We live in a world where the customer is our new CEO! Where companies can only grow if they are attractive for new customers. And at the same time deliver outstanding services to their existing customers. So if your customers are your biggest asset, it is smart to pay maximum attention to this asset. And to do everything you can to make them happy. And keep them satisfied.
Traditionally companies started their process automation with things like accounting, order management and warehousing in an ERP system like Dynamics ERP. Sales and marketing processes were scheduled for a later stage of the implementation. Any then often these processes were covered with the CRM module of Dynamics NAV, AX, GP or SOL. For obvious reasons! It was easy to implement. Offered great integration. And was good for an acceptable TCO value. Many sales departments however felt this as a compromise. And not without reasons! ERP is built around the structured order, creation and delivery processes. Where in CRM the unstructured (potential) customer is the central point. So that’s two completely different angles!
The Microsoft strategy
For many years Microsoft’s predecessors Navision, Damgaard and Great Plains developed CRM functionality into their ERP offerings. But a few years ago Microsoft decided to change that strategy. Since then the company puts all her development efforts regarding the CRM domain in the Dynamics CRM product. And not in the CRM modules of Dynamics NAV, GP, SOL and AX anymore. Today there’s really no indication that this strategy will chance.
Your customer needs
Where the development of the CRM module in the several Dynamics ERP solutions slowed down, the buying behavior of prospective customers changed in an unbelievable past over the last few years! And is still changing. The impact of more powerful customers and significant changing buying behavior is that companies can only survive with the best possible tools for sales, marketing, service and social. And unfortunately that’s not the CRM module of Dynamics ERP anymore!
If you ignore this….
In the next 3 to 5 years all current Dynamics ERP customers will buy a professional CRM system. If you’re lucky they will buy Microsoft Dynamics CRM. But if you’re unlucky they will buy something else. Like Salesforce.com. That’s none of your (ERP) business, you think? Well, you’ll be surprised! Today Salesforce.com is well known for their strong CRM offering. But they also have a development platform called SalesForce 1. And today they are able to also deliver an ERP system, called Financialforce. What will happen if your ancient NAV version 3.70 user or AX version 3.0 user with loads of customizations will see today’s version of FinancialForce? Please check this video here: http://www.financialforce.com/
The entrance of SFDC in your Dynamics ERP customer base will work as a Trojan horse. Over time they will also steal your NAV, GP, SOL or AX customer. And you’ll end up with nothing….
Cost versus value
Using the CRM module of Dynamics NAV is of course a cheaper solution than implementing Dynamics CRM as well. So is walking to your customers and leave your car at home. But most companies don’t buy ERP and CRM solutions with the goal to limit the costs. They acquire these systems to become more effective. So they focus on the value! And like it or not – the sales and marketing people at your customers and prospects will find more value in Dynamics CRM than in the CRM module of your Dynamics ERP solution.
So Dynamics ERP partners that want to protect their existing customer base and find new customers more easily have to add Dynamics CRM to their value proposition. Here I see two possible scenarios. Either you will market, sell, deliver and support Dynamics CRM yourself. Or you go for a partnering model. For smaller ERP partners it will probably be smarter to co-operate with an existing Dynamics CRM partner. At WPC 2014 Microsoft reported that already 28 of the top-50 Dynamics ERP partners worldwide have built up substantial Dynamics CRM units. You can find CRM partners open for this kind of co-operation through your Microsoft contacts of via your local Master VAR.
The cost of this is…
Building your own CRM practice demands for an investment. That’s why a co-operation model might be an interesting alternative. Both options demands for a time and money investment. But at the end the cost of ignoring all this and do nothing will cost you more! And this is probably going to be more expensive every day you wait longer….
Should you, as a Dynamics NAV ERP partner, need any support on this, please contact us.