Providing Great Customizations in Dynamics CRM 2011

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1. Provide an excellent user experience

Microsoft makes it fairly easy for the average CRM administrator to add new fields and create basic workflows without assistance from a partner. But sometimes as a result, you can end up with a multitude of small changes adding up to a giant problem when it comes to managing and making sense of the data later. Sure 100 fields on an Opportunity record lets you capture a lot of detail, but someone really should step back and look at the big picture. Is all that information really needed right away in the sales process? Can some be gathered after the Opportunity is turned into a Quote? Can any of the data be populated through some automated means? Who is using this data? These are just a few of the questions an experienced CRM customizer should be asking in order to streamline data entry and retrieval. 

2. Use the existing functionality before going ‘outside the box’

Establishing a tight set of requirements for a customization should make the best method of implementation stand out. Creating custom JavaScript or .NET code is fully supported, but might not always be the best approach. Ensuring the environment is stable and not prone to errors is critical, so writing good quality custom code means additional time testing a variety of scenarios. Taking into account items like the interaction of users with different security roles or how code works based on the form type (create, read only, etc…) are common headaches that can be avoided with a little planning.

Things that should be taken into account:

  • Know what’s available – a good understanding of relationships, field mappings, workflows, dialogs, connections, and security (just to name a few) can go a long way in accomplishing what many people are looking for with only a little investment
  • Validation – something as simple as using the correct field type will force the form to use the built in validation or using an option set to limit user input can make for more accurate reporting
  • Timing – if auto-populating data on record, determine when the end user needs to see the data; this could mean the difference between using JavaScript or a standard workflow

Click here to read more about things that should be taken account when using existing functionality as well as how to use the APIs and stay supported.

For more information on how the experienced CRM customizers at Avastone Technologies can assist in adding fields and creating workflows in Dynamics CRM, contact Avastone Technologies at (920) 687-4108, or

By, Jason Lattimer, Software Developer, Avastone Technologies LLC, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner – Fox Cities and Milwaukee WI

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