SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 are both very powerful applications, however integrating SharePoint’s content management and the Dynamics advanced customer relationship management system takes both to a whole new level.
Integrating the two will enable will enable customer services and sales teams to manage documents related to customers from within the CRM system, it is simply a case of making a link to the appropriate folders and files that are set up on SharePoint. This is so easy to do that it improves the efficiency of users, their organisation levels and the responsiveness by reducing the amount of time that is required to manage documents that are stored in a system that hasn’t been integrated (or even worse a paper based system).
The user interface of Microsoft Dynamics CRM was designed to be familiar to anybody who has ever used Outlook and it is not a stretch to say that if you can use Outlook, you can use Dynamics CRM.
Of course, as SharePoint and Dynamics CRM are both Microsoft products, they have been designed to share information and data. The interface between SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics is seamless and users end up with an experience akin to using a single application. As an example, documents that are stored on a linked SharePoint server can be opened and even edited by simple clicking on the hyperlink stored within CRM.
Also, documents that are held within the CRM system can be viewed via the SharePoint system. This means that users of SharePoint can access customer info without having to buy more CRM licenses, something that will save a fair bit of cash in these lean times.
Advantages of Integrating SharePoint 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011
- Management of customer related documents is improved– links to client related documents held in the SharePoint system can be recorded within the CRM customer records and you can jump from one to another.
- Reducing the license costs – SharePoint users can view information held on CRM from within SharePoint. There is no need to purchase additional CRM licenses.
- Easy to use – the interface is completely seamless, making it simple and quick for end-users to move between CRM and SharePoint.
- Data security – The viewing of documents can be restricted to staff authorised by administrators.
- Cost effective – It’s cheaper to integrate the two systems rather than add bespoke usability to either system.
- Improved reports – Better business intelligence gives management a better insights into performance and underpins the decisions they make.SharePoint can be tailored to produce reports based on sales, marketing and customer service data held in CRM.
Now we’ve looked at the multitude of reasons that you would want to integrate Dynamics CRM and SharePoint, we’ll look at some of the specific examples of just how the two applications working together can optimise your customer relationship process.
Campaign information, collateral and data can be stored by the marketing department in SharePoint and then use the marketing functionality within Dynamics CRM to see campaigns through to fruition.
Sales people can holds proposals, quotes, invoices, contracts and orders within SharePoint and link straight to each document from the customer record within the CRM system.
Customer services representatives will be able to hold client records, all correspondence and other documents that are related to the communication with customers within the SharePoint environment, and just like the sales department, access them through clickable links within CRM
Of course, all this leads to effective business intelligence gathering, allowing the management team to make informed decisions. By combining CRM and SharePoint, the breadth and depth of the reporting function is expanded significantly. The BI functionality of SharePoint can be used to examine the data and information held within the CRM system at a far deeper and more involved level, more so than anything you can do using CRM on it’s own.
It is becoming more commonplace to integrate Dynamics CRM 2011 and SharePoint 2010 as more companies are made aware of the advantages of facilitating the flow of data in their customer service, marketing and sales departments. Access to data is improved as is capability to examine it effectively. It also allows the management team to have full visibility of their business performance which is essential to the understanding of their customer base and their marketplace.
By looking to involve highly experienced and accredited CRM and SharePoint developers and making use of their expertise in developing these platforms, companies can make sure that a fully integrated SharePoint/CRM solutions is adapted to their exact needs and ensure that is is made into an essential component in business operations.
Neil Cross is Managing Director of Advanced 365, Advanced 365 focuses on the delivery of managed services, cloud computing, it outsourcing and software as a service (SaaS), utilising its application development capabilities as a unique differentiator to create exceptional business advantage for their customers.