As a Microsoft CRM 2011 Partner, I have tons of great things to say about Microsoft CRM 2011. As a customer relationship management tools, it gives us visibility to our sales pipeline, it makes managing leads exponentially easier and it has enabled us to vastly improve the level of service we provide our clients.
Yet, despite all the great benefits that Microsoft CRM provides us vis a vis traditional customer relationship management functionality, I believe that the true power of Microsoft CRM 2011 lies outside the scope of customer relationship management – as a development platform, CRM 2011 make it incredible easy to quickly build xRM (or anything relationship managment), line of business applications to meet a wide range of needs.
The two things that are most impressive about Microsoft CRM 2011 as an xRM platform:
- Virtually No Technical Skills Required
- Rapid Application Development
Virtually No Technical Skills Required
As the “marketing guy,” I am 100% non-technical. I’ve never written a line of code in my life. And I don’t plan to – mostly, because I wouldn’t know where to start. With that being said, for reasons that I can’t fully explain, I took a strong interest in the Microsoft CRM product – not only do we use it internally, but when CRM 2011 was released, the “playing field” was level, so it seemed like a great opportunity to really immerse myself in the new application.
As days became weeks. And weeks became days. And days became months, I found myself happy to be deeply entrenched in CRM 2011 – I couldn’t get enough! After just a few short months of personal CRM training, I learned a ton. In fact, I learned so much, that the non-technical, freightened of code, “marketing guy,” suggested we build a few new custom entities to improve some of our internal processes. When the powers that be suggested that we’d have to schedule some technical resources to build it, I simply replied by saying, “It’s done! I built and tested everything on a demo environment.” Needless to say, non-technical, freightened of code, “marketing guy,” was able to do a lot without the slightest technical knowledge.
Rapid Application Development
Fast foward to June 20th (at this point, I’ve spent just about 1 year learning Microsoft CRM). One of our clients came to us with a request – they were looking for a better way to manage their product development cycle. With everything on Excel spreadsheets, managing the status of any given project/product – from identifying the stage of a product’s development, to keeping track of requests and approvals – was a nightmare.
Without getting into too much detail, after just a few hours of speaking with the client, gathering an understanding of their process and requirments, I suggested that we could provide them a solution leveraging Microsoft CRM 2011.
After just 12 hours, I had completed a prototype application for them, as a proof of concept. This consisted of
- 5 custom workflows
- 7 brand new, custom entities
- 60+ custom fields
- 3 custom security roles
- Many more smaller customizations
The result? The client loved it – it was exactly what they needed!
The point? In just 12 hours, a non-technical, freightened of code, “marketing guy” built a brand new xRM application from scratch – a business solution that would save “thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours”
That’s rapid devlopment. That’s no techical skills required. That’s the power of Microsoft CRM 2011!