As a charity or membership body, are you struggling with legacy platforms but unsure of what new CRM option might be best for you?

You may even be using Dynamics CRM currently but finding that it’s not delivering what you need?

Whichever camp you fall into, there are a lot of myths and misinformation floating around about Dynamics CRM. Quite often, large technology companies like Microsoft and Salesforce use a marketing speak that appeals to large corporates. Microsoft’s branding aside, with the right partner, Dynamics CRM can often be the difference between digital transformation success or failure. Therefore, it’s vital you fully understand it before dismissing it as an option.

How many of this 6 have you heard?

Myth 1: “You can’t change Dynamics suppliers easily – changing suppliers means ‘starting again’ in the worst case, and almost certainly means a great deal of re-work at best.”

Not true. You can change Dynamics suppliers without starting again.

We often come across instances where Dynamics has been used incorrectly and either a lack of platform or industry experience can flaw an implementation. While this is regrettable, it’s not often the case that the issues require starting from scratch. Through our “Migration to Happiness” approach, we aim to retain as much of the existing implementation at the outset and fix what is already in place. We do this by looking at the issues, evaluating their impact against the fix and matching that to the organisational priorities. In most cases, a Migration to Happiness process means that we retain a lot of the existing investment and provide value where it’s needed most within the organisation.

You don’t need to have your time or budget wasted. It would of course be better if the Dynamics based solution was implemented correctly at the outset. That is why it is best to use a proven, certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner with proven, repeatable membership and charity-based solutions at the outset. Look for partners that can demonstrate existing solutions, intellectual property and a commitment to the sector through their own products.

Myth 2: “Dynamics is more expensive than Salesforce – they give out free licences, that’s got to be better!”

Not true. Salesforce is often more expensive for Not for Profits.

While Salesforce is undoubtedly a good platform for managing sales pipelines, it can be a very expensive platform to customise and use for other purposes. Salesforce may appear cheaper for not-for-profits at a licensing level but look a little deeper and you realise that the platform charges quite a lot more when you want to tailor the system to your needs. And if you need something to manage your relationships and not just your sales, you will need to customise it.

When you apply this to a membership or charity based organisation, their cheaper offerings quickly evaporate. Additionally, their membership specific solution providers have to use the more expensive Salesforce licenses to enable their products. Additionally, there are fewer Salesforce partners in the UK membership sector which means that your options are limited when it comes to support. This lack of viable options results in higher total cost of ownership.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is perfectly suited to organisations of all sizes, providing a range of licenses from as low as £6 per user per month through to the most expensive at £86.70. Compared to Saleforce’s range of £20 to £240 with the most popular license costing £120 per user per month.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates seamlessly with Office 365, the most popular cloud-based office productivity offering used widely by organisations of all sizes. Salesforce requires 3rd party integrations to connect to Office 365 which makes integration much more expensive

Microsoft’s Not for Profit licensing schemes which typically see up to 80% savings for charities and educational institutions. If you are a registered charity, simply register on the TT Exchange website or contact us to get a better understanding of your licensing options.

Myth 3: “Dynamics cannot handle high volumes of transnational data.”

Not true. It was originally developed for exactly that.

Trillium’s Dynamics 365 customers include the Royal College of Physicians, Chartered Institute of Taxation & the Association of Tax Technicians, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Civil Service Motoring Association and Goodwood. What is common with all these customers? They all use Dynamics 365 / CRM to manage their members' data in one platform that brings together all aspects of their organisation into one single source of truth.

Handling larger data sets within Dynamics 365 requires skilled and experienced solution architects to ensure the data is correctly managed. At Trillium we take pride in our depth of experience and enterprise approach to solution design. When we are asked to assist clients with their failing Dynamics implementation, 9 times out of 10, the issues relate to poor solution design, most often caused by generalist Microsoft partners who lack an understanding of the industry requirements or the platform itself.

