When I moved from my previous role into this one, I had to get up to speed on Dynamics CRM having never really looked at it before – and to be honest I had no real desire, it was a CRM tool. Coming from a classic Microsoft architecture background to say I was pleasantly surprised is a wild understatement. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a fantastic product, however the name does it no justice at all.
We should be looking to rename it Microsoft Business Application Platform or something along those lines. It offers you the ability to build dynamic xRM applications; a bunch of entities with various attributes attached to them with relationships between them. Nice, but not groundbreaking in itself. However you then layer on top of that the workflow, web based UI designers, scheduling tools, marketing tools, web based reporting wizards and so forth it starts to get really powerful. The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle is that you can use Outlook as the UI, and therefore take the whole thing offline.
However, where is there is sometimes debate is the line between SharePoint and CRM. There are some overlapping features, and therefore you have some decisions to make about what product should be used in certain situations. I have had these conversations a couple of times with teams in the field, but I read this whitepaper last week and feel it does a good job of weighing up the respective strengths of each platform and when to use them. It is written by a US partner who works in the government called Infostrat and is titled: Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint Platforms, choosing the right tools for the solution (link to document in the right hand column).
There is also a blog by Jim Townsend from Infostrat who has a recent post on this topic here: A Third Option.
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