Are you looking at Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Do you know what you are looking at? Most organizations begin looking into CRM because they need help managing Sales (leads, Opportunities, Pipeline etc.) or they need help managing Customer Service or Marketing efforts. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a great solution for giving organizations a process for managing Sales, Services and Marketing, but it can do so much more.
The term being tossed around more and more by organizations, consultants and writers is XRM. What does this term mean? The term CRM is Customer Relationship management. XRM can be interpreted as “eXtreme” Relationship Management, or “Any” (fill in the X with any value) Relationship Management. Example: Your organization might be managing contracts, grievances, policies, building assets, parking violations, property taxes, etc. The list goes on and on. Hence the name XRM, you can manage the relationship of anything within your organization.
Organizations have been managing there business process before, why do they need an XRM to help with this process? Simple answer is organization need an infrastructure to build on top of so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel on every project. They need a solution that is secure, and accessible from the internet, they need a solution that is scaleable etc.
Who should look at Microsoft Dynamics CRM? People that need help with Sales, Marketing and Services as well as organizations that are building .NET applications to manage their organizations processes.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM architecture allow you to build your data model, create your interface, manage security, setup your relationships and code custom rules via workflows, plug-ins and callouts. Using Applications built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM have some limitations on navigation, look and feel etc, but you gain so much in security, web access, e-mail, exports, load, duplicate detection, reporting, etc. that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a solution that needs to be looked at by every organization looking to develop a new .NET application. The platform will save time and money developing custom applications. Did I mention this is a solution built on top of the Microsoft stack?
If your organizations is looking at Microsoft Dynamics CRM or you’re trying to get your organization to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM you need to understand and communicate the value of the platform and architecture, not just the value of Sales, Service and Marketing processes. I suggest a shoot out. Have a .NET developer in your organization build an application that manages “X”. Simple one to many relationship, ask for basic list and record and setting up a relationship between the two entities. Have the person begin coding. A good developer might get this done in 1 to 2 days. Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM you can do this in less then an hour. Big deal you say “that’s not enough to sell our organization on Microsoft Dynamics CRM”. Now ask the developer to go tie the simple relationship into Active Director and Role security. You want some people to be able to view, edit and delete. Also allow documents to be associated with the new entity, allow notes and activities. Allow custom views into the entity. Allow export to Excel etc. etc. etc.
PowerObjects point of view: Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built on top of Microsoft Dynamics XRM (XRM is not a Microsoft product).