Last week I had the opportunity to fly to Barcelona, Spain for the Extreme CRM EMEA conference. The conference brings together Microsoft partners who specialize in implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The trip provided a great opportunity to discuss Dynamics CRM and business rules with potential partners in a market I don’t often get to visit. The fact that it got me out of the cold Chicago winter and into the outstanding architecture and cuisine of Barcelona was pretty nice, as well!
The real need for a BRMS arises when the use of CRM coincides with complex scenarios like government benefit eligibility determination, insurance rating/underwriting and product or service upsell/cross-sell opportunities. In the US, we have seen rapid adoption of InRule for Microsoft Dynamics CRM in instances where Dynamics CRM is being used as an application development platform for these types of systems.
I met my UK-based colleague, Colin Parlett, in Barcelona. Colin looks after our partner channel in Europe and he was fairly certain that Dynamics CRM is being used there in much the same way as in North America. The purpose of the trip was to meet a variety of system integrators who work with Dynamics CRM to discuss how they might use InRule in their implementations.
In numerous discussions with partners we learned that, indeed, many Microsoft implementation partners are working on complex implementations of Dynamics CRM. Nearly every person with whom we spoke understood the problems InRule solves and the value it could bring to their clients’ organizations. A great example of this is a company that is building an insurance rating and underwriting system on top of Dynamics CRM. A couple of their people came to our booth for a demonstration. They liked what they saw so much they brought another of their colleagues over. He liked what he saw so much a couple hours later he brought someone else over. Like many others at the event they saw the ability for InRule to resolve some major issues for them and their clients.
The learning went in both directions. I learned that systems integrators in the EMEA region are facing the same challenges as their counterparts in North America. However, a key difference is the degree of vertical specialization. A systems integrator in North America can afford to specialize in government, financial services or healthcare. But in countries like Norway or Belgium the economies are such that the systems integrators feel there is just not enough opportunity in any one vertical. This means a company might implement Dynamics CRM at a bank on one project and then turn around and implement it for the department of corrections on a different project.
Beyond the discussions with partners I saw some great presentations from members of the Microsoft team. Especially interesting was a presentation and panel discussion about how to compete against salesforce.com led by Simon Hutson, a Dynamics CRM pre-sales engineer from the UK. Microsoft is making great strides in winning deals across the globe; especially when it comes to unseating salesforce.com. When a company looks to replace a technology they are highly educated evaluators. Microsoft’s success in this area is a testament to the quality and completeness of the Dynamics CRM product. It is also a leading indicator that more companies will start adopting it for first-time CRM implementations as news of the product’s quality spreads. It’s a great time to be part of the Dynamics CRM ecosystem!
Overall the visit to Barcelona was a great success. We got a variety of partners across the region thinking about how InRule for Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help them tackle some very complex business rules. If you would like to find out more about how the product might help you, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to speak with you.