RapidStart CRM was first launched in 2015 as an application that ran on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365, then known as “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online”. When the Microsoft Power Platform was launched we moved RapidStart CRM from atop Microsoft Dynamics 365 to the underlying Platform as an application independent of Dynamics 365. Today, we have added RapidStart Sales for Dynamics 365 back into the mix.
The growth of the Power Platform has been phenomenal, and our RapidStart CRM has grown right along with it. Who knew so many users would prefer a simple-to-use CRM? We did! During this same period, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has also seen tremendous growth in midsized and larger organizations and Copilot has accelerated that even further. These organizations have been adopting Microsoft Dynamics 365, led by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, to take advantage of Microsoft’s significant investments in advanced sales technologies and integration with Microsoft 365 which is deeper than any competition for obvious reasons.
The Race Heats Up
While the launch of the Microsoft Power Platform was about creating a new space, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has continued its march in the competitive field of CRM against the likes of Salesforce.com, SAP, and others that target the midsize and larger markets. The fierce competition has continuously focused on features and new capabilities, and Copilot is no exception. Microsoft, and primarily Salesforce, have been playing an ongoing game of Match-and-raise. While Salesforce continues to hold the market share leader title, Microsoft has finally made them nervous as Microsoft Dynamics 365 steadily encroaches, often by leading with new features and capabilities first.
Understanding that there are user personas who may not require all of the capabilities of their pre-built apps, Microsoft introduced the concept of Restricted Tables. This allowed customers to create Power Apps utilizing non-restricted tables within guidelines for limited user scenarios. One example might be Appointment Setters, users who may reach out via phone or email to Leads and attempt to set up in-person or online meetings with customers and senior sellers. Many sales personas may not require the advanced capabilities of the Dynamics 365 apps, and Microsoft created the ability for those users to be addressed with lower-cost Power Apps licenses so that they could participate. However, the rules are strict, and many current customers who created such apps internally are not in compliance with the license terms. This path was not intended to be a “loophole”, and the current lack of technical enforcement does not mean that your custom Power App complies.
We Saw a Need
Everything we have ever built has been the result of a discovered need. RapidStart CRM was built to address users who were seeking a simpler-to-use application for sales and service, independent of Dynamics 365. RapidStart Project for Dataverse was built to address users who were seeking a more accessible application for managing projects. RapidStart Field Service for Dataverse was built to address smaller service organizations with more basic needs. And now, RapidStart Sales for Dynamics 365 has been built to address the need for more users to be able to engage within limited scenarios while remaining license-compliant.
One challenge that many organizations are not aware of, again due to lack of technical enforcement, is that you cannot mix Dynamics 365 Professional licenses with higher licenses. From the licensing guide “Customers using Professional will not be able to combine Sales Premium, Enterprise, or Sales Insights within the same environment instance.“.
The space where we built RapidStart Sales for Dynamics 365 is defined at a high level in the licensing guide as follows: “Power Apps users who have a Power Apps license may use custom applications to access (that is, create, read, update or delete) any Dynamics 365 non-restricted table in the Dataverse. However, Power Apps users and devices that need to create, update, or delete data in Dynamics 365 restricted tables must be properly licensed for Dynamics 365.” Again this is very “high-level” and at a more granular level, compliance becomes much more complex.
What is RapidStart Sales for Dynamics 365?
OK, the details. RapidStart Sales for Dynamics 365 follows the path outlined above for Power Apps usage. We have gone down the nooks and crannies to ensure this app is compliant on Power Apps licenses including Power Apps Premium @$20/pupm, Power Apps Per App Plan @$5/pupm, or Power Apps Pay-as-you-Go. This app operates within a compliance bubble, meaning, among other things, it does not utilize anything other than the allowed tables themselves. It does not utilize, nor display access to, any IP, logic, workflows, forms, views, charts, dashboards, etc. from the first-party applications. This means it may also only be utilized with the custom security role that we created for it as that further restricts access to first-party IP.
If you think this sounds like it was a lot of effort to build, you would be correct. But that does not mean this app is not quite valuable for certain members of your sales team. Take the Appointment Setters example above. RapidStart Sales for Dynamics 365 utilizes Contacts, Opportunities, Leads, and Accounts (the classic COLA tables). We have added several of our own unique features from our RapidStart CRM app, including design concepts and custom controls proven to enhance ease of use and adoption. Unlike Sales Professional, this app is allowed to be used in the same environment as the Sales Enterprise and Higher applications. Based on a user’s role, you decide which application best suits their requirements.
Is RapidStart Sales for Dynamics 365 Customizable?
Our app is just as customizable as the enterprise and higher apps, without the limitations of Team Members or Professional licenses. Provided you do not pop the bubble of compliance! For example, you can add as many custom tables as you like, build as many flows or workflows as you want, and add any non-restricted table you need, but you cannot pull into the app any IP from any table that was introduced into the environment by the Dynamics 365 applications. Nor can you push any data into restricted tables. If you think Predictive Forecasting is cool, you can bring it into our app, but you will need a Dynamics 365 license for users of the app if you do.
Cost vs. Time
If one were to understand and follow the rules, you could build an app just like ours yourself. But to match what we have offered, including our unique IP, and compliance knowledge, would take an experienced developer hundreds of hours, and our App is priced at only $5/pupm.
While we are on the subject of Cost vs Time, some of our past users have attempted to recreate advanced logic like “Predictive Forecasting” for example. We advise against this. It’s one thing to recreate your own flow to qualify a lead, but most of the advanced capabilities included in Dynamics 365 Apps are simply too advanced. For these scenarios, we suggest you just acquire the appropriate Dynamics 365 licenses for those users. Unless you are an ISV, the investment and maintenance will not make financial sense.
We have taken Microsoft’s Sales Apps comparison chart and added a column for RapidStart for Dynamics 365. Items highlighted in blue in our column are available capabilities (non-restricted when used within the guidelines) but are not included in our application as provided. Pay close attention to how our app stacks up to Team Member and Sales Professional. Here is the link to the chart.
Also, for those interested, here is the link to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide.
To learn more about this app you can go to its webpage.
To take a Test Drive of this App, or to Buy it, you can go to Microsoft’s AppSource.