Microsoft Dynamics CRM
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (April 2013)|
|Stable release||2011 / February 16, 2011|
|Operating system||Windows Server 2003/2008 (Server), Microsoft Windows (Clients)|
|Available in||Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Latin), Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian|
|Type||Customer relationship management|
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a customer relationship management software package developed by Microsoft. Out of the box, the product focuses mainly on Sales, Marketing, and Service (help desk) sectors, but Microsoft has been marketing Dynamics CRM as an XRM platform and has been encouraging partners to use its proprietary (.NET based) framework to customize it to meet many different demands.
The Microsoft Dynamics family of business applications includes other related products such as Microsoft Dynamics AX (ERP application), Microsoft Dynamics GP, (ERP application) Microsoft Dynamics NAV (ERP application), and Microsoft Dynamics SL (ERP Application) and also Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System; also known as Dynamics RMS.
Dynamics CRM is a server-client application, which, like Microsoft SharePoint, is primarily an IIS-based web application which also supports extensive web services interfaces. Clients access Dynamics CRM either by using Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or later web browser or by a thick client plug-in to Microsoft Outlook. The most recent release added full support for the Chrome and Firefox browsers, and limited support for Safari.
The current version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is 2011. However Microsoft CRM 2013 is available in closed beta.
- Microsoft CRM 1.0 launched in January 2003.
- Microsoft CRM 1.2 was released December 8, 2003. Microsoft CRM 1.2 was not widely adopted by industry.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0
- The second version was rebranded as Microsoft Dynamics 3.0 (version 2.0 was skipped entirely) to signify its inclusion within the Dynamics product family and was released December 5, 2005. Notable updates over version 1.2 are the ease of creating customizations to CRM, the switch from using Crystal Reports to Microsoft SQL Reporting Services, the ability to run on Windows Vista and Outlook 2007, and support for Exchange 2007.
- Significant additions released later by Microsoft also allowed Dynamics CRM 3.0 to be accessed by various mobile devices and integration with Siebel Systems.
- This was the first version that saw reasonable take up by customers.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
- Dynamics CRM 4.0 introduced in December 2007. It features multi-tenancy, improved reporting security, data importing, direct mail merging and support for newer technologies such as Windows 2008  and SQL 2008 (Update Rollup 4).
- Dynamics CRM 4.0 also implements CRM Online, a hosted solution that is offered directly from Microsoft. The multi-tenancy option also allows ISVs to offer hosted solutions to end customers as well.
- Dynamics CRM 4.0 is the first version of the product which has seen significant takeup in the market and passed the 1 million user mark in July 2009.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
- Dynamics CRM 2011 was released to open Beta in February 2010
- It then went into Release Candidate stage in December 2010
- The product was then released in February 2011
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
- Dynamics CRM 2013 was released to a closed beta group on 28th of July 2013.
- Dynamics CRM 2013 Online went live for new signups in October 2013.
- Dynamics CRM 2013 On-Premise was released in November 2013.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is available in two primary delivery mechanisms: Dynamics CRM On-Premise and Dynamics CRM Online. The on-premise version of CRM is hosted by the customer in an on-premise server. With CRM Online, Microsoft takes over the hosting responsibilities. For the average end-user, there is no substantial difference between CRM Online and On-Premise. For an administrator, things like direct access to SQL tables and expanded backup capabilities can drive the decision to go on-premise or online.
CRM On-Premise comes in a few licensing editions:
- Workgroup Edition
This edition is only allowed 5 CALs maximum, it is not possible to add more CALs. If more CALs are needed, an upgrade to Professional or Enterprise should be done. Also all the server roles are installed on 1 machine and cannot be separated. You can only create 1 organization in this version and the use of external connectors is not allowed. This version is ideal for small organizations that can use it with the SQL Server Workgroup Edition and on a Windows Small Business Server.
- Professional Edition
The Professional Edition has the same functionality as the Workgroup Edition except there is no limit on the CALs. If the installation profile calls for supporting either multiple organizations or servers, the Enterprise Edition is required.
- Enterprise Edition
Has the same functionality as the Professional Edition but without limits. This version is to be used when multiple divisions should be accessing CRM from one platform.
- Service Provider Edition
This edition is actually an Enterprise Edition that is configured to accept Internal user requests from AD and external user requests through IFD (Internet Facing Deployment). This version is mostly implemented by Microsoft Partners that offer Hosted CRM functionality, when letting external users connect to this CRM version through the Internet.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers two types of licenses: Server license and Client Access License (CAL). Each deployment should have at least one server license and one CAL. CAL is also known as a user license.
There are two types of Client CAL:
- Named User CAL: This is tied with the user name i.e. the user can access MSCRM from any computer.
- Device CAL: This is tied with the Device (i.e., CRM can be accessed from only one device). This model is useful in environments such as Call Centers.
