Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Gartner Magic Quadrant, Again

The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for sales force automation (SFA) has been published and Microsoft is once again in the Leaders Quadrant.

Another year, another Magic Quadrant.

One twist from previous quadrants, this year Gartner has separated Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-preFigure 1. Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force AutomationOne twist from previous quadrants, this year Gartner has separated Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premise and CRM Online, placing them both in its leader quadrant. The primary strengths of Dynamics CRM include integration to other Microsoft applications (the stack) including Outlook, Office, SharePoint, Lync and Skype. The new CRM ?process UI?, which will be fully available in October 2013), has already won praise for improving user experience.

According to Gartner: ?This Magic Quadrant for SFA, specifically for B2B sales professionals, has new entrants and reflects new market dynamics. Mobility via smartphones and tablets is on the rise, and social is becoming more important, while sales performance management plays a major role in our evaluation criteria.?

?Sales force automation (SFA) applications support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for B2B organizations? sales professionals. Core functionalities include account, contact and opportunity management. Additional add-on capabilities focus on improving the sales effectiveness of salespeople. Among those capabilities are sales configuration, guided selling, proposal generation and content management, and sales performance management support, including incentive compensation, quota, sales coaching and territory management.?

The bottom line on the top tier SFA applications is they are all pretty good. It?s more important to just make a decision and start using it. Cost should certainly be a consideration, after all, if they are all in the leaders quadrant, how can they be that much different? And don?t let the vendors do your TCO for you, some are, shall we say, ?a little less forthcoming? than others.

One of the primary keys to success is choosing a partner that can help guide you in your CRM journey. Yes, one can always ?go it alone? but that?s a lot like tackling your own home improvements. Yes, you can probably do it, and it will be an ok job in many cases. In others, though, it can be a complete disaster and end up costing you a lot more in the long run. It?s always better to have advice and guidance from a professional, BEFORE you get into trouble. The best partners will be that ?guiding light? to help get you going in the right direction. Once you are on the right path, then?s OK to spread your wings and take on as much as you want.

Choosing a partner might be easier said than done in some cases. One of the best sources, regardless of the actual application you choose, is to simply ask the vendor. The vendor has a vested interest in your success and they generally do a good job of telling you who their best partners are.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 “Official”

Microsoft has announced the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be available in the “fall of 2013”.

It is unfortunate that we did NOT hear an official release date, so, that gives Microsoft some wiggle room on what the definition of Fall is. I am all for quality releases and prefer a quality release over hitting a specific date, however, a date helps people with planning. As I learn more information on dates I’ll communicate that. The “unofficial” release date is October 2013. We saw a couple of dates slip late last year, so let’s hope Bob Stutz and company are better at hitting their targets this time around, and more importantly, communicating them in a timely fashion.

On to a few details.

The good news for all users is, this is a dual release for both Dynamics CRM Online as well as Dynamics CRM on-premise. The online version is officially called “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13”. Sound familiar? Yes, I know, real creative there, but, what’s in it, is more important than what they call it. Bottom line with Dynamics CRM, you have the power of choice. We still see a lot of clients that prefer to manage their own servers and software, with Dynaimcs CRM, you get to decide how to use it.

The official announcement:?http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Press/2013/Jul13/07-02DynamicsCRM13PR.aspx

This release includes a major User Interface overhaul. The user Experience has been “re-imagined” and will be a complete departure from previous versions. ?Below gives you some insight into what that new UI looks like:

Dynamics CRM Vision Experience UI screenshot

No official word yet on whether or not the previous user interface will be completely removed or allowed to be turned on if needed. The stated goal I’ve heard so far, is all screens and forms will be the new UI/UX with no switching back to “classic” views.

Another major area of focus is on process oriented experiences.?Process guidance, based on industry-leading best practices, will help teams more easily, e.g., ?move from lead to close?faster than ever before. Flexible and configurable, it gives your organization the ability to be agile in the face of change. Essentially CRM will guide users through their processes. It’s like having built in step by step guides to working with clients whether you are in marketing, sales, or service/delivery roles.

Dynamics CRM Vision Process Guidance

 

Also planned are new tablet and smartphone experiences?with access to the CRM functionality and analytics. Smartphone apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8 will follow shortly after. Here is a taste of the tablet experience.

?Dynamics CRM Vision Tablet Experience

Eager to weave Yammer’s successful enterprise social capabilities into more offerings, Microsoft has been making an effort to bring the technology to its business applications portfolio, including Office. Now, Dynamics CRM is getting in on the act.

Dynamics CRM 2013 will offer deeper Yammer integration, the new release will provide “capabilities for people to collaborate with each other and share customer knowledge through Yammer right within the CRM solution, enabling them to deliver amazing customer experiences,” Microsoft said in a statement. I can tell you we have started using Yammer internally for the last 6 months and see major improvements in collaboration and information sharing. If you are not familiar with Yammer, think of it as Facebook for your company, but really focused on teams working together.

Dynamics CRM Yammer Vision

In addition, Dynamics CRM 2013 will feature support and integration for MarketingPilot marketing automation. Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot, a provider of multi-channel marketing management software, late last year. I’ve had a little bit of hands and it’s has quite a few enhancements that you’ll be able to take advantage of. It has the usual suspects in Marketing Automation capabilities, including emails, landing pages, contact forms, and social media. Stay tuned for a deeper dive when we are given the ok to provide more details.

?Dynamics CRM with MarketingPilot Integration

Finally, Microsoft recently announced Lync and Skype integration which provides for sharing of contacts and the ability for the two applications to connect to each other. Included in the CRM 2013 release will be improved seamless support enabling instant access to either or both of these applications. If you are not familiar with Lync or Skype, think of these as Facetime for your company and customers. It’s pretty cool and provides productivity boosts with built-on phone calls, conference calls, video calls, and desktop sharing.

Dynamics CRM with Lync Integration?Dynamics CRM with Skype Integration

How Can Companies Minimize Layoffs By Cutting Costs With Medical Device Sales CRM Software?

How Can Companies Minimize Layoffs By Cutting Costs With Medical Device Sales CRM Software?

cut-costs-crm-software | Photo Courtesy of 401(K) 2013 http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355840185/Traditionally, medical device companies have focused on paper and pen, Excel spreadsheets and gut instinct, rather than adopting new technologies. Now, that?s changing, and companies are turning to tools such as medical device sales CRM software to improve internal processes and systems.

Recently, medical device company Zimmer Holdings announced that it will not saddle its distributors with the costs of the new medical device excise tax, according to an article on the MassDevice website. ?The company has spent several years streamlining its operations and looking for ways to cut costs in order to prepare for the tax,? the article explains.

On the one hand, it?s good that a very large medical device maker like Zimmer is not going to pass the cost on to its distributors, thereby doing its part to help reduce health care costs.

On the other hand, one of the ways they?re doing this is through a reduction in workforce. Last year, Zimmer announced significant outsourcing and layoffs, the MassDevice article reports, and was among the first to publicly blame its workforce cuts on the medical device excise tax.

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