Why should a business use a CRM system?

Any investment, upgrade or change is accompanied with a “Why?” Strangely this is the beginning of all progress. Many organisations are stuck in a rut, closed to change and determined to make outdated methods work for them. Most are overshadowed by their competition and lose business as a result of that.

Why CRM?

For every organisation the first question is ‘Why CRM?’ For a larger organisation it is easier to understand. For an organisation with smaller staff strength the logistics can be a bit challenging. Business has been progressing fine with spreadsheets and data sharing options. It goes without saying that installing a CRM system would mean additional costs on a recurrent basis not to forget the capital investment at the beginning.

As much as an organisation would like to stall on the arguments, the truth is that they do realise that this is the future. To keep pace with the competition as well as seek constant progressive growth one needs to consider change. Greater gains, involves some investment as well as advancing with technological changes. The CRM technology has been around for ages and is no new bug in the field.

The small companies watch the larger ones upgrade and get on the global platform with technological advancements. Was it the CRM system that helped them to grow on such an enormous scale? The CRM system streamlines workflow and enhances productivity. It allows the integration of various tools which help to analyse market patterns and consumer demands. Automating function helps to reduce the wastage of manpower on mundane tasks. These features definitely make a difference towards better productivity and business growth.

Which CRM?

Once an organisation decides that it is time to upgrade and take a stand on the global scale the very pertinent question arises – “Which CRM?” There are literally hundreds of CRM systems that are making their way into the market. An organisation that wants to make it to the top has to select a CRM that is used by the organisations in the top bracket. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM is among the leading CRMs on a global level. It comes at a price, but offers facilities and services which propel you way beyond what you could have even imagined. It gives you that double leap forward that makes others wonder how you suddenly emerged so far ahead.

Though there are many CRMs contending for the top spot, Microsoft is a name we are all familiar with and trust as well. The greatest benefit with the MS Dynamics CRM is that it integrates easily with the other Microsoft products. These are products that you are already familiar and comfortable with. It reduces the resistance to change and brings in a comfort level.

Making an informed choice regarding the CRM

Pragmasys is a Microsoft Gold Partner. We can help you to understand the concepts of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and give you a parallel comparison of the various popular CRMs currently trending. The decision to install the MS Dynamics CRM is a big step and must be carried out with full knowledge of what the change involves – the benefits and demerits the system involves. It is important for every business to fully comprehend what the upgrade entails. This allows you to leverage the features for business progress right from the start.

CRM hosting – On premise vs Cloud

Companies are now feeling compelled to install a CRM system to keep abreast of the changing technologies and get a better hold on their customer relations. The CRM system which started out as a database to maintain customer records has expanded way beyond its realm. A CRM system is no longer limited to improving the relationship with the customer, but can help businesses with their marketing and in developing new strategies. It helps with market analysis and tracking changing trends.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a leading CRM system which includes a vast number of tools and features that can succour market research and helps in strategizing techniques. The decision to upgrade to a CRM system is accompanied with a number of other choices and decision. Many organisations face a dilemma regarding installing the Dynamics CRM On Premise or going with the MS Dynamics CRM Online option.

The needs and requirement of every organisation varies. Smaller organisations confined to one location may prefer On Premise hosting. They have their own server and everything is under one roof. Large organisations spread over a wide geographical area usually prefer cloud hosting. Both onsite hosting of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system and the cloud hosting option is accompanied with its own share of advantages and limitations.

 Some major areas of consideration when deciding between cloud vs an on premise CRM are:

 Security

On premise servers are downloadable to anyone who has physical access to the server, while a cloud hosted database is highly secured. Some organisations prefer to have their server where they can see it and monitor the physical access to the unit. They employ their own security measures. Online CRM leaves the security concerns to Microsoft. With a large number of organisations working through their servers Microsoft has high security measures in place to protect their customer’s data.

 Mobility

The greatest advantage that most organisations prefer with cloud hosting is that they are not geographically restricted to any location. The database is easily accessible from anywhere. Organisations that have multiple offices spread across the globe find the MS Dynamics CRM Cloud hosting preferable. Cloud hosting is also beneficial for the sales team who can update the CRM while on a customer call. They can also leverage the benefit to accessing information regarding products and queries for potential customers while upselling.

 CRM Customisation

The online version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows the same customisation options as the On Premise CRM. There is no differentiation based on where the CRM is hosted when it comes to user interface.

