Are two systems better than one?


Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM are two separate products and Microsoft have done the minimum to replicate data between them. Surely then, some of Microsoft’s competitors such as NetSuite and SAP Business One will beat that hands down with their single, integrated solutions?

Well I don’t agree, I’ve tried the CRM in both and it’s not a patch on Dynamics CRM. While I’m sure you’ll write that off as bias, I’ll explain why I think I’m on the money.

The major issue ever since the first contact management system came into existence is getting the data updated. Millions of organisations have invested in a CRM system only to see the money wasted because their staff don’t use them and maintain the information in them. Once data accuracy’s gone you’ve lost – especially with CRM. Use that out-of-date data for a campaign after that and it can mean reputational damage.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the only system not still prone to that failure. Why? Because Dynamics CRM is part of Outlook – a master stroke by Microsoft. Email has become the key business application. No one who has contact with customers can be without it and, more to the point, Outlook is the most used email application in business by a massive percentage.

Immediately, with no training, your staff are in your CRM system as soon as they turn on their computers. What’s more emails, appointments and contacts are logged into that system without the users even doing anything differently.

So it doesn’t take long before users are telling you how useful it is to have access to emails sent to other people, having up to date contacts and accounts complete with transaction information and being able to see all the activities that have happened with each customer and vendor.

And the integration with the ERP software? If you are using Dynamics NAV, then Microsoft are engineering both products to talk to each other with minimum replicated data and so the users pops seamlessly between them without them even realising it.

That means you can be in an account or opportunity in CRM and create a quote or order through NAV where the items, pricing and availability logic is just ‘there’. In fact with Microsoft making all their Dynamics and Office products very similar in look and feel, even we are hard pressed to tell which one you’re in.

So why not have two of the most successful applications in their respective sectors over the last five years rather than a compromise that tries to do both?