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Sikich

Scoping for Integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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In most projects, applications are expected to be integrated into your architectural landscape. The integration between Microsoft Dynamics® CRM and SharePoint is more involved than is usually appreciated. Ideally, such a project involves workshops for establishing the requirements, installing and customizing the software, some data migration and integration. It's the integration component that is mostly taken for granted...and underestimated. The reason this is underestimated is usually because of a focus on the applications themselves. This has an effect on the scope, planning, collaboration and data migration. Let's consider how each is affected by a proper focus on integration… 

Scope
The scope is often limited to functionality of the application itself rather than total solutions. The use of an (enterprise) solutions architect with the ability to see and remain focused on the big picture is key. Also keep in mind that enterprise solutions become more and more complex, so input from the implementation teams is very important too. 

Planning
The planning in a project in the ideal world should be very dynamic. Unfortunately, due to time and money, the planning is usually very narrow and less dynamic. The integration is often overlooked and, in most cases, not clearly defined. The last is often due to scoping issues--who is responsible for which functionality.  This should be addressed in the process of identifying the business processes and requirements, and the decision should be made in the early stages. 

Collaboration
The collaboration, which is key to the overall success, needs not only attention from team members but also from team leaders. The team members find each other mostly in informal settings, and on this level the importance of the collaboration is noticed and usually brought to the attention of the team leader. In the end, the collaboration is established, but this should take place in earlier stage and formalized by the team leaders and/or project leaders.

Data migration
In most projects, data migration is vertically positioned e.g. in each team someone is responsible for the data migration. This works only for the application itself. In projects where Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint are integrated, it is better to position data migration horizontally. This has several advantages: the awareness that data is used in both applications is increased, the ownership of data can be more easily determined, and collaboration occurs more easily.

We can safely say that project scoping is key to success, because it should be clear who is responsible for which functionality and where collaboration between applications is needed and required. Specializing in the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sikich is an Chicago-based Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. We work with over 4000 customers in 4 states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, in a variety of industries with a focus on manufacturing and distribution, professional services, education and not-for-profit.

By Jim Drumm with Sikich, a leading Chicago IL Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner

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