What is Customer Engagement?
The application formerly known as CRM
In 2009, Paul Greenberg provided the following definition of Customer Relationship Management (CRM): "CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a system and a technology designed to improve human interaction in a business environment."
CRM systems (like Dynamics CRM) offered functionality like Account management, case management, sales opportunity management, and activity tracking.
Then in 2009 with the release of Dynamics CRM 2011, Dynamics CRM became a development platform for line of business applications that had little resemblance to functionality in the traditional definition of CRM. This was known as xRM—replacing the “Customer” in CRM with anything you want. This meant that CRM could be used for virtually any business process, including those not directly customer facing.
A popular video from that time illustrated the wildly different applications of xRM, including student management, Human Resource Management, even Cow Management.
From CRM to Customer Engagement
In 2016, Microsoft announced that they would be bringing together Dynamics CRM and ERP platforms under a new brand, Dynamics 365, with the platform formerly known as CRM now called Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement (and the platform formerly known as AX now called Dynamics 365 for Operations).
The change of product name to “Customer Engagement” is an acknowledgement that the platform has grown well beyond the functionality traditionally associated with CRM. CRM functionality over time became a commodity, and Microsoft Dynamics “CRM” has grown rapidly to encompass other areas like IOT, Field Service Automation, Project Service Automation, and Social Engagement. While the traditional CRM functionality is still there, the change to Customer Engagement means the emphasis has changed from data entry and tracking to a proactive business intelligence system. With the introduction of functionality like relationship insights, relationship sales/LinkedIn, and document suggestions, the system is smarter than “CRM.” It’s a system of intelligence that makes users lives easier and improves engagement and experience with clients.
This fits Paul Greenberg’s definition of “Customer Engagement.” "The ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company chosen by the customer."
So why write a book?
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement/CRM has gone through extremely rapid change, with 1-2 new releases each year for the past six years. This has been great for the Dynamics community, as we now lead the market when compared with most other Customer Engagement/CRM vendors. One challenge is that for new people entering the Dynamics community as administrators or consultants, it is increasingly difficult to find good training materials on core application functionality. This is because in a rapidly changing product, traditional books are outdated before the book is published. While Microsoft is releasing good documentation on new and exciting capabilities, there is much core application legacy functionality that is not adequately covered in much of the newer releases' documentation.
By building this book in the format of a blog, we have the flexibility to provide more rapid updates as new functionality is introduced. This also means that you can read it as we write it, provide feedback and suggestions, and make the content better.