Today I received a blog suggestion to explain why you might want to have a portal for your customer relationship management (CRM) system. I have written about Portal Options for Microsoft Dynamics 365 recently, but I didn't provide reasons why you might want to use a portal. So here are my Top Five Ways that Portals Improve Your CRM:
- Provide a simple user experience for occasional users. You don't want to train users on a full featured CRM system in order to enter a handful of fields to make a request to the human resources or information technology departments. The portal offers simple forms to gather only the information you need based on information stored in CRM.
- Integrate Dynamics 365 data with other systems. A portal provides another approach to allow a single screen to show multiple data sources for viewing and data entry, including Dynamics 365.
- Provide access to people outside your organization. The portal access can be protected by different security mechanisms than those you use internal to your organization. The portal may allow for self provisioning of accounts or go through an approval process.
- Match your website branding. A portal can be customized to match the colors, fonts, layouts and other stylistic elements of your website and portal pages can show data from your CRM in the context of the site's navigation.
- Combine Dynamics 365 data with other web content. The portal can show a SharePoint document library of forms and templates, for example. Online grant applications are a good fit for a portal so that applicants can see instructions, videos, and documents as well as complete online applications.
Some of these ways that portals add value to your CRM overlap with one another. For instance, users outside your organization are more likely to need a simpler user experience and a different way of authenticating themselves.