Why CRM and SharePoint?
Microsoft makes substantial investments in delivering products and technologies that work together and enable people-ready businesses. This vision is centered on providing the right tools to help people realize their potential. It is this vision that guides organizations towards an integrated Microsoft solution.
Microsoft SharePoint is an enterprise collaboration platform designed to manage lists of data and documents, whereas Microsoft Dynamics CRM is designed to support relationships between data and documents. You can compose custom code to model your business and use many of the features in SharePoint to surface data from other systems.
There are many common features between CRM and SharePoint, such as team collaboration, ability to present information in websites/portals, robust search and business intelligence capabilities. From an architecture perspective, common features include web-based browser support, use SQL Server to store data and metadata, integration with Outlook and other Office products, allow single sign-on with Active Directory, built on Internet Information Server (IIS) and many more.
With so many features and functionalities available in these solutions, organizations should really analyze their needs and be very cautious in framing these questions as “CRM or SharePoint?” or “CRM and SharePoint?” Both these solutions have been built on different premises and each has distinctive features that are not included in the other solution. While SharePoint offers more depth in collaboration, search, websites/portals, and document, content and list management functionalities, Dynamics CRM offers more depth in sales force automation (SFA), marketing, service, and creating relationships between lists of data.
Dynamics CRM is designed from the ground up to model your business and build relationships between the various data. Out-of-the-box, there are many lists of data, such as accounts, contacts, and opportunities. You could easily create this same data in SharePoint, but in CRM these lists are also set up with relationships. An account has contacts and contacts are related to accounts. An opportunity can be related to an account or a contact. This is a very simple example of how data is related. Using Dynamics CRM allows you to leverage existing lists, or build any lists and any relationship required to support your business. This is where you see the term XRM.
By integrating CRM and SharePoint document management, you can share CRM data with customers and enable them to submit requests, track status, view information, and see results through SharePoint. SharePoint can also be used within an organization to store and share business documents and CRM data. SharePoint also helps you to create and visualize reports and data through Web-based dashboards and shared workflow.
To explore this subject further, jump to any of the following sections:
- Setting Up the Document Management Integration
- Beyond Basic Integration
- Common Errors and Fixes
- Accessing CRM from Sharepoint