Microsoft Dynamics CRM - The Lovely Bones

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One of the major trends with Dynamics CRM is the concept of xRM.  xRM represents that use of Dynamics CRM as an application that can provide functionality beyond a “Customer” based application.  Customer Relationship Management at its core gives you Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service functionality.  This Sales and Customer focus is certainly the primary reason for using Dynamics CRM.  But the rapidly growing trend is to use this environment as a development foundation for non Sales / Customer focused applications.

Many other blogs have discussed some of the types of applications that have been developed within this environment.  These include such widely varying applications that manage Vendors, Assets, Employees, Projects, Partnerships, Properties, and Grants.

What I want to focus on here is why this works so well.  When you get down to it, it really is due to Dynamics CRM’s “Bones”.   When you put aside for the moment the type of business application it is and think about what it is doing for you under the hood, you see the value of what it delivers as a development environment.  These “lovely bones” includes:

  • An underlying database of the industry standard Microsoft SQL Server.
  • Two user interfaces – a web client and a native Outlook client.
  • A strong data security model that allows you to define who has access to what data – no matter how they access the data.
  • Report design and development environment that includes SQL Reporting Services and Excel.  This includes the underlying database views to allow you to easily do context sensitive reporting (based on the record or records currently viewed or selected).
  • Very tight integration with Excel and Word
  • A powerful Workflow engine to allow you to automate tasks, alerts, and other aspects of the system.
  • A very easy to use tool set, which makes adding custom entities (tables) and fields (attributes) very simple.  This includes a powerful development environment with Javascript, and Web Services.

So anyone wanting to develop an application will already have these basic needs handled, and handled very well, which leads to a shorter time to develop.  And since you are building on an application you already own, you are not paying for an additional environment or application software.

Now I would never go so far as to suggest that Dynamics CRM is good for any application you can think of.  For example, I would never see it replacing the capabilities of a powerful transactional focused application like an ERP / Financial System (such as Dynamics GP).  But if you need to store data, access data, need to customize the look and feel of what is tracked, want the users to be self reliant in their reporting, and your needs include processes that you need to manage, then Dynamics CRM and its lovely bones is something worth your serious consideration.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have: Rick Feterick, Feterick & Associates, Inc  847-795-8200 x74 or rfeterick@feterick.com.

Submitted by Feterick & Associates, Inc –Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner in Illinois.

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