 Data Storage Limit

On premise servers have a data storage limit. The amount of space available is according to the capacity of the Hard Disks installed in the server. Storage space can be increased with additional hard disks at an additional cost. Online CRM offers unlimited storage space to organisations and space is never an area of concern. Systems do not slow down due to limited free space in an online CRM version.

 Technical Support

Some organisations feel that the technical support offered for On Premise CRM is better as they can physically monitor what is being done. However, Microsoft offers an equally good round the clock online technical support. The technical support for the Online CRM and On Premise CRM are similar with skilled technicians on the job. The On Premise technical support comes at an additional cost.

Larger organisations prefer the cloud hosted version for the ease of accessibility that the Online Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers. When it comes to cost there is not much difference in the two. They compensate in different areas. The online version requires you to pay per user while the onsite version doesn’t cost you a dime more for additional users. However the cost of security, maintenance, technical support and server hardware upgrades is eliminated in the online version.

The Dynamics CRM is one of the few CRMs which offer user both options of onsite as well as cloud hosting. Pragmasys technical experts can help you to make your decision regarding the suitable option based on your current setup and future requirements.

Email Configuration Exchange Online

 

Email integration with Dynamics CRM has become an integral part of day to day activity for most of the business users. This enables a user to respond to messages at a faster pace as opposed to logging into the system to respond. Below steps would enable the configuration with ease & improvise on productivity factors.

Email Configuration Exchange Online

Check for License grants

Before beginning with the configuration, we need to check whether appropriate license is given to the user or not.

To check the license provided to the user, follow the steps.

  1. Click on the main menu.
  2. Click on the Users, Active Users.
  1. Edit User, select the user listed.

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Fig 1 : Go to Users record in admin portal

Email Configuration

2.1 2

  1. Click on the edit
  2. Check for Exchange Online (Plan 2) in your licenses and enable it.

If it is not available in your licenses then go to Billing section –> purchase services à select the product license which is having the Exchange Online (Plan 2) ( Ex : Office 365 Enterprise E3 Trial ).

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Fig 3 : Enable the Exchange Online (Plan 2) service from the License assigned
Once the license is assigned and Exchange Online (Plan 2) is enabled. You are ready for Email Configuration.

Follow the below steps and refer the images along with.

Login to Dynamics CRM and navigate to Email Configuration as shown in the above Image.
Main Menu (1) -> Settings (2) -> Email Configuration

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Click on the Email Server Profiles (1).

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If Microsoft Exchange Online Record is not available, then

Click on NEW -> Exchange Online. Then save the record.
Now, navigate to Email Configuration

 

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Click on Email Configuration Settings (1)

Email Configuration

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Click on Email (1) -> Server Profile (2)
 

Select Email Server Profile Microsoft Exchange Online.

Appointment’s, contacts, and tasks select Server-Side Synchronization (3)

Click OK (4).

Then navigate to Email Configuration

 

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Click on Mailboxes (1)

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Select each record(s) from the list (1),

Click on the Approve Email button (2).

On the next window Click OK (3)

Open each record from the list which is approved.

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Check (1), (2), (3)& (4) as shown in the above screenshot.

Then click on the Test & Enable Mailbox button (5).

Refresh the page.After a few moments (6), (7)& (8) will changed to Success as shown in the above screenshot.

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If it shows Failed in thosefields instead, click on Alerts, check the error details and resolve the problem.Then try Test & Enable Mailbox (5) again.

Email Configuration POP3\SMTP

Below screens & steps would help establish POP3 or SMTP configuration for the Emails

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Navigate to Email Configuration as shown in the above Image.

Main Menu (1) -> Settings (2) -> Email Configuration (3)

Click on Email Server Profiles (1).

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 Click on NEW (1) -> POP3/SMTP Server (2)16

Provide details as displayed in the above image.

Name (1): Name of the Email Configuration

Incoming Server Location (2): pop.gmail.com

Outgoing Server Location (3): smtp.gmail.com

Note: (2) & (3) will be dependent on the actual pop and smtp servers to be used.

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Set Use same settings for Outgoing (4): No

User Name (5): your mail id.

Password (6): Password for the same mail id

Incoming Port (7): It is different for different service provider (POP)

Outgoing Port (8): It is different for different service provider (SMTP)

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Next select the Email Configuration Settings (1)

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Click on Email (1) -> Server Profile (2)

Select the Email Server Profile created above.

