Zoho CRM vs Microsoft CRM – Comparison and Review

Comparison of Zoho CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

In general, Zoho CRM is perceived as a fairly cost effective online CRM system. Zoho CRM is part of a broader portfolio of on-demand business applications, which cover areas such as project management, document collaboration, invoicing and web conferencing. This is the Zoho Suite of Business Solutions.

Zoho offers a full CRM feature set, which is designed for companies with simple to intermediate requirements. Visually, Zoho looks a lot like an older version of Salesforce. Zoho is inexpensively priced and offers strong multilingual support. Zoho CRM was included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation in 2011 for the very first time.

Microsoft Dynamics, on the other hand, 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.

Gartner Magic Quadrant – Overview of Microsoft CRM and Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM has their market goal to be a low-cost provider for Sales Force Automation. Zoho is attractive to Small Businesses, which tend to be more cost-conscious.

To appeal to more non-Windows mobile users, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will expand platform support for mobile devices, and will include native deployments for non-Windows mobile devices and non-Internet Explorer browsers. These will be significant advances that will increase the pool of sales organizations that will consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The top three reasons organizations consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises is the potential for more-attractive total cost of ownership versus cloud based offerings, integration with Microsoft Outlook and leverage of the Microsoft technology stack, such as SharePoint and SQL Server.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online has made significant strides, as evidenced by the increased number of Gartner customer inquiries and an approximately 10-fold increase in new customers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is relatively low priced at $44 per user per month.”

Strengths – as perceived by Gartner

Zoho offers a low-cost solution . Professional Edition is $12 per user per month, and Enterprise Edition is $25 per user per month.

There is a broad suite of business application functionality, but it will not have the depth required for large, complex installations.

This vendor’s solution is attractive for small businesses looking for value – and willing to compromise on full functionality.

On the other hand, Microsoft CRM’s integration with the Microsoft technology stack assets, such as Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration and content management, Microsoft Lync for Presence and Instant Messaging and Microsoft Visual Studio for extended customization, enables customers to leverage their Microsoft investments.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides accessibility for Microsoft Outlook clients.

A broad partner delivery network provides a breadth of application add-ons, industry vertical expertise and implementation capabilities.

Microsoft’s strategy to increase mobile platform and browser support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM will improve accessibility and usability for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users on non-Windows platforms.

Available in Microsoft Dynamics 2Q12 Service Update, Power View is an extension of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and contains good reporting capabilities, specifically data visualization and presentation.

There is interoperability with other Microsoft products, such as SharePoint, Lync, and Windows Azure.

There is a common data model with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises offering.

Microsoft’s strategy to increase mobile platform and browser support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will improve accessibility and usability for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online users on non-Windows platforms.

Microsoft’s adding custom workflow entities to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online eliminates a major source of incompatibility with Microsoft Dynamics on-premises deployments. Customers with more complex requirements can now leverage a hybrid delivery deployment by starting with software as a service (SaaS) and moving to on-premises.

Gartner Magic Quadrant – Concerns regarding MS CRM and Zoho CRM

With no direct sales, Zoho relies on a pull model and advertising for customers to discover its products.

There is a lack of integrated ISV partners to fill functional white space. Customers report that Zoho needs to spend more time on quality assurance before releasing new versions.

Microsoft relies on solution providers to furnish a complete solution (e.g., incentive compensation, sales configuration and pricing management); users need to do their own vetting of providers, and should not assume that Microsoft has vetted them.

Non-Microsoft IT organizations need to invest to improve their Microsoft technical stack capabilities.

Microsoft provides a good technical vision, but needs to incorporate more vision on the business of selling to help guide selling organizations.

Although Microsoft provides a native Outlook Client for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, for direct server-to-server integration, customers must use partner solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server to Microsoft Dynamics CRM server synchronization to handle tasks, calendar appointments and contacts.

New Multidevice Mobile Solution is a cloud service only and has an incremental list price cost of $30 per user; if a sales organizations wants to have a multidevice solution on-premises, it will require a partner solution.

Microsoft does not provide a development sandbox, which is a problem for customers that want to test development or configuration changes prior to production in the cloud. The vendor does offer the ability to develop locally, on-premises. Then, through Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online solution management capabilities, users can move the on-premises configuration and customization changes to the online environment.

Although Microsoft states that it provides vertical industry templates and partner application add-ons, it has no stated plans to add industry functionality to the core product.

Unlike the Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises version, there are few live customers with more than 700 users; Gartner expects that to change soon.

The new CRM analytics in the Microsoft Dynamics 2Q12 Service Update has no impact on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online; however, it offers enhanced data analytics for Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployed on-premises. Given the effort Microsoft has put behind marketing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, some users and prospects will be disappointed that the new business intelligence feature in Microsoft Dynamics 2Q12 Service Update known as Power View is available only to on-premises users. Power View is an extension of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and contains good reporting capabilities, specifically data visualization and presentation.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Quick Video Review

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Evaluation and Review

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - Free Analysis PDFClick now to download this Free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Evaluation and Assessment.

Issues talked about:

  1. TCO – total Cost of Ownership of Microsoft CRM
  2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs Salesforce CRM
  3. Pros and Cons of Web vs onsite CRM
  4. Chief Factors for User Adoption

Free Sage ACT! Feature Assessment

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With this evaluation, you will be able to understand the key improvements within Sage ACT!.

Items discussed:

  1. User Screen improvements
  2. Social Media integration
  3. E-Marketing options
  4. Mail-Merge with Microsoft
  5. Performing Web Surveys
  6. Sales Opportunity redesign enhancements
  7. Advanced Report options
  8. ACT Dashboard improvements
  9. OLEDB interface improvement
  10. Advanced Outlook Integration
  11. MS Outlook Invitations
  12. Flexible Outlook Sync for Contacts
  13. Google Contact Options
  14. Improved Importing design
  15. Smart Tasks options
  16. Workflow design
  17. Advanced Lead Management

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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