According to Gartner, global CRM software revenue reached $39.5 billion at the end of 2017. Its market dominance is set to continue in 2018, predicted to reign as the largest and fastest-growing software market at a growth rate of 16%. With the evolution of IoT and forthcoming GDPR, it’s no wonder more businesses are looking to benefit from new CRM technology that will drive maximum value – as well as keep the business compliant. Let’s take a look at what can you do to extend the life of your Enterprise CRM system and drive even more opportunity for your business.

A Broader Reach Beyond Sales and Marketing

Traditionally, CRM use has been focussed on exactly what its name implies – relationship management between a business and its customers. And usually as a siloed or separate application, also used for sales and marketing with little or no integration with other systems or software.

What many enterprises are now realising that by seeing the broader potential of CRM, it is possible to extend its life by utilising it across different areas of the business. Much more than simply a tool for customer management, CRM can be integrated as a versatile system applicable to myriad of projects; to fulfil a variety of business needs.

“In order to maximise its capability, you must look at CRM in a new light – as an extended web-based framework – giving you greater control, more flexibility, and better connectivity. It should be used to reach out beyond sales, picking up on the wider relationships that an organisation may have; within the context of what their main activity is.”  Paul Muggleton – CRM Service Director, HSO

Bridging the gap between complex relationships

CRM should be considered a set of tools, able to help your organisation with the specifics around its relationships no matter your business type. Should your company for example be a membership-based organisation, you may not have that traditional customer-vendor relationship; instead you might work with participants and investors, for which CRM has the capacity to help manage.

Global manufacturers Kohler Co. exemplify thinking outside the box with CRM, using it to improve its EMEA accounts payable processes for suppliers. By combining Microsoft Office 365 with using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, Kohler Co automated invoices via emails and reduced the number of supplier queries – which they can now track. The new CRM solution frees up around a quarter the accounts team capacity, previously tied up with an overly complex, time-consuming and error-prone process. The result: stronger supplier relationships and better leverage for negotiations.

Utilising add-ons to maximise efficiency

In addition to the core framework, functionality can also be extended through the tactical use of third party applications. These range from tools which improve the efficiency of the framework through to complete applications which supplement the core solution. These are available from a variety of Microsoft Partners and through Microsoft AppSource and can run either as hosted applications, on Microsoft Azure or within Dynamics CRM.

Upgrading was traditionally a big decision to make, due to the high cost and risk implications. Now that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is cloud based, the incremental upgrades in functionality, provided by Microsoft, are significantly easier to administer. This applies to both the application and the framework. The combination of new framework tools, coupled with the variety of add-on products, has in recent years, widened the ability to extend the functionality of the solution.

“We’re now working on a number of different internet connected products. There’s a really nice integration between Azure’s IoT hub and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, so you can automatically place orders based on the change in status of one of your products out in the field. It also has asset management and field service capability, which is really nice to be able to offer.” – Marcus Judge, Director of Kohler Co. IT Services EMEA

<<Read more about the Kohler Co. story>>

Realising the potential of CRM

When it comes to the available suite of tools, they offer the ability to build much more complex relationships; extending the core functionality of CRM even further. By adding-on the tools and solutions you require, you can realise the full potential of your enterprise CRM and cater to the exact needs of your business and its users.

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