I just wrapped up my presentation and meetings at CRM Evolution 2011 in New York City and was energized by the conversations I had with analysts, partners, customers, and prospects. It was an interesting time to be in NYC.
On Monday I decided to spend some time walking around the city. It was a beautiful day in the Big Apple and the energy was infectious. In the afternoon I peeked at my Windows Phone and noticed the market was in rapid decline (DOW -$400). I headed over to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange to feel the buzz. I sat in a restaurant across the street from the exchange and overheard people talking about the uncertainty and volatility in the market. It got me to thinking about the role software and cloud services can play in a difficult economy, and how the Microsoft Dynamics promise of simplicity, value and agility have never been more important.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows businesses to realize enormous productivity gains. Companies in this economic environment are still expecting to grow their businesses and market share with fewer resources. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps organizations drive productivity, reduce complexity and all up IT expenditures. Two companies that exemplify this value are State of Illinois Department of Corrections and the TMF Group. These two organizations won the CRM Magazine 2011 Elite Award. Both companies have seen dramatic impacts to their business by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I encourage you to review their stories in more detail to see how they achieved such success.
Although it was a tough week in the market I still felt a buzz of optimism from the attendees at CRM Evolution.
On Monday evening we had a customer and partner dinner hosted by Ray Wang (Constellation Research) and Brent Leary (CRM Essentials). We discussed the state of the market and leading trends we see in the industry such as:
1. Cloud Computing – Companies are continually looking for lower costs with higher return. Economic pressure is putting more demands on technology solutions to help streamline their business and make employees and business more productive… basically doing more with less. This also helps companies manage their budgets and finances differently by pushing the investment to an operational cost versus a capital expense. Research shows that by 2013 38% of the CRM market will be purchasing cloud based CRM solutions. This is a huge transformation in the market.
2. Consumerization of IT – People expect similar experiences, tools and devices to be used in both personal and business environments. The lines between personal life and business are blurring more and more every day so business application and cloud services need to evolve to provide these integrated experiences.
3. Social Connectivity – Business people want to be connected and communicate differently. The world of consumer social networks are now being embraced by corporations that want to communicate differently and leverage social channels and capabilities built into their business applications to make them more productive and expand their opportunity base and work the way they want to work. This is not to say business applications need to be Facebook but they need to help people collaborate more effectively across many channels and mediums. The business application of social needs to be actionable and targeted versus “noise”. Collaboration, actionable intelligence and contextual relevance are what make the promise of social so exciting in the enterprise.
4. Mobile Solutions – We are in a mobile world so in order to be as productive as possible we need solutions to support communicating online, offline or as I visit clients in the field.
The discussion aligned extremely well with what we hear from customers and prospects and our approach to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Customers tell us they want a solution that is:
1. Familiar – Solutions that work the way people do whether that is in Microsoft Outlook, via social channels or via mobility they want flexible and intuitive applications that drive productivity.
2. Intelligent –Dashboards that highlight most important items so you can get to what you need in order to be more productive and effective.
3. Connected –Collaboration tools that allow you to engage the right people, with the right resources at the right time with minimal effort. Whether it is leveraging the Microsoft stack, social features or mobility providing the right automated tools to help you be as effective as possible while managing IT costs.
4. And offers Choice – Customers don’t want to be forced to deploy the way the application or service vendor’s product works they want to deploy based on their needs. Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives you the option to deploy based on your business requirements.
I would love to hear from you. Did you attend CRM Evolution 2011? How is social being used in your organization? Are you using CRM in creative ways to help drive productivity gains in your business?