While I was at PDC, someone asked me of all the technologies that Microsoft has available, why had I chosen to work with Dynamics CRM. This was a really good question and as there was some really specific reasons and it was a deliberate choice, I thought I would share it here.
A few years ago I had to make a decision with my business on what to focus our energies – we were developing lots of varying custom applications for different clients and finding it hard to pick a focus and target our marketing so we could meet some of our growth plans. I loved that we were working on all sorts of different technologies – Mobile, Web, Mapping, Windows, Reporting, Sharepoint, SQL, Performance Point – but it was making it challenging to recruit, and even more challenging to focus our growth in line with our vision & goals.
The second factor is that I am particularly passionate about reducing inefficiencies – and working with companies to achieve a ‘single version of the truth’ by integrating systems, and removing the need for duplication of processes & duplicate data entry.
It was both of these reasons together that led us to the decision to focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It gives you a great foundation for building applications meaning you can focus on the fun stuff like customisation, plugins, gadgets, using the tools of your choice – like say .Net, Mobile technologies, Silverlight, WPF – whatever and not worry about the boring stuff (can I say that??) that would have to built into each application like security, user management or deployment options. Plus as an added bonus it already had built in components for Windows Workflow, online/offline availability, Office integration, Unified Communications links, Reporting and End user personalisation.
So now we get to build applications that use all of that underlying functionality, integrate it with underlying LOB systems and e-commerce apps as well as still get to play with all the new tools that come out – because CRM touches so many of the other applications that Microsoft has. I was able to indulge my developer side while still addressing my need to ensure business process improvement for our clients. It allowed us to align our focus, internal development & training and achieve Microsoft Certified Partner Status for Dynamics. For both myself and for the company it ended up being a great win.
That said, all this talk of playing with the new tools - I have actually been a little slack over the last month & although I had all great intentions I have not had a chance to build some of the things I had in mind for CRM and I realise my posts have been less technical than they have been previously. I will be creating some more technical content shortly – including some Screencasts for integrating CRM & SharePoint, building Vista Gadgets for Dynamics (we will be creating one for NAV, Ax and CRM), using Silverlight in CRM (Check out the awesome work already done on this by the Dynamics Duo Ben Riga & Girish Raja). I’ve got a post in mind on socialising your Dynamics apps – and am kicking this more technical content off with a webcast next week where I will be teaming up with Nina Vines from our local Sydney CRM Partner team on the newly released Dynamics CRM accelerators.