Why CRM is a Great Platform to Build On

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I've been using Dynamics CRM for over five years. I continue to be amazed at what CRM offers our team, here at Rockton Software, in collecting and sharing important information. CRM is one of those products I deem “Microsoft got right” since their 3.0 release, and their focus on simplicity and integration with Outlook.

 My favorite part about CRM is its customization abilities. A Power User, in a matter of minutes, can add new entities or add new fields to any existing entity in the system. For instance, if you want to track Mother’s Maiden Name on an Account record, it’s literally about 4 minutes of work to define the field, add it to the main form, and have it in production on-the-fly with every user of CRM. In a traditional development environment, such changes would take hours or days, and would likely require a system shutdown to install the new update.

 One of my favorite additions to our CRM system is Trips. I travel quite a bit, so I created Trips and their associated Cars, Hotels, and Flights. I had a fully functioning application in about three hours, given that I was designing on the fly. This process would have taken over two days in a traditional environment.

 What makes Microsoft Dynamics CRM http://www.rocktonsoftware.com/Connect/Index.aspx so strong of a platform? Its architecture. Being metadata driven, it allows for quick customization. Built with a SQL back end, it scales well from a few users to thousands. The platform is available on-premise or in the cloud, which allows for the most flexibility of deployment.

 CRM’s System Manager, a core and key feature of any multi-user business system, is intelligently designed. I keep discovering new features about it. Besides User Management, it has built-in Business Units which allow for subdividing and segregating a company or companies. Most importantly, the security model is so robust it keeps the right people accessing the right things within Business Units, and more importantly, at a record-level as well. Record-level security can be complicated, so having it built into the foundation of a product is a huge developer’s bonus.

 We are in the process of developing Rockton Connect, a financial operations management system built on Dynamics CRM. It’s been a fun and rewarding project, and the energy we've saved from having such a rich foundation to build upon has been immense. Microsoft is “all-in” with CRM, and as more and more developers embrace the platform, it becomes even more relevant in building business applications for any industry.

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 Written By Mark Rockwell, President of Rockton Software.

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