Read Only Licenses
New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 are readonly licenses. Users that do not have to have write permissions can be assigned Read Only licenses. These licenses are cheaper because they do not allow any write operations on the records. If later a user should be able to perform a write operation, a step-up license can be bought to upgrade the Read-Only license to a Full Client Access License.
Full Use Licenses Full Use Licenses are licenses where the client (user / device) has read, write and update permissions.
External Connector Licenses
Whenever an application (windows or web) reads or writes data from/in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, an external connector license is required. External Connector licenses are only valid when bought for a Professional or Enterprise edition. It is not allowed to use them with a Workgroup Edition.
These also come in 3 forms:
- External Connector : Is a combination of the Limited External Connector (that provides Read Only functionality) and the Full Use Additive External Connector (that provides Write Only functionality)
- Limited External Connector: Provides Read Only functionality for the external application. This license can be upgraded to an 'External Connector License' when the Full Use Additive External Connector is bought.
- Full Use Additive External Connector: Provides the Write functionality to a "Limited External Connector" license.
Dynamics CRM version 4.0 adds a number of new features, including support for duplicate data detection and other enhancements. Perhaps most importantly, CRM 4.0 provides true multi-tenancy, which will allow the creation of multiple organizations on a single server. CRM 4.0 was released with the following improvements:
- More powerful and easier to configure Reporting and BI (now based on SSRS instead of Crystal)
- More powerful data import tools, de-duplication capability now included
- Enhanced entity relationships – many to many, self-referential
- Improved programmability - enhanced Web Services, unified event model, plug-ins to replace callouts
- Light enquiry user license now available - potentially reducing the costs associated with rolling out across larger organizations
- Multi Tenancy - One server can host more than one business organization
- Multi Currency
- Multi Lingual
- Microsoft Office Communicator / Windows Live Messenger presence integration support
- cloud computing with Microsoft Online Services
Microsoft publishes updates for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (called Rollups) every two months. At the time of writing, CRM 4.0 Rollup 21 is available. For CRM 2011, rollup 14 is available.
Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
In order to maximize the integration with other products and to enable basic templating, Microsoft released the Accelerators, a set of basic vertical solution templates that can be used to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM in a few directions. These accelerators can be downloaded (for free) from the CodePlex website and adapted by the organization itself.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available as a cloud offering or an on-premises installation by a partner/customer. As in CRM 4 these versions can be highly customized using advanced extensions. New feature set includes – Visualizations, Dashboards, Document Management, Grid Filters, Dialogs, Recurring Appointments, Custom Activities, Goal Management, Fetch based Reports, MAPI based Outlook clients, FLS etc.
- Native integration with SharePoint 2010
- Ability to create a query behind a look-up
- Placing of a grid with child records on the parent record
- Auto filter sorting capability like in Microsoft Office Excel
- Microsoft Office Ribbon interface replaces menus
- OData endpoints
- LINQ programming API in the SDK
- WCF services
- Customization can be packaged as solutions
- CRM Online supports plugins in sandboxed mode
- Multiple forms per entity
- Dashboard designer
- Yammer integration
- Lync integration
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 RTW/RTM is available since January and mid February 2011 respectively. 41 languages are supported.
Microsoft uses a tool called MSSolve to manage all incoming support requests for their Professional Support and Premier Support services. MSSolve is internally developed using Dynamics CRM. MSSolve is used worldwide and replaced Clarify from Amdocs
Microsoft uses a tool called MIMOS - Microsoft Incident Management Operations System - to manage Operational requests originating from Microsoft Partners and Customers. MIMOS was co-developed by arvato and Microsoft in support of a multi-year Business Process Outsourcing initiative called FADA. MIMOS is internally developed using Dynamics CRM and Metastorm BPM (also a .NET-based product). MIMOS is used in Microsoft Regional Operations Centers worldwide, and replaced Siebel from Oracle as part of Microsoft's 2011 "Siebel-free" initiative. MIMOS is an example of using CRM as an XRM platform.
- "Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 system requirements" Microsoft website
- "microsoft.com". microsoft.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- "Enhanced Microsoft Business Solutions CRM 1.2 Is Available in North America" Microsoft website
- "Microsoft Announces General Availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0". Microsoft.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- "Microsoft Releases Next Generation CRM Solution for On-Premise and On-Demand Deployments" Microsoft website
- "Support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 on Windows Server 2008-based computers" Microsoft Website
- "Support for running Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 together with Microsoft SQL Server 2008" Microsoft Website
- "Microsoft Dynamics CRM Passes 1 Million User Mark and Expands xRM Initiative" Microsoft Website
- "CRM Online vs CRM On-Premise".
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tutorials and FAQ
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 System Requirements
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Official Website
- CRM 4.0 SDK
- CRM Team Blog
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Government
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Education
- A blog site around Dynamics CRM 2013