MS Dynamics CRM 4.0 Review

“Dynamics CRM 4.0 Review – 5 things to love and hate”

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Dynamics CRM is not exactly a small business CRM (my own company has 100 users) but here are the 5 things I love and hate about it. Hope it’s useful

What I love about Dynamics CRM

  1. Usability: Clean, fast, and easy to understand interface.
  2. Integration with Windows: Works seamlessly with XP, IE, Active Directory and especially Outlook.
  3. Off-the-self Richness: OUt of the box it is packed full of features. Important when you want to get up and running fast.
  4. Configurable: More options than a bag full of swiss army knives. Granular security, integrated designer tool and a good query tool.
  5. Easy of data import: Unless you are converting unusual historical data the job is relatively easy. Well structured data model and if the data is in outlook the job is trivial.

What I hate about Dynamics CRM

  1. Cost: Unless you have already committed to Microsoft across the organisation this can be expensive. Even the BPOS model quickly gets expensive after 20 users
  2. Desktop Performance: Even after applying all the patchs, archiving your mail and adding RAM expect a performance hit. The background process will slow things down and if you have a salesman on an older laptop expect rebellion.
  3. No unified search: In the new google world we expect to be able to easily search for a phrase or string. Any “advanced search” will require you to build a query or report. Just not acceptable in a Web 2.0 world.
  4. Stuck in MS World. Dynamics misbehaves if you don’t use IE (eg Firefox) and it is optimised for Outlook which is to say runs poorly withanything else.
  5. Heavy: Dynamics assumes you have a mature sales system. Try running any of the canned reports and you’ll quickly see what I mean. The relationships, product definitions, pricing tables, invoice module and marketing manager require that all the tables are setup before everything works correctly. Most SME’s don’t have their services that well defined.

I could go on about XRM (pretty amazing), realtime integrity checking, Workflow, report schedule etc., but for business users it would make little difference.

All said and done it is one of the best CRM packages I’ve used (I’ve used 5 others).

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