Camp MRM users have a much more difficult challenge than Camp MA users. With no resource management solution on the Microsoft marketing roadmap, the choices become a bit less clear. While functionality exists within the Dynamics 365 application to approximate MRM capabilities found in MDM, much of that functionality requires extensive configuration and likely customization to deliver on the expectations of marketing operations users.
In this regard, option 1 is to leverage workflow and custom form building capabilities within Dynamics 365 CRM, project management capabilities within PSA (project services administration), financial capabilities in the ERP portion of Dynamics 365, and begin building a tailored solution for resource management. In our view, until a 3rd party completes this approach in a formal way, it is better left to only those customers with a deep and innovative in-house development team, or strong partnership with a external consultancy to co-develop such a solution.
Option 2 is to evaluate independent MRM solutions. Category leaders such as Aprimo and Workfront offer capabilities that are comparable to those within the MRM portion of MDM. One of MDM’s distinctions was its great breadth of MRM functionality, coupled with marketing automation. No other vendor in the market had as much functionality, though MDM suffered serious API limitations rendering it unsuitable for broad integration to the rest of the marketing ecosystem.
Aprimo, recognized by Gartner as the leading MRM vendor for over 10 years, offers extensive functionality in all MRM areas including job and task management, financial tracking, proofing, and resource collaboration. Aprimo also announced its acquisition of ADAM software, a leading digital asset management vendor. Digital asset management was considered by many a weak link within Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. In addition, Aprimo just recently “replatformed” to Microsoft Azure which greatly increases its integration potential with other Microsoft solutions, such as the soon to be Dynamics 365 Marketing, B.E.
Workfront has become a popular alternative for marketing project management and MRM. With its roots in project and portfolio management, Workfront has strong time and task management, status reporting, and collaboration. Workfront also acquired a leading online proofing vendor, Proof HQ which adds excellent review and approval capabilities for digital assets.
Outside of Aprimo and Workfront, there are various other MRM/Marketing Project Management vendors with functionality suitable to replace that used by Camp MRM users. Vendors such as Kapost or Pica9 emphasize digital asset creation and management. Allocadia, another alternative, emphasizes financial and project management. Many choices exist.
In summary, whether you are in Camp MA or Camp MRM, you are likely to experience a degree of challenge as you move away from MDM. Our guidance is a) gather and document your requirements, including functional (features, capabilities), technical (integration to CRM, DAM, social, etc), and financial (budget and internal resource availability), b) understand and formally evaluate your options through RFI, scripted demo’s, and detailed Q&A sessions around your specific requirements, and c) consider the help of a professional who does this work for a living – it will save you time, money, and heartache. Realizing no solution is perfect, be realistic and willing to accept trade-offs to arrive at the solution most effective for your unique environment.