Sage ACT vs Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Review and Comparison

Microsoft CRM vs ACT: Comparing the Ownership Experience

Microsoft is building everything within their environment. So with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, users are restricted to Microsoft technologies – i.e. Internet Explorer, SQL, MS Outlook, Sharepoint Services, Exchange, Lync, Windows Mobile etc. Potentially limits technology choices elsewhere in the organization. In 2013, Microsoft did bring out their cross-browser support for CRM – which provides access via the iPad and other mobile devices. With Microsoft CRM, there have been criticisms in the past for the length of time between major releases. Thankfully this is no longer the case. MS CRM at times fills functional gaps through Accelerators. There is limited social media integration – in product feeds are supplemented by 3rd party integrations. This is changing rapidly though with the purchase of Yammer in 2012.

Sage ACT does not limit technology choices, and can easily be configured and adapted on a low-cost basis over its lifetime. ACT works well with products such as MS Office and Outlook, but is not dependent on them, although some of the best ACT reports are export to excel pivot tables. ACT mail merge functions best with Microsoft Word. Social media integration is provided as standard within the ACT web info tab. ACT is focused exclusively on the needs of small business and sales teams.

Video Comparison of ACT vs Microsoft CRM

Comparing the usability of ACT and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft CRM provides Multiple pop-up windows that can detract from the user experience. Therefore users typically turn on their “multiple tab” feature in Outlook, thus allowing users to view multiple screens at the same time. The Outlook client is sometimes viewed as overcrowded – users navigate around combination of: (1) Outlook navigation pane, (2) Office Ribbon with contextual tabs, (3) drop-down menus and shortcuts, (4) Outlook reading pane with drag and drop CRM components, (5) Outlook to-do bar.

Sage ACT provides effective, intuitive navigation without screen clutter. It offers a context-based tab structure and a central, fully configurable activity area which is supplemented by action buttons and menu items. ACT also provides simplified, context-driven menus and tabs, along with easy buttons that facilitate instant recognition and access to the most frequently used functions.

Top Improvements to Microsoft Dynamics CRM of late

  • Ribbon interface functionality for both the web and Outlook clients
  • Increased use of tabs within the middle pane
  • Dashboards that come out of the box
  • Inline charts and views that are available within forms
  • Embedded Sharepoint integration capabilities
  • Guided processes for easy adoption
  • Persona-based forms and views. For example, Sales and Support teams can have their own layouts of a module – showing only those fields that are relevant to them.
  • There is a new relationship manager
  • Improved lead and opportunity management – as well as team-based selling
  • Improved list management and drop-downs (aka picklists)
  • Improved component manager
  • Views, charts and dashboards can be customized and even personalized
  • Field level security
  • Improved Visual Studio

Recent history of Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a business

  • Q2 2012 Service Update – Cross browser support; OEM agreement for Mobile
  • Q4 2011 Service Update – activity feeds; activity feeds for mobile; unified provisioning, billing and admin for Office 365; enhanced charting; improved guided processes; and enhanced duplicate checking
  • ‘Cloud CRM for Less’ offer extended – SAP, Salesforce.com and Oracle customers switching to MS CRM before March 2012 are eligible for $150 rebate per user; only applies to deals with 50 to 500 seats; previous program did not cover SAP
  • Analyst coverage – strong showing in Gartner MQs
  • New volume licensing offering – allows customers to apply their existing application server licenses covered by Software Assurance to the cloud, without incurring any additional licensing costs.
  • Launched Office 365 – replaces Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), and provides Microsoft Office 2010 Online, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online,and Lync (comms) Online in a single cloud-based service. It also announced plans to add Microsoft CRM Online to Office 365 sometime in 2011.
  • Performance benchmarking – MS CRM 2011 scaled to 150,000 concurrent users in a single instance while delivering sub-second response times.
  • Promotional pricing – $34 per user per month for the first 12 months of service. Partners benefit from 40% compensation during this period
  • New partner compensation model in 2012 – margin % will also be determined by achievement of year over year growth targets

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Review

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - Free Analysis PDFClick here to download our Free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Evaluation.

Topics discussed:

  1. Total Cost of Ownership of Microsoft CRM
  2. MS Dynamics vs Salesforce.com
  3. Web vs OnPremise
  4. Key Factors for User Adoption/Acceptance

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Mark Shaw

Director at Accent Gold Solutions
Author: Mark Shaw, Director of Accent Gold Solutions, is certified in a number of CRM systems - including SAP CRM, SugarCRM and ACT! Having studied Business at the University of Massachusetts, he went on to consult several large Energy Utilities in the US and Europe - including designing a Sales Database for the largest European provider of Natural Gas. Using his unique combination of sales and marketing experience, Mark has set up and led successful sales teams for several firms, including Xerox.
Read more about Mark on our About Us page. Google