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The dynamics of CRM in the digital era

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Within the mobile-first, cloud-first era, the business environment is being reshaped by technological trends that are altering consumer behaviour and is challenging conventional service models.
Businesses have to adapt if they are to convert threats and challenges into opportunities. This can be achieved by employing digital technology such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, which was launched today at Reimagine 2015, Microsoft South Africa’s conference for its business customers and partners.

Dynamics CRM 2015 takes intelligent customer engagement to the next level by delivering enhancements and innovations in five key areas namely productivity, social, mobility, analytics, and knowledge.

Doing more in less time, using fewer resources
While every CRM vendor is trying to connect sales, service and marketing systems with their productivity tools, Microsoft is seamlessly and deeply integrating Dynamics CRM with Office 365. For example, the new release includes an immersive Excel experience, enabling a sales manager to perform ‘what if’ scenarios in Excel and update their forecasts right from within CRM.

In addition, Dynamics CRM 2015 delivers a great experience with OneNote in CRM, making it much easier for sales teams to collaborate and share information about accounts and opportunities. Having users utilise software (Excel and OneNote) that they are already familiar with and use on a daily basis already, goes a long way in speeding up the adoption and usage rates of new features and capabilities, resulting in a greater and faster return on investment.

Social hits top gear
Dynamics CRM 2015 is introducing a completely reimagined social experience for companies, going beyond social listening and sentiment analysis to real social engagement. New social capabilities include a social centre where marketing, sales and service teams can monitor social topics and engage directly with social communities.

Also new is the added social CRM capabilities allowing companies to create end-to-end customer engagements from social posts and teams to monitor social topics. Social analytics is also enhanced with text mining, cloud visualisation and a social activity map that provides interactive, global and real-time visibility into social activity. Furthermore, there is also a completely reimagined user interface for social that puts data-rich information at a user’s fingertips.

Staying productive on-the-go
Many employees have to work from the field, where they need access to all of their documents, contacts, and corporate systems. Dynamics CRM 2015 delivers a seamless user experience across mobile devices including tablets and smartphones, in a ‘configure once, deploy everywhere’ model.

Mobile users interact with the same sales processes across all mobile devices. A mobile SDK (solutions developer kit) has also been added, enabling companies to easily extend and create their own mobile apps.

Knowledge and Analytics
In terms of knowledge, Dynamics CRM 2015 marks the start of Parature’s integration with Dynamics CRM for knowledge management. This means that customer service agents will have knowledge integrated into their daily service interactions out of the box.

Business intelligence has also been catered for as PowerBI Connectors for Microsoft Dynamics CRM have been added for out of the box integration. This means that sales, service and marketing professionals are able to analyse data with interactive dashboards and reports in Power BI, resulting in faster insights and decision-making for sales professionals.

“With the latest version of Dynamics CRM, we’ve made significant advancements across marketing, sales and service in a way that makes collaboration between roles natural and easy,” says Marc Gower, Dynamics Lead at Microsoft SA.

“In addition to a number of new capabilities, a sales collaboration panel has been introduced, which assists in breaking down the silos between sales and marketing, and more importantly culminating in more personalised customer experiences,” concludes Gower.