In the past seven years, the nonprofit world went from limited choices for association management software (AMS) to a dizzying array of options. However most of those options are still stuck in the thinking that only a proprietary, closed system can meet the needs of the market. While traditional AMS systems do a few things very well, they generally don’t have the flexibility to meet changing needs or keep pace with swiftly changing technology. The result was is that many associations are stuck with expensive systems that no longer meet their needs or that have been so heavily customized that upgrading to a new version is a painful and expensive process.
With Microsoft Dynamics® 365, a CRM platform was introduced that allowed for industry specific configurations like association management. This platform is a game changer. The following list contains the top reasons our clients have told us they moved from their legacy AMS to Altai Systems and Microsoft Dynamics® 365:
10. Meets Your Needs Today… and Tomorrow
Avoid the pitfalls of customizing your system to meet your special requirements. Microsoft Dynamics® 365 provides the ability to easily configure the system to meet your unique needs including: easy to create personalized dashboards and reporting tools; unlimited creation of custom fields; point-and-click configuration of new forms; ability to create custom entities; automated workflows; a configurable user experience; detailed control of user access and security; and MORE! The Microsoft Dynamics® 365 CRM platform was designed from the beginning to be extended to meet specialized or unique functional needs while still preserving upgradeability and support – WITHOUT NEEDING CUSTOM CODE.
9. Hosting Options
Microsoft Dynamics® 365 provides options on how you want to deploy your system. You are not forced into one delivery model. Choose between a Software as a Service (SaaS) model with 365 Online, a private Cloud (think Microsoft, Amazon or Rackspace) where you have complete access to your own environment or install Dynamics 365 on your own servers. With any you choose, Dynamics 365 can be accessed via the web and used “offline.”
8. Enhancements and Upgrades
This year Microsoft will spend over $11 billion in R&D. Microsoft has a team of thousands of developers continually working to make Dynamics 365 and its eco-system better. This amounts to more development, enhancement and innovation than any single AMS vendor can provide or, even all the traditional AMS vendors combined. Dynamics 365 has a proven track record of protecting their clients’ investment in CRM by delivering innovative new technology and functionality while preserving upgradeability. Since the Altai product is built on the Microsoft Dynamics® 365 platform, our solution is upgraded as well.
7. Depth of Support
Want to be an expert in Microsoft Dynamics® 365, or just want to find answers when you need them? With easy online access to training documentation, videos, courses, and direct support from Altai, the choice is yours. Microsoft Dynamics® 365 also has more than 3 million users of CRM around the world, so you can find help not only from Microsoft, but from other users as well. There are hundreds of self-maintained user communities, blogs and forums. To this add the hundreds of Dynamics Partners available and you have a multi-channel system of support unlike that of any other AMS vendor.
6. Native Integration to Outlook and Other Microsoft Solutions
You probably start your work day by logging into Outlook. Now you never have to leave Outlook in order to see information about your members, or access any of the functionality of CRM and the Altai Solution. You can track your Outlook emails, contacts, appointments and tasks all with in CRM and do the same things in Outlook from CRM.
Integration also extends to other Microsoft Office/Office 365 tools like Excel, Word and Power BI as well as solutions such as SharePoint, Skype and Flow. Microsoft continues to add to the enterprise solution list with tools for marketing management, customer service and social media integration.
5. Business Process Automation
Business Process Automation (BPA) sounds complicated, but really it’s all about making your job easier. One of the primary areas of value that Altai brings to your organization is using the various tools within Microsoft Dynamics® 365 to streamline your operations, so staff can do more member-facing and revenue generating tasks.
User Forms can be designed for specific job and security roles. Process driven forms can guide staff through data entry, form based business rules can drive actions to happen on a form automatically and workflows can run processes for you either on demand or automatically. Using this functionality requires no programming and can be used by your organization with little to no reliance on Altai.
4. Mobile Accessibility
Work from anywhere on almost any mobile device including iPad/iPhone, Android and other platforms. Microsoft Dynamics® 365 CRM has native mobile functionality allowing you to make even custom forms mobile compatible.
Altai also enables you to get closer to your members and make commerce easy for your members via mobile devices. The Altai Web Portal modules are responsively designed so that they scale to the device your member is using. No need to force members to download yet another clunky app in order to conduct business with you.
3. Better Marketing Tools
Associations today face more competition than ever and have even more pressure to show value to their members. Microsoft Dynamics® 365 CRM is designed to capture knowledge about a customer in order to better market to and service them. Microsoft Dynamics® 365 CRM allows your organization to see a member’s interests, understand who your best members are, know which products are generating the most revenue, which services are considered the most valuable and which messages are getting the most response. You can then use this information to increase revenue and improve engagement with members.
2. The Social Enterprise
Your members are talking about you, are you involved in the conversation? Today’s members are connected in many ways, to colleagues, their friends, and to your association. Microsoft Dynamics® 365 provides inherent social capabilities such as Social Engagement to help you monitor and respond to what your members are saying about you. Altai can help you integrate your private social network to your CRM database. All of this helps you measure and improve member engagement.
Microsoft Dynamics® 365 also helps your internal Community with features like OneNote that allows you to set up groups, send automated tasks to just you, other staff, or the entire organization and even integrate with SharePoint for sharing of information across the organization.
1. Lower Cost of Ownership
Our clients tell us that the initial costs of the Altai/Microsoft Dynamics® 365 CRM Solution are up to 40% less than a typical AMS solution. The ongoing costs are even better. The Altai business model is to help our customers be as self-sufficient as they want to be, and the Microsoft Dynamics® 365 CRM product supports this by allowing the customer to configure the system with easy to use tools. This means less reliance on the software vendor and lower support costs for you. When you are ready to take advantage of the latest technology and functionality, our upgrades are automatically delivered by Microsoft – a big difference from the months/weeks long upgrades usually required with other systems.