We have all come to know and love Microsoft Dynamics CRM as one of the leaders in the CRM Market.  It’s a simple, easy-to-use software tool for sales and marketing automation with the ability to track leads, opportunities and accounts, create quotes, orders and invoices.  And finally, it’s a customer service module for tracking cases and knowledge-base articles.

However, in my opinion, the best thing about Dynamics CRM is actually not CRM at all.  It’s not any one of those items above.  It is something that the industry calls “XRM”.  The “X” standing for basically anything you want it to stand for—anything that you wish to develop a Relational Management software system for—can be done through Dynamics CRM through it’s XRM configuration module.

So, let’s talk about this a little bit.  In the software development world, typically in order to build an application you must do quite a few things.  You certainly need a database, for storing the applications data.  The database should have all the appropriate security and optimization measures in place of course.  Then comes the application itself, Perhaps a .Net application residing on an Application Server.  This is where you will need to design custom forms for all the screens in your application, as well as the logic and business rules that apply.  Then we have users.  How will users of this application authenticate into the system and what rights and privileges will they have to perform functions in the application?  This mechanism will have to be developed and designed in a simple yet dynamic manner.

What if I told you that you could take all of those pieces above do them in a rapid manner leveraging the “XRM” approach?  Would you ever go back to pure custom development starting from scratch?  I know for sure I wouldn’t.  I am all in for Dynamics CRM.

Despite Dynamics CRM containing all of those entities involved with the Sales and Customer Service modules, it has a customization module like no other software out there.  You can choose to use or not use any of the “out of the box” functionality and you can build basically anything that you wish.

Entities in Dynamics CRM would equate to a single Database Table for storing a specific type of record.  Along with the Table, when you create an entity, you also get the Form that comes with it – this being the screen within the application for viewing and data entry.  There are relationships for this entity – which is where you would define all other related tables/entities and the nature of their relationships.  Views can also be rapidly built for seeing lists of records for a given entity or combination of entities.  There are also business rules that relate to the entity, performing logic and manipulating the UI formatting.  Finally, there is User Security. It’s dynamically configured to allow or disallow users to perform certain functions against the entity.

You can get everything described above within a matter of a few simple mouse-clicks and a mere minute or two if you choose to develop on the XRM platform of Dynamics CRM.  And the icing on the cake is, the person who does those mouse clicks does not need to know an ounce of Database or Application code.  They can do it all through a very simple, user friendly GUI.

So you see, Dynamics CRM may be an excellent sales and service automation software system.  But to me, it will always be my go-to platform for rapid software development.  XRM — the best part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

For more information about how you can get the best out of your Dynamics CRM solution, contact our CRM professionals. 855-437-7202.

by Chris Witham for RSM