Dynamics CRM 2011 has the ability to effectively manage far more data than just account and contact information as the name might imply. With some basic customization, it can handle data of just about any type, this concept has become known as “xRM” or “Anything” Relationship Management. Existing record types can be tailored to meet a client’s needs or new ones can be created with minimal effort. That being said, these capabilities bring up an interesting question; when should you customize one of the existing record types (entities) and when should you create new custom entities?
When to use custom entities:
If you have data that doesn’t really fit with or have any similarity to any of the existing entities, you should create a custom entity. Rather than trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole it is usually quicker to create a new entity than it is to make several modifications to an existing entity. If you have data related to one of the core entities like accounts or contacts, a custom entity can easily be set up as a child record.
If you have account and contact data but refer to those records types by different terminology you can rename the existing entities to match your organization’s naming conventions. In this case, there would be no need to re-create a new entity if only minimal information from the existing entity is being changed.
Some of the standard entities have additional “perks” available to them that custom entities can’t provide. Good examples are opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices. Right out of the box they can provide totals from their corresponding line item records without having a developer create custom code to replicate the functionality.
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