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Microsoft Dynamics CRM For Small Businesses

Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Customer Relationship Management) provides a major piece of the puzzle as an off the shelf solution for common components required for most line of business applications. It's a perfect CRM system for small businesses looking to grow. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built on the Microsoft platform and therefore takes advantage of Windows server and client operating systems, Microsoft SQL Server, Reporting Services, and the Office clients. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides the core functionality required for LOB solutions. Many of the components of a finished application come straight out of the box with Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Customer Relationship Management):

Microsoft CRM For Small Businesses

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  • User interface
  • Security
  • Data model
  • Workflow engine
  • Reporting
  • Compatibility
  • Additional features

User interface:Microsoft specializes in usability, and CRM contains a fully featured user interface based on Microsoft standards. Outlook integration means that CRM features can be accessed without leaving MS Outlook (Figure 1), a key benefit to many users.

Security: You get a fully developed system for user authentication, user administration and role-based security, based on Active Directory. The security is highly granular, allowing you to control access to individual records.

Data model:The platform includes extensive templates for tracking organizations, people, contacts, contracts, marketing activities and service activities.

Workflow engine: You can build business workflows to route transactions and track progress of work activities based on the Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation.

Reporting: Start with a set of prebuilt reports and an extensible reporting architecture(Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Service), ad hoc query tool, and report export to Excel and PDF files.

Compatibility: Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built using standard Microsoft .NET technologies and is fully extensible and customizable.

Additional features: The standard product includes off-line capability, a data importing wizard, and support for handheld and wireless devices, among other features.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint

SharePoint technologies include two products, Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS 2007). SharePoint provides web content management, document management (including versioning), a portal framework for digital dashboards, and a powerful search engine. For instance, while MS Dynamics CRM solution is not a document management product, SharePoint is easily integrated and provides this capability.

By integrating SharePoint with MS Dynamics customer relationship management software, you can easily add this extensive functionality to your solution. For instance, you can add a tab to a Microsoft Dynamics CRM screen that shows a document library containing draft documents. The content management features of SharePoint allow you to build a page on your website which can display reports or other data from MS Dynamics CRM.

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a development platform, you can:

  • Shorten the requirements process
  • Reduce time to initial deployment
  • Reduce development complexity
  • Improve user adoption
  • Reduce training requirements
  • Reduce technical risk
  • Gains upgrade power
  • Gain advanced functionality