Understanding the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 paradigm shift

It includes integrated security that will allow you to determine who can or can’t see, update and/or delete specific records by job role, the ability to automatically distribute the customizations (changes) to all users and a workflow or process automation engine that can automate manual tasks based on any change in your data.

There’s more, but basically this is a development platform built on a Customer Relationship Management database. BTW, customizations can be done without having to do any programming.  In effect, you can design custom entities (tables or files) to store data and associate it with your customers, prospects and vendors while tracking communications with them as well. Most importantly, you can do it quickly and publish changes to all users immediately upon request without having to manually update the end user PCs. If you can’t find all the function you need in the base customization set, you can also extend CRM functionality with .Net and jscript extensions as well as integrate it with other applications both internal and on the web.

We find that there are usually multiple applications used in an organization to augment the existing operational systems. We see them implemented in Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, Word templates, or even on paper. In many cases, this data is generally related to customers, vendors or other information stored in the main applications, but orphaned due to the lack of flexibility in the legacy software in place. It is easy to replicate and evolve the designs of these one-off applications into CRM, thus eliminating duplicate entry, allowing secure multi-user access, and even remote access if needed.

There are many manual tasks that tie up staff time and create potential for error in the average organization. The workflow engine can automate these manual processes and allow staff to focus other tasks. Workflows can be triggered to run automatically based upon an event or be run manually. Either way, a Workflow can standardize a simple or complex manual process and react more quickly than your staff can. Time savings, process standardization and increased productivity are the direct benefit here. 

We are also seeing many new applications developed in Dynamics CRM that have nothing to do with traditional CRM applications. Church membership management, Highway Toll Collections, Education Enrollment, Business Brokerage Management and more are all applications that have been implemented using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We call this xRM, a term you will see more and more related to Microsoft CRM.

Make no mistake, this is a strategic platform that with a productive user interface that can help consolidate multiple applications, fix manual or broken processes, allow extensive customization and generally improve overall productivity substantially at a lower cost than traditional development environments.

Stephen Noe, CRM Consultant & MCT

About stephenvnoe

CRM & XRM solution architect and project lead. I provide CRM design, services, mentoring & support to all manner of front office solutions and CRM projects.
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