the full case study.

Upgrading Dynamics 365 and Building Complex Dynamic Entities for Rush Enterprises

The Challenge

Lauded as a premium solutions provider in the commercial vehicle industry, Rush Enterprises is the largest commercial vehicle dealer group in North America.With CRM at the core of Rush Enterprise’s functions, the company had been leveraging a significantly older version of Microsoft Dynamics to manage client information and inform marketing pitches. With immense pressure from competitors and customer expectations elevating with each passing day, the organization had to take swift corrective action. While it had internal resources for basic updating, it needed the help of technical experts to aid in building complex dynamic entities. With aggressive growth plans, an older or outdated version of CRM was the last thing they needed.

The Solution

WayPath recommended the latest version of Dynamics 365 to Rush Enterprises. The seasoned experts’ team at WayPath worked in unison with the internal team at Rush Enterprises to help them comprehensively with data synchronization and document generation. WayPath ensured that while the client’s existing data was migrating, the system cross-checked the entire ecosystem for duplication and errors.WayPath also made sure the in-sync of data between the two systems worked as a bridging method until Dynamics 365 was up and running.

The Results

The newest version of Dynamics 365 delivered elevated operational efficiency.Furthermore, the organization can now generate numerous marketing forecasts and insights with just a few clicks based on numerous data and metrics.

Read the full case study.

Call or email us today to discuss your needs with our dedicated Microsoft Dynamics solutions experts.Contact WayPath today.

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