As relationships and interactions have become more important for the Public sector, we have seen a shift from Altus bringing up Portal functionality with clients, to organizations having it on their list before they even reach out to us. For years, multiple Microsoft partners have been vying to be the best at meeting the Portal demands of organizations, and Altus has worked with several different tools to find the optimal solution for meeting the needs of our clients. Over the last few years, we settled on a portal that had the richest functionality and best integration to Dynamics CRM. Microsoft thought the same and acquired the portal partner in 2015, adding it to a growing set of tools that organizations can leverage to expand functionality. Below is a quick insight into the functionality and what you can expect to come:
Robust Portal Functionality in CRM
The solution is fully integrated with Dynamics CRM which allows users to add pages, update content, or publish events directly from within their CRM solution. This allows for a singular and similar database for organizations that are already comfortable with Microsoft’s CRM tool.
Having quick access to information within CRM allows for easy access to Portal information and increased insight into constituent interactions. Your organization will now be able to access event registrations, forum posts, cases/issues, and popular items on the e-store.
Impressive Tools to Interact with Constituents
The Microsoft Portal also enriches the data around constituents. Additional information like event participation, page views, request forms, and items purchased can all be viewed from a contact record.
Similar to Dynamics CRM’s deployment options, the Microsoft Portal is available Online or On Premise with SaaS and full license purchase pricing structures, respectively. So whether your organization is more comfortable with on premise or online, the Portal functionality will be available to you.
A Promising Roadmap
With the acquisition, the now-called Microsoft Portal has access to a massive R&D budget and can sit side-by-side with other Microsoft solutions. Microsoft was very quick to release the tool online and has incorporated a variety of features that will be released with the upcoming update.
With a full profile, constituents can log into the portal and update personal information that your organization allows to be editable. We have seen a drastic improvement in CRM data with the addition of a Portal as users can now update their address, phone number, email address, and much more themselves. This allows your organization to perform more accurate marketing and outreach as you’re not receiving bounce backs on every campaign.
Additionally, there is a reduction in administrative work as users can review CRM information that you decide to display on the portal. Organizations can also share records and documents so constituents can download receipts, donation tax forms, certificates and much more.
Public Sector Pricing
Unlike with the release of the Marketing and Social Engagement tools, Microsoft quickly added Public Sector pricing for the Microsoft Portal. This means that Education, Charity, and Government organizations that qualify will have access to the similar discounts they see on CRM licensing.
Overall, the Microsoft Portal has the ability to add touchpoints with constituents and enhance the quality of the interaction. Rather than an individual only reaching out because of an issue, organizations will now be able to proactively add content and interact based on trends within the data.
Microsoft seems to be focused heavily on the CRM platform and with the recent acquisitions, the possibilities continue to increase. For organizations using the portal or looking into the CRM product as a whole, the large R&D budget and roadmap allows you to expect a wide range of enhancements over the next few versions.
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