A portal allows us to selectively publish access to specific parts of our CRM database for access by customers & partners. The latest Customer Portal Accelerator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides out-of-the-box support for customer case access, knowledgebase access, and an event calendar.
An arrangement between Adxstudio and Microsoft has moved Dynamics CRM portal technology to a new level. A portal allows us to selectively publish access to specific parts of our CRM database for access by customers & partners. While the original release of the portal accelerators left something to be desired, this new implementation opens the door for a whole next level of functionality, not the least of which is website content management hosted within your CRM.
The accelerator can be implemented in connection with on-premise, partner hosted,and CRM Online. This is a major step forward in allowing developers the flexibility in supporting any environment.
The Dynamics CRM side of customer eService & event portions of the accelerator have the same functionality as they did in the initial release, no real enhancements have been added there. They are a great place to start, but will require enhancement to the basic functions included.
The good news is that that enhancement is much easier in the new structure supported by the new SDK enhancements announced about the same time as the portal releases.
Web site content management (CMS) was the unexpected bonus. We moved our web site to a CMS based system several years ago, but have been dealing with the issues of keeping the web site in sync with our CRM implementation. Since the website is one of our major marketing investments, we need to measure the success, capture information from web forms and provide access to this information within CRM.
For the first time, we can now integrate our CRM and web content and manage it using the same platform. My next blog will discuss the initial installation of the Customer Portal accelerator.
Here is a quick screen shot of a test implementation of the portal following the installation instructions and doing a little styling work on the CSS.
Looks a lot like our website, doesn’t it? We are pretty excited about the possibilities for our training session calendar. More on that later.
Stephen V. Noe, MCITP-CRMx2, MCT