Microsoft CRM Exposed -
Customization & Integration

Microsoft CRM Customization

One of the key strengths of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform is the ability to create custom Entities (like Accounts, Contacts, etc.) and Attributes (also known as fields) and define their relationship to each other. For example, you can create a separate entity under an Account record that is a 1:N to the Account like Club Affiliations or Subscriptions. Once this is done, you can define attributes and place them in sections on the form. These then can be placed as either a menu item or a series of tabs linked to the Account.

Attributes or fields on a form can be created from a list of common field types such as Date/Time, List Box, Text, Numeric, Decimal, Currency, etc. Custom Entities and Attributes are then available through all standard methods such as Import, Export, Advance Finder, Mail Merge, Report Wizard and even Security settings.

The only notable limitation is that there is only one form per Entity. At first this may seem trivial but it can be an important limitation. For example, consider an organization that sells different products and services into the same sets of accounts and wants to have two Opportunity Information forms for a given Account. You will not be able to do this.

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Integration / API

As you would expect, Microsoft excels in this area due to their full library of .NET based integration services and an SDK for developing others integrations plus the ability to support third party plug ins. Microsoft has packaged integration to all of its Dynamics line of Accounting and ERP solutions from acquisitions such as Great Plains, Solomon, Navision, etc. Third party solution providers like TenDigits and CWR also provide tools to enhance access from mobile phones and PDA as well as ones from c360 for better analytics and dashboard capabilities. Lastly, there are a number of industry solutions that have been developed and maintained by partners in specific industries such as Healthcare, Media and Professional Services.

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