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What to expect from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is a CRM platform that can be used by businesses of all sizes to manage all aspects of their B2B and B2C engagement strategies.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform used to manage the sales, marketing and customer support facets of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) engagement strategies.

Dynamics CRM 2015 can be licensed as an on-premises, software as a service (SaaS) or a hybrid architecture. On-premises applications require organizations to use Microsoft Windows operating systems and Microsoft server technology. The platform's SaaS offering (Dynamics CRM Online) can be accessed using the following Web browsers: Apple Safari, Google Chrome on Google Nexus 10 and Windows, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox on Windows. The platform is also available as a mobile app for use on Android, Apple and Windows devices.

The platform is suited for companies of all sizes, providing users with core CRM functions such as account management and lead generation, as well as enhanced marketing, sales, analytics and social CRM capabilities. Dynamics CRM 2015 also features integration with popular Microsoft Office tools such as Excel, OneNote and Outlook, as well as bulk data import services.

For marketing tasks, Dynamics CRM 2015 features tools for email marketing, lead management, multichannel campaign management and social marketing. This provides users with several ways to connect with potential and existing clients. And when combined with the platform's sales-oriented tools for account management and customer insights, users are able to access, update, and track all customer data, which provides them with accurate and detailed client data in real time.

To help organizations evaluate and improve their customer interactions Dynamics CRM 2015 features tools for marketing and sales analytics. The platform features Power BI, Microsoft's tool for data visualization. Power BI lets users create visual reports (charts, graphs, data stories) using data found in Dynamics CRM 2015 or in Excel spreadsheets located in or outside of the platform. Users can also create custom dashboards in Power BI that let them track data from one location, cutting down on time spent compiling and searching for essential data.

With social media playing an increasing role in CRM activities, Dynamics CRM 2015 features Microsoft Social Engagement tools. Users can engage customers on their organization's social media accounts directly from within the platform, as well as monitor these social media platforms to find out what customers are saying about their organization. Users can take the data gathered from these interactions and use text mining, cloud visualization, and social activity mapping functions to determine trends and create more effective and customer-centric social campaigns.

Integration with Excel, OneNote and Outlook means that users can quickly and easily access the functions of these programs from within Dynamics CRM 2015. OneNote integration allows users to create and view notes on an account-by-account basis, and can include audio, drawings, photos, spreadsheets and/or text. This helps ensure that users are provided on-the-fly data that may affect interactions with a particular account. Outlook integration allows users to quickly create new account or interaction records and to access email address-specific lead and sales data.

Pricing and licensing for the on-premises edition of Dynamics CRM 2015 is handled on a case-by-case basis. For its SaaS offering, the platform has several editions available, including:

  • Essential ($15 per user, per month), which provides users only limited CRM functions.
  • Basic ($30 per user, per month), which is best suited for entry-level CRM users. It features tools for account, contact and lead management.
  • Professional ($65 per user, per month), which provides enhanced tools for marketing, sales and service like Social Listening Professional, Dynamics Marketing Sales Collaboration and Unified Service Desk.
  • Enterprise ($200 per user, per month), which provides all the tools available in the Professional edition, plus full access to Dynamics Marketing Enterprise and Parature Enterprise.

Worth noting is that Dynamics CRM 2015 allows organizations to mix and match multiple editions based on user need. This is particularly useful for enterprise-level organizations, as it allows them to choose which customer relations personnel are granted higher-level permissions and capabilities. It also reduces unnecessary costs.

There are several service and support plans available to Dynamics CRM 2015 users (which can be seen following the links provided). Organizations can preview the platform before purchasing with a free 30-day trial for up to 25 users that includes full functionality.

The latest version of the platform is Dynamics CRM 2015, but Microsoft still supports Dynamics CRM 2013 and Dynamics CRM 2011. The latest version features increased social engagement tools, enhanced customer insight functions and integration with Parature for increased enterprise knowledge management capabilities.

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