Then click OK (3).

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Now navigate to Settings (1) -> Security (2) and click on Users

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Select all the users (1), and click on Approve Email (2).

Now, navigate to Email Configuration

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Click on Mailboxes (1)

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Go to Active Mailboxes (1)

Open each record (2)

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Provide details for following fields:

Name (1): Name of the Mailbox (User)

Email Address (2): Email Address of the user

Allow to use Credentials for Email Processing (3): Yes

User Name (4): Enteremail id

Password (5): EnterPassword

Server profile (6): Select the Email Server Profile

Incoming Email (7): Select as in image

Outgoing Email (8): Select as in image

 (11): Save

(12): Approve Email

(13): Test and Enable Mailbox

Value in fields (9) &(10) should change to Success after sometime.

If it shows Failed in those fields instead, click on Alerts, check the error details and resolve the problem. Then try Test & Enable Mailbox (5) again.

Power BI and its configuration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Making a revolution in Business Intelligence and Analytics, Microsoft introduced Power BI with a vision to provide improved & impactful live data visualization. Power BI, today, is a well-recognized application in the market with its extensive and powerful capabilities for business intelligence.
Power BI lets you connect to hundreds of data sources such as SQL Databases, Excel, Dynamics CRM, Facebook.

It extracts data from these data sources, easily transforms to related data structures and loads it from which you can create your own reports and interactive dashboards.

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Figure 1: Example dashboard generated by Power BI

 

Advantages of using Power BI in Business context:

  1. Connects to a wide range of data sources.
  2. Helps getting the deepest business insights to boost your business productivity.
  3. Verbal ask for data provisioned by using Cortana Intelligence.
  4. Provides variety of content pack or service pack which automatically fetches data and creates interactive dashboards.
  5. Provides 360 degree Analytics for Organization, helps in keeping track of sales, gaining new customers and making strategies.
  6. Real time dashboard updates over secured live connectivity with data sources.

connect power BI with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

It is quick and easy to connect Power BI to a Dynamics CRM Online instance. Sign up on Power BI online and follow the steps given below to connect to Dynamics CRM online.

As soon as you sign up, you can see Power BI logo on Office 365 panel.Click on it to navigate to Power BI online.

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Figure 2: O365 Home Page

 

From Power BI Online page, as displayed in the next screenshot, click on Services to get Dynamics CRM service analytics pack.

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Figure 3: Power BI Online

Point to remember: This service pack will automatically take data from your CRM instance and  will automatically create pre-populated dashboard similar as in below image:

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Figure 4: Pre-populated Dashboard

Now, the dashboard is ready and we can embed it in Dynamics CRM, however first we need to enable Power BI embedding in Dynamics CRM settings.

Navigate to Settings->Administration->System Settings->Reporting in Dynamics CRMcontext using admin credentials.

Enable Power BI visualization embedding.

Navigate to Dashboards section and click New. Power BI Dashboard is now listed & available for use.

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Figure 5: Dynamics 365 Dashboards section

 

Click on it and choose the dashboard you want to be displayed.

If as an Admin you wish to create a report of your own with your desired visuals, Power BI desktop version can be downloaded & installed on local box for further usage

Lets quickly walk through desktop version of Power BI.

Similar as online version, all you have to do, is to:

  1. Get the data from data source
  2. Create a visual, publish it to Power BI service (Online) and create a dashboard from there.
  3. It would ask for the Web API URL, that you change in the developer resources on Dynamics CRM.

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Figure 6: Power BI data source selection

As seen above, Power BI provides a number of data sources to connect with.As of now, we will get the dynamics online data. It would ask for specific entities data, select that and start creating your report.

Select the entities; note that you can load as many entities as you want. It will also display the table of that entity.

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Figure 7: Power BI entity selection

Note: If you load more than two entities and if those two entities have any relationships then it will automatically identify the possible relationships present in it.

After loading select the visualization and fields from entities and then publish it to power BI online.

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Figure 8: Visualization creation screen

 

You can edit query as well from the data that you received, merge it, create a conditional column, add column, count it, group by it, create relationships etc.

You can maintain the gateways and schedule the refresh of datasets. You need to go to settingsàdatasets

The refresh history is also visible with their specific date &timestamps.

