Is it time for you to do the same?

 Understanding and retaining customers is critical to the success of any organization. This concept is the core tenant for customer relationship management (CRM) solutions deployed by businesses around the world. To be effective and deliver a real return on investment, a CRM solution needs to be easily accessible, widely adopted and enable people to get the information they need from it to easily do their jobs.

Key challenges with business applications, such as CRM and ERP, in the past have been low user adoption and high cost. Applications have operated in silos with very few people able to get any useful data from them. They were hard to use and inflexible, forcing some businesses to invest millions of dollars to customize them to a point where they would meet their business needs. In fact, through my travels across the world, I have met with hundreds of customers that shared their frustration about being stuck in the electronic concrete of legacy applications - stuck in the quagmire of complexity, inflexibility and low end-user adoption - and the desire to break free from it.

Today, as Oracle touts its CRM offerings at Oracle OpenWorld 2011, we are asking customers why they should settle for a CRM solution that is expensive, inflexible and hard to use while continuing on a forced march toward Fusion. At Microsoft, we asked ourselves this about three-and-a-half years ago, and we are glad we did.

As you know, Microsoft is a global enterprise, with more than 40,000 sales, marketing and service professionals in more than 100 countries around the world. Microsoft's sales force manages relationships with more than 145,000 business customers and partners. Automating daily tasks and integrating valuable data and other key resources are crucial enablers to the efficiency of the sales force. Three-and-a-half years ago, Microsoft had an outdated Siebel solution that was too difficult to use: input of information took excessive time, data got lost and, because users really disliked the system, adoption was dismal leading to overall lost productivity for the company.

Microsoft CIO Tony Scott, an IT industry leader and change-driver for whom I have immense respect, recognized the need for a better CRM solution at the company. Like many other organizations considering a big technology upgrade, he wanted a solution that could be used enterprisewide, provide flexibility to customize to the needs of various business groups, be easy to deploy and, most of all, would deliver measurable value. Microsoft IT evaluated the CRM deployment in terms of productivity savings across the company, cumulative program costs, return on investment and employee satisfaction using the CRM system - criteria that may resonate with you.

Tony and his team worked alongside our product development teams to infuse sales team feedback into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, giving this product enhanced BI capabilities and the ability to personalize Microsoft Dynamics CRM to meet end-user needs. Today, this product is widely used across the company and, as of earlier this year, we are completely free from Siebel CRM. In terms of benefits from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, user satisfaction is at an all-time high with 90 percent adoption in the first 30 business days. Since deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the company has saved $10 million a year in reduced operations and support costs and has realized more than $80 million in sales productivity gains.

All businesses are changing, Tony observes, and CIOs need to understand how it's going to change, and how fast. We need systems that allow companies to take advantage of market conditions and market opportunities more quickly. It is all about agility and a shorter time to market.

Let me ask you: Are you ready to be liberated from Oracle Siebel CRM? Microsoft Dynamics CRM is available today, so you don't have to waste time waiting for some future solution. Read more and try it today at www.LiberateYourCRM.com.

If you're a former Oracle Siebel CRM customer who made the switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I'd love to hear from you!

 

Michael Park
Corporate Vice President
Microsoft Business Solutions