By: Karen Kroll
By integrating an Office 365 subscription with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, businesses can leverage the power of two programs designed to work together.
“People are already paying for these products. Often, the products can do everything they want,” especially when they work together, says Kyle Welliver, inside sales representative with Power Objects, an HCL company and a Dynamics CRM partner. Welliver hosted the recent MSDynamicsWorld webinar, Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics CRM: Introduction to Out-of-the-Box Integrations.
The key, of course, is knowing how to make the integrations happen. In an interview following the webinar, Welliver noted that over the past few years, Microsoft has made a point of getting its internal departments to work together. That’s helped to streamline integrations between the solutions within Office 365 and Dynamics CRM.
In the webinar, Welliver focused on three applications within Office 365: Outlook, SharePoint and Skype for Business. He reviewed the benefits and mechanics of integrating each with Dynamics CRM.
Welliver used a hypothetical account, Blue Yonder Airlines, to show how an integration between CRM and Outlook can make many tasks related to working with a client easier to complete. From within the CRM solution, he opened the Blue Yonder Airlines account. Because the CRM was integrated with Outlook, it was possible to see activities like emails, calendar appointments, and phone calls.
Welliver then launched the Outlook web app. Because he’d also downloaded the CRM app, he was able to get information, such as business opportunities available with the account, from the CRM system. “You can dive into the information from the app,” Welliver said.
As many of its users know, Dynamics CRM manages data, but isn’t developed for storing documents. SharePoint Online, by contrast, is designed to manage documents. To that end, it offers features like versioning, or the ability to check a document in and out.
Say a salesperson receives a signed agreement from a customer and uploads it to Dynamics CRM. When this is integrated with SharePoint, it’s possible for users to find data, such as pricing information, from within Dynamics CRM, and then to use SharePoint to work with the document. SharePoint also allows users to sync documents to their desktops.
Welliver briefly discussed OneNote, which Microsoft describes as a “digital notebook for capturing and organizing everything across your devices.” He recommended it as a way to manage notes created both internally and externally, and for collaborating. He added that it’s possible to integrate OneNote usage into CRM.
Skype for Business
Welliver walked through a potential integration between Dynamics CRM and Skype for Business, starting by outlining the relatively new PSTN (public-switched telephone network) options available through Skype for Business. These include PSTN conferencing, and domestic and international calling.
Welliver also addressed many of the common questions he receives about Skype for Business. Among those: it can work with desktop and mobile phones, and it offers features like call transfer and forwarding. Perhaps most importantly, it is possible to transfer existing phone numbers to Skype for Business Online.
By integrating Skype for Business with Dynamics CRM, users can launch phone calls from within the CRM interface. “Click to dial from any record to launch into a phone call,” Welliver says. This feature can streamline contact follow-up.
Say a salesperson is given twenty leads, just obtained from a trade show, that reside in the company’s CRM application. The salesperson can review any notes associated with each lead, click the phone number associated with the lead, launch into the call, and create a record, all from within CRM and Skype for Business. When one call is finished, he or she can click the next record and start another. “You can quickly make calls and record notes,” Welliver says.
While the integrations between Dynamics CRM with Office 365 solutions are out of the box, they do require a modest investment of time. “It’s not like just flipping a light switch,” Welliver says, estimating that most integrations will take about an hour.
Of course, custom integrations – say, to map documents to locations that differ from the ones established in the out-of-the box integrations – will require more time. And setting up the actual phone system for Skype for Business requires specific expertise and a greater time commitment, Welliver noted.
Devoting the time required to complete the integrations can pay off by enabling businesses to make greater use of all the capabilities of Dynamics CRM and the Office 365 products they already own.