Enable Cortana Intelligence, one of the coolest features, by selecting “Allow Cortana Intelligence” under the option of Q&A.

 

It allows you to ask questions; so that whatever you ask for, you get the data you want in span of few minutes.

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Figure 9:Power BI datasets

 

We can also make reports in Power BI online version same as that of Power BI Desktop.

Power BI is also available for mobile as “Power BI Mobile” and while creating reports and dashboards you get an option to enable it for mobile.

 

Published by

Seshan Dixit

Dynamics CRM Developer

seshan.dixit@pragmasys.in

Pragmasys Consulting LLP, Bangalore, India

Email Engagement

In this blog, we’ll take a look at Email Engagement feature of Dynamics 365.

  • What is email engagement?
  • How to setup email engagement?
  • How it helps you?

What is Email engagement??

To manage your relationships effectively with customers you need to gauge recipient interest and need to take appropriate action in time. Email Engagement enables monitoring of recipient activity on sent emails to offer insights into buyer behavior. You can:

  • See when recipients opened your message, clicked a link, opened an attachment, or sent a reply
  • Receive an alert right away whena recipient opens your messagethe first time
  • Schedule most effective delivery time, and receive advice on best time based on the recipient’s time zone
  • Choose most effective message template, with recommendations based on your organization’s previous email interaction history
  • Set an alert to remind you when it’s time to follow up on an email message
  • Review the full interaction history of a single message, or review KPIs

Setting up Email engagement, How to??

Pre-requisites:

  • Create a Dynamics 365 trial (US tenant)
  • Add an Office 365 trial to the tenant

Step 1 – Enable Relationship Insights

Navigate to Settings – Administration – System Settings – Previews tab – Relationship Insights and select Yes in the option buttons.

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Step 2 – Enable Email in Document management

To enable document management for the Email entity, go Settings – Document Management – Document Management Settings – check the Email checkbox

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Step 3 – Enable Email Engagement in Relationship Insights tab

To enable Email Engagement in Dynamics 365 and set other options (cards etc.) Navigate to Settings > Relationship Insights > Email Engagement tab > check the Turn on email engagement for your organization check box

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Step 4 – Enable Relationship assistant

Navigate to Settings > Relationship Insights >Relationship Assistant >check the Turn on Relationship Assistant for your organization check box.

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How it will help? (Example)

In this demo, we will send an email with an attachment to a customer. The mail is sent from the Activity Tab in CRM, and weFollow the email, as well as the attachment. This will helpus spot if emails (or attachments) we send to a customer aren’t opened and adjust our approach accordingly.

  1. Navigate to the Activity Tab (Sales > Activities) and create a new email

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Figure 5: Dynamics 365 Compose Email

  1. As we have already configured Email Engagement the mail is pre-selected to be followed (1).
  • We can schedule the mail (2) to be sent at a later date/time (eventually Relationship Insights will help us her with suggestion about when the recipient usually opens her emails as we pick up data about interactions with her).
  • We can set a reminder (3)to follow up on this email.
  • Finally, we can attach one or more files (4) and set them to be followed as well. Note that option to add an attachment becomes available once the Email message is Saved and in Draft status.

After attaching documents in the Attachment Grid, we can send the mail.

  1.  Customer opens the mail and the attachment (opens in Word Online from One Drive for Business)

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Figure 6: Email received by customer

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4 In our Dynamics 365 organization we notice that we now have information about email opened by customer alongwith data/timestamp against individual customer records.Recipient activity on individual email records is also available once we open those records as displayed in the next screenshots.

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Figure 8: Dynamics 365 Sent Email

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Scheduling workflow on MS Dynamics CRM

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM is the best solution for large and small organisations alike. The CRM can be customised to meet a wide array of needs. Some organisations may have specific demands from the CRM system. To meet this requirement the MS Dynamics CRM can be customised to suit the user’s requirement. The dashboard can be customised to role specific tasks or industry specific options. Add-ons succour the MS Dynamics CRM to integrate additional possibilities and facilities.

 The Pragma Workflow Scheduler provides an efficacious solution for companies with a large customer base where regular interaction is required. Scheduling notifications, updates and reminders to be sent to customer on a regular basis at specified time intervals is one great advantage that helps to minimise overlooking any customers and hurting their sentiments.

