Mike Angstadt, .Net Development Lead, on what to look for when choosing an ERP or CRM system

 Video Transcript: Hi, Mike Angstadt here from Clarity Ventures, and today I am going to talk to you a little bit about how to pick your next CRM or ERP system. Now this is a quick checklist I go through with our clients that come to me with the same question, and hopefully it will answer yours when it comes to picking what solution is right for you.

So first, do you like Microsoft Outlook? This is really important when you're weighing your options between different enterprise CRM/ERP systems because Microsoft Dynamics directly integrates with Outlook, and so opposed to some other third-party systems, you can directly create new contacts, leads, prospects, as well as take client messages and other information from your inbox and port it directly into your CRM. So you get that data in there that will help you make the business intelligent decisions you need to downstream, report, etc., etc. So if you wanted to decrease the amount of tediousness that is required with some other systems, it's definitely something to think about.

Two, do you have more than 20 people at your company? This isn't so much which enterprise level CRM, but if you need one to begin with. There's a lot more cost effective ways, such as Zoho CRM, to do some of these same activities if you have less than 20 people. But if you have more than 20 people and you're growing, you really need to pick something that's going to be able to scale with your company, support multiple users across multiple locations, and really think about it in more of an enterprise level scenario. So you're really looking at things like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, or Sage.

Is your timeline two years or less? I always like to bring this up because timeline is not only the amount of time it's going to take you to actually take one of these out of the box systems and customize it for your specific business, but it's also the lead time it's going to take to roll it out across your organization and train people how to use it. So something like a Microsoft Dynamics, which is very familiar when it comes to people that know Windows, know Microsoft Office, it is a lot lower barrier to entry, to bring people on board and have them get adoption internally, opposed to something that they might now be as comfortable with.

This is a big piece right here that a lot of people aren't talking about yet. Office 365 is the next generation Microsoft Office, and they're really aiming to integrate it heavily into Microsoft Dynamics and move downstream a lot of the report sharing, document sharing, business intelligent tools, things like that to the everyday employee, not just the executives in their tower. So when you think about what ERP system you're going to go to next, it might make a lot of sense, if you want to empower your employees to be able make business decisions, to look at what 365 is going to offer and think about whether Microsoft Dynamics is the right choice for you.

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