Home > Articles

📄 Contents

  1. What Is xRM?
  2. Examples of xRM Solutions
  3. Why Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for xRM Application Development?
  4. Summary
  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Why Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for xRM Application Development?

With early versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, system administrators could make simple configuration changes to CRM, and the amount of customization allowed increased with each new release. As adoption of Microsoft Dynamics CRM grew, so did the needs of the businesses using the xRM components. With each new release came a greater level of customization options, to the point where many organizations view Microsoft Dynamics CRM as more than just a CRM platform, but instead as a rapid application development platform, or a “framework” by which these custom/specific applications could be developed.

Why would someone want to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a framework for development? Well, here are just a few of the reasons:

  • Native integration with Outlook for tracking features
  • Exposed web services for easy programmatic manipulation of data
  • Structured framework, providing standardized approach to data
  • Native integration to the rest of the Microsoft stack (Excel, Word, and so on) as well as SharePoint
  • Highly scalable architecture
  • Delegation of user interface development by business analysts
  • Built-in business process automation via the workflow engine
  • Multiple deployment options, including On-Premise, Online, and Partner Hosted
  • Robust security model
  • Large number of third-party components available for advanced customizations

Benefits of xRM

One of the biggest benefits in using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as an xRM application for development is that you can still leverage the native features of CRM (something that every organization needs).

An example of this is the drug testing solution explained earlier. Yes, they received exactly what they wanted with an application, but they can also use the features delivered by CRM (managing Leads, Opportunities, and so on) if they want to.

Given the flexibility of CRM and the rapid ideation to delivery cycle, IT departments are able to meet the growing demands overwhelming their limited resources. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a solid starting point to extend and automate a greater part of the business process. Extending CRM is easy to do and when properly deployed, works in a natural method, allowing business analysts or power users an ever-increasing potential for customizations.

Business analysts are the bridge between traditional IT development teams and the business. Acting as a functional consultant, the business analyst can prototype changes directly with the business process owners and achieve faster time to production.

Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 as an organization-wide development platform consolidates the silos of information found in many organizations today. Along with this, consolidation of applications into a single platform drives down adoption costs as the users have a consistent process not found in many internally developed applications.

Challenges with xRM

Nothing comes for free, and building solutions with Microsoft Dynamics CRM has its own set of challenges. The ability to rapidly build solutions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM can lead customizers to skip the traditional analysis phase and start making changes quickly, leading the solution to miss important design gotchas. Care must be taken to avoid falling into this trap, which could lead to a potentially flawed implementation.

Another challenge with xRM is the sometimes-difficult decision of how much of the OOB entities to use in a new project. Does your process closely align with the OOB process flows and forms? How will changes with the next release impact your customizations? This issue is explained more fully in the next section.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a distinct process and design model; screens and forms work in a specific manner. If the user community has different expectations, that can lead to extensive customizations, reducing the value of the xRM platform choice or making user adoption difficult.

Finally, one of the dangers we see is when customizers decide to use unsupported customizations, which may break when a new release comes out. Customizers should be aware of the impact of supported customizations and avoid them if at all possible.

  • For details on supported versus unsupported customizations, see Chapter 21, “Customizing Entities.”

Licensing Considerations

Licensing options for Microsoft Dynamics CRM impact the building of xRM solutions, and the new lowest cost license is a great option for a pure xRM solution. However, this licensing model does not provide access to the native entities, and therefore forces you down an all-or-nothing path.

  • For details on licensing of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, along with the implications for building xRM solutions, see Chapter 4, “CRM Online.”

Customization in the Wild

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM, here are a few examples of customizations “in the wild.”

Let’s first start with a simple customization: The organization needs to track one additional piece of information for every product sold. This is the Order Product entity and represents a detail line item for the order. The organization needs an effective date for each individual product, as shown in Figure 3.3.

FIGURE 3.3

FIGURE 3.3 Order Product entity.

The customization shown in Figure 3.3 includes more than just adding the field. We also updated the views within their solution to display this on each order.

Moving to the far end of the xRM spectrum, we have a solution that is highly customized. The first screen is from the drug testing application described earlier. Figure 3.4 shows the screen from within the Microsoft Outlook client showing the custom entities built for this solution.

FIGURE 3.4

FIGURE 3.4 Custom entities displayed in Outlook.

Drilling down on the Samples entity, Figure 3.5 shows the screen capture of the custom entity and some of the fields on the main form. This entity is the core of their system and links via relationships to every other item listed in Figure 3.4. The links to Requestors and Patients are further down on the screen, and a grid displays the many test results associated with this test sample.

FIGURE 3.5

FIGURE 3.5 The custom Samples entity.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020