Many times when starting a project utilizing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, we talk to customers about any design work for Dynamics CRM that will require additional time but will increase the value of their CRM system. This includes utilizing SharePoint and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). The time spent to implement these tools should not be overlooked, as the added value may be able to be utilized somewhere within the organization.
The first value-add associated with CRM is the introduction of SharePoint. For Dynamics CRM, the free version of SharePoint can be utilized. Using SharePoint with Dynamics CRM allows for documents to be stored in SharePoint, but the look and feel of these documents is such, that to the Dynamics CRM user, it feels like the documents are actually in Dynamics CRM. SharePoint is a more native place for document storage. In addition, the native SharePoint functionality of version control and workflow around the documents can be seamlessly utilized. Much of the push-back we face with the introduction of SharePoint, is that there was a SharePoint implementation that took place at one time that either didn’t go well or didn’t make it to completion. A second area of concern is that SharePoint is such a monster, that customers are just afraid of it. Finally, many people have heard horror stories.
The first thing to note is that SharePoint can be installed to function alongside Dynamics CRM and not be utilized outside that purpose. This allows for customers to plan out additional small implementations as they see fit and as needed in the future. Second note, as stated above, the free version of SharePoint can be used. Trying to move files after implementation can prove to be difficult, so if there is the ability to put SharePoint in play, it should be taken.
The second value-add associated with Dynamics CRM is utilizing it with Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). Utilizing ADFS allows for Dynamics CRM to be used outside the firewall as well as for viewing Dynamics CRM in the native applications on tablets such as iPads and phones. Note, ADFS has to be utilized to use the native Mobile apps, even if the intention is to only use the apps within the domain.
One main issue we see when moving to ADFS after go-live is the fact that the URL for Dynamics CRM normally changes. This means that anywhere the URL has been entered, in particular the Outlook client, will have to be changed. This is not difficult, but tends to be time consuming. In addition, most customers are not able to successfully push the change out to users, therefore requiring each computer to be updated.
Even though there is some additional cost, the benefit of planning for SharePoint and ADFS at the beginning of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 implementation will reduce issues down the road. If you have questions about this approach or need other support services for Dynamics CRM, contact our professionals at email@example.com. In addition to our Dynamics CRM services, we are also a national partner for Microsoft SharePoint.
By: Bob Kanzler – Philadelphia Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner