Make A Resolution To Reconnect With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

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Are you someone who, in the last several years, gave Microsoft Dynamics CRM a chance, only to find yourself disappointed in what it could (or couldn’t) do?  If so, you are certainly not alone.  Accustomed to the whiz-bang sizzle that often accompanies new Microsoft innovations and expecting the same from Microsoft’s entry into the buzzword-worthy CRM industry, most people were surprised at the somewhat limited feature-set of the first version of CRM.  Sure, it covered the basics, but who is satisfied with that? 

The release of version 3.0 in December 2005 represented a major shift in Microsoft’s approach to the feature set.  This was the innovation-packed product that we had been hoping for.  It provided intuitive workflows, an easy-to-use search engine and dynamic reporting using SQL Reporting Services.  It also featured a seamless integration to Microsoft Outlook, so the application resided in the same place where the users worked day in and day out.  Dynamics CRM was quickly embraced around the world, and earned recognition from industry insiders like CRM Magazine and Gartner Inc

Still, though, there was much room for improvement.  Many CRM users reported difficulty accessing their reports online.  Access to the CRM system from outside the company network depended on a VPN connection.  It was very difficult to create SRS Reports without the help of a developer.  And though the customization capabilities were vastly expanded, CRM Administrators still had to get very creative about relationally linking different types of data in the system.

With the current version 4.0 of Dynamics CRM, Microsoft has proven that it is unquestionably committed to continuing to make huge development strides with the application.  Some of the features that have been well-received are the capability for an Internet-facing deployment, a user-friendly Report Wizard, Duplicate Detection, and the helpful Resource Center, where users can find, share and request information and best practices.  And for those of us who design CRM systems for our customers on a regular basis, we were very excited to find that Microsoft had finally provided the missing link to relationally linking all types of data in the system.

2010 proves to be a very exciting year for Dynamics CRM, and merits a second look for those who have turned away from it in the past.  CRM 5.0 is scheduled to be released before year’s end, and is reported to provide even more creative innovations to enhance the user experience.  Look for the ability to filter data in lists (just like we have been able to do in Excel for years), in-line graphics for statistical information on data you are currently viewing, and tight integration with SharePoint for document management.  This is just a small sneak-peek of what the application will include.

And now, with the arrival of xRM, Dynamics CRM’s use as a development platform for any type of relationship that needs to be managed, the question in the general consumer’s mindset has shifted from “Why should I use Dynamics CRM?” to “Why wouldn’t I use Dynamics CRM?”.

So, do yourself a favor and pledge to keep one more New Year’s Resolution – to take another look at Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and what it can do for you. 


FMT Consultants is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Dynamics CRM and GP located in Carlsbad, California.  Visit our website at or on Facebook at


Posted by Natasha Serrano of FMT Consultants, LLC, a California Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in Dynamics CRM and GP.

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