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CRM Development—The Easy Way
Building business logic by piecing together a database, spreadsheet and calendar app can not only be time consuming but also error prone. With the new Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 CRM platform, you can spend less time fitting together the pieces and more time getting the logic right. 

More Resources
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Launch Events
  • On Demand: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0—    ISV Opportunities
  • ISV Innovation Presents: Introduction to     Microsoft Dynamics
  • Download the Dynamics CRM 4.0 SDK
  • Customer relationship management applications can literally transform how sales, marketing, and customer service organizations function. The power of CRM is to create a 360 degree view of customers from first contact through purchase and post-sales. CRM empowers marketing to make more informed marketing investments, sales to get more leads and close more business, and customer service to provide more value to those paying the bills.

    The challenge with implementing a CRM solution is that not all companies operate the same way. Although off the shelf CRM software can be "customized" to align with business terminology, it is often difficult to truly integrate CRM applications into complex business processes. This may result in business processes conforming to the CRM solution, instead of the application adapting to specific process needs.

    Next Generation CRM
    Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM 4.0 has built-in functionality for just about every sales, marketing, and customer service function you can think of (marketing campaign planning and execution, analytics and reporting, lead and opportunity management, products and contract management, service scheduling, knowledge-base management and so on). Users have access to the complete set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM functionality without ever leaving the 2007 Microsoft® Office system. They have the option of working off-line and automatically synchronizing the next time they log in. The platform also supports multiple languages, currencies, and time zones for organizations that conduct business globally.

    This latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM holds great promise, not just for business that develop CRM systems in-house, but also for ISVs and VARs. For example, an ISV in higher education could use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to develop a vertical specific candidate tracking solution for college administrators and recruiters. Value added resellers (VARs) can similarly leverage the flexible architecture of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to integrate with clients' existing technology investments and tailor the system to handle an array of business processes.

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform supports smaller deployments and can scale for application service provider models as well. The system can be run in-house, hosted by the VAR/ISV, or even accessed as a subscription service through Microsoft's CRM Live offering. Operational efficiency is vastly improved over the 3.0 version of Dynamics CRM with a new multi-tenant architecture to help simplify deployment and support and to enable more efficient use of hardware. Clustering and load balancing, as well as parallel inbox processing and wide area network (WAN) performance improvements are also at hand.

    Built for Developers
    Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 transforms CRM from a traditional monolithic application into a developer friendly service that can be weaved into the very fabric of an organization. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform is built with Microsoft® .NET–connected technologies so it is easy to deploy, customize, and use. The skills needed to develop compelling Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications are likely skills you already have. If you are familiar with Microsoft® Visual Studio® .NET and have a working knowledge of C#/Visual Basic .NET, you are ready to roll.

    The platform is the heart of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. When you use the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK, you are building on top of this system. The main platform components are as follows:

    • Microsoft SQL Server database
    • Web services
    • System services (workflow, metadata, and integration)
    • A query processor that supports the entity model
    • Secured ad hoc queries that use an XML fetch statement to protect the physical database
    • Plug-ins for business logic extensibility
    • Reporting services
    Figure 1. Architecture Overview

    When you develop an application that uses the Microsoft Dynamics CRM server, you use Web services to communicate with the underlying platform layer.

    The server platform is responsible for housing domain-specific objects. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, these objects include contact, lead, opportunity, account, business unit, and more. The goal of the platform is to implement the service-specific rules by manipulating and combining the underlying domain objects. The platform does not impose business-specific logic. This layer imposes only generic domain constraints. It contains the building blocks for an application, but by itself is nothing more than a collection of related objects. However, the interaction between those objects within the domain can be assumed to implement more extensible logic such as the quote-to-order-to-invoice processing and pricing logic.

    The server platform also controls access to objects through security, controls access to the database, and raises events for workflow processes (built on top of Windows Workflow Foundation) and custom business logic implementations. The platform layer provides for both incoming and outgoing e-mail processing through Microsoft® Office Exchange. Microsoft Dynamics CRM also empowers users by enabling non-technical people to create workflows and reports via easy to use wizard-based tools.


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