Wednesdays with Will: Microsoft Dynamics CRM & Office 365 – Working In Perfect Harmony
By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
Welcome back! Last week we talked about the recent expansion in Office 365 to include Dynamics CRM. This week we are going to discuss how you can enhance your experience in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online with Microsoft Office 365. Separately, they work well as standalone solutions, solving different day-to-day challenges. Put them together, though, and you have managed to enhance both of these valuable business tools for the user as well as the administrator.
Over the past 3-4 years there has been prevailing sentiment for businesses to move to Microsoft Office 365. The most common, and logical, starting point for an organization would be their email (Exchange). Gone are the days where you have to buy new server hardware every few years, allocate the space in your office for said hardware, buy new software to upgrade, and pay for an anti-spam solution to keep you safe. Oh, and let’s not forget the maintenance that goes along with keeping it running in good order. All the above challenges have been either eliminated or reduced by Office 365 Exchange Online. There are also other parts to the solution such as file sharing (SharePoint/OneDrive), video conferencing (Skype For Business), crowdsourced collaboration (Yammer), and the tried and true Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) that can be consumed through Office 365 as well.
As you know, much like Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online is also a platform that was designed to improve efficiencies in accomplishing daily tasks as well as enhance collaboration between your employees. In addition to that, Dynamics CRM is a process driven user experience tool that gathers analytics for business intelligence. These qualities are important when you are looking to implement a sales automation, marketing automation, or services automation solution for your organization. Dynamics CRM was designed to be used for these functions out-of-the-box. Yes, customization is required to make it hum along to the rhythm of your particular business but all the major pieces to make it work are there. But how does it all tie into Microsoft Office 365?
Let’s start with the reasons why your users will love it. All the featured applications I mentioned above (Exchange, SharePoint/OneDrive, Skype For Business, Yammer, and Office Suite) are logically integrated and used throughout the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online experience. Through Dynamics CRM Online you are able to synchronize emails, tasks, contacts, and appointments with Exchange Online and your Outlook. Documents that you save in Dynamics CRM pertaining to an account or opportunity are also synchronized and saved to SharePoint. You have the ability to click on a phone number in Dynamics CRM Online to make a phone call by using Skype For Business. One of the best new features, Office 365 Groups, allows non-Dynamics CRM users a single location to share documents, conversations, meetings, and notes with Dynamics CRM users. This would be helpful in the scenario of sales opportunity where the input of non-CRM users could be instrumental in winning a deal.
From an administrative perspective, Dynamics CRM Online is a familiar experience if you are already using Office 365. This is because Dynamics CRM users can be created and managed through the Office 365 admin center portal. You have the ability to do many other things through here such as manage billing and licenses, manage passwords, view self-serve service health, track planned maintenance, or leverage the Message Center. The Message Center is a great resource because it can tell you how to fix or prevent issues, plan for service changes, or just to stay informed of new or updated features. You can even request service to resolve an issue through the Message Center.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to go deeper into how these tools will apply in different scenarios such as sales automation, marketing automation, and services automation. I hope you enjoyed and found this week’s article informative. If you’re interested in some how-to related CRM material, check out blogs by my colleague Ben Ward here. Till next time…
About the author:
Will has over 16 years of experience in business development, team management, and project management. Will has worked at Managed Solution for over four years and is currently advising businesses on best CRM practices and implementations. Will’s focus is on process improvement and analytics specializing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Will is a Microsoft Certified Professional, with certifications in Presales Technical Specialist – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Sales Specialist- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Application, Sales Specialist- Office 365, Sales Specialist- SMB Infrastructure and Sales Specialist- Datacenter.
Other articles by Will Marchesano:
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.
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