Microsoft Dynamics 365 business applications are fantastic products. Unrivaled power and features and priced accordingly. Are they over-priced? No! Are you over-paying? Maybe. So, let’s unpack this one.
My Cable Bill
Several years ago, I moved into a new home, and shortly afterwards the local cable company salesperson was on the phone. I was easily talked into the “Gold” package because it “included everything” and I suffer from FOMO. After a few months I realized that I only watched about 10 channels out of the 500+ that I was paying for. Maybe there are other people who watch all 500? Anyway, I was able to slash my cost by about 80% and not miss a thing. But I digress…
What can you do Dynamics 365?
Out-of-the-box, Dynamics 365 apps bring a ton of features and capabilities. The Enterprise Sales app for example, at $95/pupm, allows you to create and manage Leads, Contacts, Accounts and Opportunities, but it doesn’t stop there. Since it is built on Dataverse, it also integrates with Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Office and the entire Power Platform. You can create Product catalogs and multiple pricelists, along with quotes, orders and invoices. It also includes A.I. capabilities to help you predict sales risks and next best actions to take. For your sales team you can enable guided selling to quicky onboard new sellers and implement best sales practices across your team. With your Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise license, you can set up and experience Sales Premium features such as Sales accelerator, conversation intelligence, and predictive scoring. There are many more features to explore also. And you can add Dynamics 365 Enterprise Service to this for an additional $20/pupm.
But wait a minute… will you use all of these capabilities, or even many of them? If not, maybe Dynamics 365 Sales Professional is a better option.
Microsoft also offers Dynamics 365 “Professional” for Sales or Service at $65/pupm. Or you can get both Sales and Service for an additional $20/pupm (total of $85/pupm). In this “scaled down” version, they have changed a few things. For Sales Professional for example, the following are not included: Competitor tracking, Customization or extending out-of-the-box reports, charts and dashboards, Knowledge base, Embedded AI, Forecasting, Sales Goals, Product families/hierarchies, Product relationships, Business card scanning, Sales Literature, Territories, Sales Teams, Email Engagement, Predictive Forecasting and Relationship analytics. There are also some limitations in place including: a maximum of 15 custom tables, maximum of 5 Business Processes, maximum of 5 custom reports or charts or dashboards, maximum of 2 custom forms or views. Similar limitations apply to Service.
But wait a minute… does this still include things you may not use? Are the customization limitations too great for you?
Even though Microsoft Dynamics 365, particularly the Enterprise apps, include a boatload of features and capabilities, we still find ourselves working with customers to configure and extend the apps. Adding custom tables and fields, adding new relationships, building new forms and views as well as workflows. We often end up modifying much of what is provided out-of-the-box. All of this in effort to make Dynamics 365 “fit” an individual business’ needs. Most of the time these customizations become the priority elements, and much of what was provided out-of-the-box is never used.
Every Customer is Different
For some customers many of the provided features and capabilities will be utilized. For others, they may just use the basics. For others still, their customization needs are so great that Dynamics 365 really ends up serving as more of a platform to build on. If you are in the first group, then you are probably not over-paying as you will get the benefit of the features that the price incudes. But if you are in either of the other two groups, you are absolutely over-paying!
Okay, here’s my pitch. Some readers complain when I promote my business, but I gotta eat too. We created RapidStartCRM to address the very issues I described above. RapidStartCRM is a basic Sales and Service app built on the same platform as Dynamics 365. What does that mean? Well, first it means that many of the things that are available for Dynamics 365 are also available for RapidStartCRM, like integration with Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Office and the entire Power Platform. While the enterprise apps obviously come with many more features, even though they look similar side-by-side, RapidStartCRM will manage your basic Sales and Service needs, which even at the lower Dynamics 365 “Professional” level would cost you $85/pupm. If you foresee a lot of customizations in your future, RapidStartCRM shines even brighter. Since RapidStartCRM is built on the same Dataverse platform as Dynamics 365 the customization capabilities are the same. RapidStartCRM also has over 70,000 users, about half of which came from either Dynamics 365 or Salesforce.com! Oh, I almost forgot to mention, RapidStartCRM itself is free and runs on a Microsoft Power Apps license will cost you $5/pupm.
Why Stop There?
Yes, we are exploiting the fact that Dynamics 365 is very expensive and too complex for many users. And yes, we built a low-cost alternative on the same platform right next to Dynamics 365. But then Microsoft gave us a clear path to continue our exploitation with their Dynamics 365 Field Service application at $95/pupm and their Dynamics 365 Project Operations app at $120/pupm. The exact same issues described above apply to both of these apps as well. So, we thank Microsoft for the inspiration and went ahead and built our RapidStartCRM Field Service addon and RapidStartCRM Project Management addon, both priced at $10/pupm.
Why so Cheap?
Microsoft has basically taken over the business world with their Microsoft 365 products (formerly called Office 365). They offer a very robust set of features for your productivity needs starting at $5/pupm. As a result, many SMB customers and enterprise departments have gravitated to them. When it comes to adding business applications however, too many of these same customers choke when they see the costs. The expected result is that they seek business solutions elsewhere, from other vendors who, while they don’t integrate or share the security model of Microsoft 365, they do meet the price criteria! We intentionally priced our top-rated apps, which run completely within your Microsoft cloud environment, to make it easy for you to decide to maximize your Microsoft 365 investment and security. Also, full truth be told, we know that many of you will reach out to us to assist with your support, integration and customization work.
If you want to learn more about RapidStartCRM, go here, or hit me up!