If you value the capability and flexibility that a Dynamics 365 solution brings to your organisation, ensure you are using certified Microsoft partners with industry experience and a proven track record.

Myth 4: "Dynamics only toolkit - you have to build everything yourself from scratch."

Not true. The reality is that Dynamics 365 comes out the box with a vast number of features that can be used on day one with ease.

It is true that membership and charities will require some industry specific solutions, but this is where Trillium’s Solution Accelerators build on the extensive capability of the 365 platform. These are proven modular solutions for Membership, Events, Financial transactions, Fundraising, CPD, Boards and Committees, Exams & Training or Publications that provide the ideal base that can be implemented in weeks.

These Solution Accelerators are designed to work as they are or customised to meet requirement. They are fully supported and maintained by Trillium, are 100% compatible with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online or On-Premise and can be licensed on a subscription or purchase model, complete with source code and documentation.

Our Solution Accelerators do just that; they accelerate the time to deploy industry solutions. When we implemented our Events solution for the Chartered Institute for Taxation, we were ready to go live in weeks. Not months.

If you are looking for a way to de-risk your Dynamics 365 implementation for your membership association or charity, these provide the ideal basis. Again, it’s about your partner rather than the platform.

Myth 5: “You need technical Dynamics resources to get the most out of it – nothing can be done yourself.”

Not true. Dynamics 365 provides a number of no code features that let you do everything from creating personalised dashboards and reports through to creating workflows and integrations without the need to write any code.

Microsoft Flow is included with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 license and this provides an ever-growing number of integrations to 3rd party applications. Need to create a text message whenever someone registers for an event? Connect to Twillo and send messages in minutes. Need to look up a postcode to determine a member’s regional rate? Create a Flow using Bing Maps to do the calculation for you.

Additionally, the Microsoft Dynamics App store provides over 900 ready-made solutions and integrations that you can install in minutes. These range from productivity enhancement through to finance integrations.

Users have access to a vast array of documentation and how to videos available online through the Content Library or the Microsoft Virtual Academy to access free training.

When Trillium implements a solution on Dynamics 365, we provide hands on training and support throughout the project and after to ensure that users have all the capability they need. Most of our clients have limited technical resources. They rely on us to get the most out of their investment and to support their teams.

Myth 6: “Dynamics is only for large organisations – it’s over complicated and overkill for SMEs.”

This is not true. Dynamics 365 is flexible platform, capable of supporting a broad range of organisations of all sizes and sectors.

Trillium supports many smaller organisations using Dynamics 365. These include smaller organisations such as the British Association of Art Therapists, The BioIndustry Association, The Microbiology Society and others with less and 40 users through to larger organisations with hundreds and thousands of users. Our solutions mean it’s easy to tailor the system to your organisation and focus only on what you need.

No matter the size of your organisation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers something for everyone. It provides a single view of your key relationships across all departments, all within a single application. This means it’s much easier to integrate to your website, social media channels and other communications activities, presenting the customer, member or donor with a consistent view of the organisation. This is as important for SMEs as large organisations.

By comparison, proprietary systems (that are not platform based), are very good at the one thing they are designed for - but nothing else. This leads to a proliferation of other business system silos that don’t integrate out the box. In turn, your relationships (internally and externally) become siloed and one dimensional and makes getting a “single source of truth” view of the customer, member or donor is much harder. This can be even more challenging for smaller organisations who don’t have the resource to compensate for this with manual intervention. 

Digitally engaged SMEs, that value their relationships, are seeing the benefits of platforms like Dynamics 365 and are migrating away from siloed systems. This is mainly because Dynamics 365 can more efficiently and effectively enable your team’s digital transformation ambitions for the future.

Conclusion

There are plenty of myths floating around about all CRM platforms, so the key thing is to do thorough research on each and not be influenced only by what you’ve heard. The other key consideration is your partner. It’s the right partner with the right platform and the right approach that will deliver success.

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