Cisco and Microsoft CRM Written by: George Garza • Edited by: Lamar Stonecypher Published May 24, 2010 • Related Guides: Cisco | Microsoft When businesses think of customer satisfaction, there are a number of different factors that enter into the formula. CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a business strategy designed to reduce costs, and increase profitability by using a solid customer satisfaction model. What is CRM CRM combines information from different data sources within an organization and sometime from outside the organization to present a holistic view of each customer in real time. The upshot of this model is for employees in such diverse areas as sales, marketing, and customer support to make rapid but informed decisions on everything relating to the customer. This includes cross-selling, to up selling opportunities, to competitive positioning tactics, to marketing strategies. Both Cisco and Microsoft CRM solutions provide avenues for integration, and business opportunities that make the solutions needed to put CRM in place. The Microsoft CRM Program Microsoft has prepared a series of dynamic CRM tools to meet a variety of business expectations.VisualizationsVisualizations are charts, the visual representation of data. The CRM software can display data in various forms. Pie, column, line, etc. are some examples where the CRM can work. The charts enable you to take summaries of the data from splintered formats, making a cohesive whole. Custom EntitiesA custom entity is a business model that works with a schema, an organizational structure created with the CRM tools. Custom entities also support the following: You can create views, forms, and reports. You can publish, export, and import these new entities with the associated information in views and reports. The data sets created by the entities can work offline. E-mailAn e-mail provider is an integrated component available with the CRM E-mail Router service. The service is responsible for specialized e-mail processing and working with an e-mail protocol. It manages the routing of e-mail to or from the CRM platform. Furthermore, it CRM supports by different versions of CRM including an on-premise, or hosted, or Internet-facing, and Online versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.This is just a small set of features available in the CRM program. Source: Visualizations Custom Entities e-mailMicrosoft Dynamics The Cisco CRM Program Business collaboration tools, always viewed as integral to a functional approach, and Cisco maker of routers, switches, and other network appliance tools, also has some CRM related tools. IP Phone Support The next generation of telephone support is coming right out of the Internet with VoIP, Voice Over IP. Telephone systems will use the Internet to make and receive phone calls. Cisco has tied VoIP to CRM in order to reduce business costs. Cisco has the Call Manager Express tool set to help create and manage the IP phone system. But Cisco has gone a step further by tying the IP phone system to Microsoft's CRM tool set. Anyone in the company can use the Microsoft CRM with the IP phone system to access customer information. Web Ex WebEx Connect will allow companies to work with a set of collaborative business tools and services. For example, the WebEx Connect client allows users to build mash-up applications that are tailored for particular business processes ranging from an on-premise, and on-demand setting, to on-the-desktop applications. In this case Cisco is teaming with Oracle to provide the CRM solution. These have real repercussions for sales presentations, meetings, and forecasting. Source IP Phone WebEx Cisco and Microsoft Technology Summary CRM was initially believed to perform only as a type of software. However, it has evolved into being a lot more than that. It is a customer-oriented philosophy that governs an entire organization. It changes the perspective of the business-customer relationship. The three key elements making the CRM initiative a success are people, technology, and process. It is a strategy performed by the business in order to learn about a customers' business behaviors and their needs in order to produce a stronger working relationship with them.