Azure and Dynamics CRM 2011 Lead to Easier Distribution

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A brief interview with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Principal Program Manager Andrew Bybee revealed some interesting tidbits about the planned integration between Dynamics and Azure, the company’s cloud platform. Bybee started off by addressing the overarching concern – is the cloud ready for business?

“The short answer is yes,” Bybee said.

According to Bybee, working in the cloud is allowing Microsoft to enhance the functionality of Dynamics CRM.

“With Dynamics, and especially with the work we’re doing online, it’s really a combination of being able to take advantage of all the things you get with your Dynamics Online subscription, but then being able to start combining that with the technologies that you’re used to working with,” Bybee said.

This functionality isn’t coming solely from Microsoft, but also from their partners, most of whom are slowly getting used to the new cloud way of thinking.

“We’ve certainly had some partners that have had their eyes opened with the opportunities that come with saying ‘Hey, your data can be resident in one place, and you can now start to connect that data with a lot of different clients,’” Bybee said. “Or, I can now have one instance of my service running that can serve a variety of customers, whether those customers are running it online or whether they’re running it on premises.”

Once partners come over that hump of thinking, they – along with Microsoft – realized that you can start to connect services and processes that used to be disconnected out of necessity.

“Now we’re looking at this idea that you can start to stitch together these services in a dynamic way. The dynamic aspect of that is something that partners are getting very excited about,” Bybee said.

One feature that will really capitalize on this expandability and connectivity is the marketplace, which will allow partners to create and distribute runtime definitions for Dynamics CRM.

“We’re pretty excited about the marketplace. It’s important to understand that it’s really the beginning of a journey. It really is about the ability to reach out to a much broader set of people,” Bybee said. “When you start combining XRM and the marketplace, you’re able to get a very dynamic behavior out of all of this. I’m now able to take solutions that historically I’d have to implement in procedural code. Remember when you had to actually write lines of code to actually get things done?”

According to Bybee, XRM will save tons of development time by making the process more abstract.

“The whole promise of XRM is to say I can just describe the behavior that I really want, and in the process of describing it, I can let the run-time take care of doing the implementation, and doing it in a variety of ways,” Bybee said.

These definitions can range from behaviors in the Outlook client, creating a mobile experience from an established website, and even running dynamic forms.

“For developers, these are things they spend a lot of time on: security, forms, business logic. You’re now able to describe a lot of that,” Bybee said.

The main benefit of the marketplace is that it will allow you to disseminate any descriptions you create down to your customers, and ensure that those behaviors maintain integrity in different environments.

“How much does it take to get those descriptions down to all your different customers, and to update those descriptions? And how much do you have to worry about things like backwards compatibility or conflict issues with other applications? We’ve done a lot of work to make sure those scenarios hang together really well.”

By CRM Software Blog Editors, Directory of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Experts

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