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Microsoft CRM Dynmaics: The Good, the Bad and the Massive

I’ve been working with Microsoft CRM dynamics for about three years now, with a couple of different clients. Both clients use CRM is quite different ways, and having varing levels of customisation and integration. Here is a shortish list of my experiences with it, and thoughts around what to consider when choosing and implementing it.

Here is a diagram of the key entities in standard CRM for reference: CrmEntityDiagram

Positive

  • Rich filtering and user defined views of records makes it easy to define what to work on
  • Creating new related records from the search is nice
  • Templates (e.g. campaign)
  • Good consistent keyboard shortcuts
  • Drill down charts built in
  • Can Connect any entity in the system to anything else

Negative

  • Quiet a learning curve to get comformtable with the system
  • Expensive contractors if you need support
  • Not clear to see relationships, a view of a single entity can only show 1 level of related data
  • Lots to learn, doesn’t manage processes, very much data orientated
  • Don’t have an english explanation (e.g. on service), need to jump around to fields to understand what it is (the narrative)
  • All due dates as specific rather than SLAs from times. You need to write plugins to do SLA type code.
  • Fragile: AD integration, Exchange, Sharepoint, etc. Each on their own is complicated and scary, together they are very fragile !

The massive

  • The database is very large. All primary keys are 128 bit guids, and there are lots of foreign keys leading to very wide tables.
  • The flexible nature leads to lots of indexes to get reasonable performance, meaning your database will get big, quickly, especially on Activity entities.
  • You will need big faster hardware to make it run reasonably.

Best pracitises when customising

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