Microsoft Dynamics CRM Noted as Industry Leader by Both Gartner and Forrester Research

In the past month, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been noted as an industry leader by two independent analyst consultancies. Forrester Research named Microsoft Dynamics CRM a Leader in the Forrester Wave CRM Suites Customer Service Solutions for the third quarter of 2010, while Gartner named Dynamics a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, July 2010 report.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM was also acknowledged as an industry leader in June as part of the Forrester Wave CRM Suites for Midsized Organizations, The Forrester Wave CRM Suites for Large Organizations, and the Gartner 2010 Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers.

Gartner’s patented Magic Quadrant rates companies on the basis of two criteria: completeness of vision and ability to execute. Gartner says they weigh qualities such as product/service, overall viability, sales execution/pricing, customer experience and operations, product strategy, business model, innovation, etc. Based on their magic conversion of company’s completeness of vision into centimeters (“I think they have this much ability to execute”), the company may fit in one of four quadrants defined as Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries, and Niche Players.

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation

Courtesy of Gartner (July 2010)

Microsoft, along with and Oracle products, ranked thusly as a Leader, excelling in both completeness of vision and ability to execute. However, leads all the CRM products, Microsoft Dynamics included, as most vision completable and executabilitable.

Gartner noted Microsoft Dynamics CRM as strong in its integration with other Microsoft products, future cloud computing functionality, and large partner network for custom solutions. The analyst group cautioned against Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s lack of certain sales effectiveness and performance management functionalities, limited dashboards for reporting, cumbersome multi-window approach, and lack of mobile access without third parties.

Forrester Research selected vendors on four criteria: offers customer service solutions as part of a multifunctional CRM suite, provides functionality that spans multiple functional areas for customer service, has a strong presence in the customer service market, and has at least one product that our clients are thinking about.

As quoted from the report: “Microsoft gets high marks for flexible customer service solutions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM shines by offering customer service flexibility for large and midsized organizations. It supports flexible options in deployment (on-premises, on-demand and partner-hosted deployments); how to pay (license, subscribe, finance); and how to use (Outlook client, browser, SharePoint site, other interfaces). Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides strong support for: phone agents; call center infrastructure; agent collaboration tools; knowledge base; customer data management; analytics; email response management; architecture and platform; business process and workflow tools; integration; security; and Web 2.0 tools.”

But, as the report continues, things are not all perfectly peachy for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as Microsoft press releases would have you believe: “However, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides weak support for: self-service tools; self-service to live-service transition; customer forums; core field service capabilities; spare parts management; and depot repair. It does not provide industry-specific solution sets. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is best suited for organizations that are looking to buy a relatively full-featured customer service solution and that have made a commitment to a Microsoft infrastructure to lower their TCO in buying and managing business technologies.”

Courtesy of Forrester Research (July 2010)

Indeed, as shown above, Microsoft CRM is foiled once again by Salesforce; Microsoft strategy is just this much too weak.

Perhaps food for thought as Microsoft Dynamics CRM will soon finally be updated from its 2007 version to CRM 2011.

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