 Automating recurrent tasks

Every organisation has a number of recurrent tasks which need to be performed on a timely basis. The Workflow Scheduler helps to schedule these tasks to be performed either automatically or to generate a reminder. This depends on the type of task and whether it can be executed on its own or if it requires some user input and manual intervention.

 Timely reminder through messages or emails can be regularly sent by setting a scheduled task on the Workflow Scheduler. This reminder can be stopped with a trigger by updating the record. For example an outstanding payment reminder can sent until the payment received field is updated which interrupts the task, preventing further reminders from being generated. These are conditional tasks which are executed in the event a certain criteria or set of conditions are met.

 Easy setup of Pragma Workflow Scheduler

The Pragma Workflow Scheduler is very easy to install and integrate into your existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It will not disrupt current operation but may require a re-login to access the new options from the add-on Workflow Scheduler once it has been installed. Pragmasys provides a complete installation, integration and customisation of the Pragma Workflow Scheduler to suit the existing customised options of the Dynamics CRM. The Workflow Scheduler options show on the menu and the dashboard wherever necessary.

 The Pragma Workflow scheduler has a user friendly interface making it easy for the not so technically sound people to easily get a hang of.  Sufficient training is provided by Pragmasys to ensure that the Workflow Scheduler is being properly used and employees do not face any technical challenges regarding the execution. This add-on offers great flexibility of usage when it comes to defining workflow schedules on the entities. The progress of the scheduled workflow execution can be tracked from the Workflow monitor. One can also open the record to check the status of the workflow.

 Pragmasys Client support

New systems are always accompanied with some amount of trepidation. The Pragmasys technical support team are always around to provide the required assistance and support to the client. Using add-ons to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM is easier if the organisation is familiar with the CRM system. Pragmasys ensures that there are no glitches to the smooth operations of the organisation. With an on call support service clients can be assured of 100% support from Pragmasys.

How add-ons help Dynamics CRM to deliver

The MS Dynamic’s CRM offers its users a vast multitude of benefits. To further add to this we have Add-ons, which are additional facilities that provide extra options to the dynamics CRM system users. These tools can be installed alongside the MS Dynamics CRM and they integrate themselves into the current CRM system giving an added value with multiple features and benefits.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM add-ons include a variety of tools which can help organisations to perform specific tasks more effectively. Pragmasys offers clients a choice of add-onsthat the organisation can select from. Add-ons have specific features and an organisation can select only those add-ons which would benefit them. Some of these tools may not pertain to their nature of business and hence not having them can keep the dashboard and options limited to useful tools and buttons.

 Pragmasys has a host of Dynamics CRM Add-on products which enables clients to get more out of the CRM system and use it for extensive purposes. The idea is to have the Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the one stop solution which can meet all the requirements of the client. The add-on products provide the additional options which give the Microsoft Dynamics system an additional leverage among competitive CRM solutions.

 Selecting add-ons

Pragmasys can help clients with information and advice about add-ons and tools which can improve the productivity of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM in their particular domain of expertise. These are tools that can help with effective operations and improving performance levels of an organisation. Add-ons are specially developed tools to help organisations to function more efficaciously and get more value out of their Dynamic CRM investment.

 Pragmasys can apprise clients regarding available options which could have a potential benefit to their current workflow and operations. CRM add-ons can help organisations to streamline their activities with end to end solutions placing them in a competitive position.Pragmasys can help you to add value to your existing system with improved methodologies which can propel business growth and reduce spends.

 Automating functions

The Pragma Workflow Scheduler is a Dynamics CRM add-on which enables an organisation to schedule tasks to run automatically at specific time intervals. These time intervals can be set to run hourly, daily, weekly, monthlyor as desired by the user. There are a variety of tasks which can be set to run on schedule or other workflow tasks which are triggered by certain events. In some cases once these tasks are completed it can initiate a record update.

 Many tools and functions can be scheduled to run automatically without any user intervention. This helps to reduce cost and limits the scope for human error pertaining to these automated functions.  Simpler tasks can be managed with task scheduling. Every organisation is looking for ways in which to cut costs and these automated services can save a few salaries.

 Timely support from Pragmasys

Clients can count on round the clock technical support by the Pargmasys team. Pragmasys is a Microsoft partner and ensures that clients remain up to date on the latest tools and happenings in the Information Technology world. Sound guidance from Pragmasys experts enables its clients to leverage the maximum benefit from their Dynamic CRM and stay updated with technological advancements.