Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 offers significant new and enhanced features that can increase effectiveness and productivity in your organization. This article will highlight Contextual Document Management. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 provides a way to share and collaborate on documents in Dynamics CRM using the document repository capabilities of SharePoint Server 2010.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has always provided the ability to attach documents to virtually any CRM record. Documents attached to records are stored in the database which means that you can access them if you are out of the office or offline. Why is document collaboration so important? It allows for efficient communication. If you have ever struggled with reconciling document versions, merging and coordinating changes, or tracking down who has done what, you can understand the value.
Contextual Document Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables you to store and manage documents in the context of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM record on a server that is running SharePoint. You can use this feature and leverage the SharePoint infrastructure to share, manage, and collaborate efficiently. Because the documents are stored on a server that is running SharePoint, non-Microsoft Dynamics CRM users can directly access the documents on the server, provided they have the appropriate privileges on the server that is running SharePoint Server to do so.
Once Microsoft Dynamics CRM is pointed to a SharePoint site, an administrator can configure virtually any record type for document management. To interact with documents for a record in CRM, simply open the record and click on the Documents tab. Now CRM users can take advantage of all of the document repository and collaboration functionality of SharePoint (i.e. upload, view, check out, etc.) without exiting Microsoft Dynamics CRM. For non CRM users, the documents can be accessed via standard SharePoint clients like the web or Microsoft Outlook thereby extending this capability to your entire organization.
One way to use the document management feature would be to manage document collaboration around your customer proposal or quoting process. Proposals often go through many revisions and require input from multiple people across an organization. Document management can be enabled for the Opportunity or Quote record type (or a custom Proposal record type) in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Then when a new Opportunity is entered, the document repository for the Opportunity is automatically created in SharePoint. Your sales users can then upload and collaborate on documents from their familiar CRM interface, while stakeholders from the product engineering and finance departments can contribute and edit via the SharePoint web interface or Outlook.
If your organization could benefit from the power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for contextual document management or to address any other business objectives you might have,