Microsoft xRM – What It Means For Business

At Microsoft’s July partner conference much time and energy was spent introducing xRM, including this video:


With this, I’ve had more than a few questions from customers and partners about what xRM is and what it might mean to their business. I’ll try to answer that here from a business perspective, saving the technical perspective for future posts.



Microsoft developed their Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) sales software  from scratch with the first release coming in 2003. A few versions later the CRM product was really maturing and a strange thing happened along the way. Microsoft software engineers did such a great job building the software foundation and exposed enough of that software foundation for customization purposes that other software companies and partners started using CRM just for the sake of that foundation. The underpinnings of CRM, while great at managing Accounts, Contact and Opportunities turned out to be well suited for managing any manner of similar business entity. A robust system for managing business entities and object, relationships between those entities and workflow and reporting around those entities opened up huge potential for all kinds of custom business solutions.


xRM is the underpinnings of the CRM product adapted to manage whatever custom entities and business objects your business might need to build an application around. Microsoft has added the xRM branding seemingly after the fact but it’s just the CRM product being used to manage Property, Patients, People, Projects or whatever else a business needs similar to the way it handles Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities.


So what does this mean for business? Here are three perspectives:

CEO: xRM can offer fast access to custom enterprise tools that map directly to the unique competitive advantages of a given business. Capture, tracking and management of what matters most to your business can increase productivity and get more done with more customers. xRM also exposes a rich model of key performance indicators and metrics enabling CEOs to get answers to critical business questions fast and make better business decisions.

Investment in custom software solutions and custom reporting can be costly. Investing once in a platform that can be leveraged for multiple custom business solutions greatly increases the ROI of that investment. With xRM you invest in a solid core and can shift IT spend further towards specific business value and away from building and rebuilding the plumbing needed to get work done.

Best practices in IT management have always focused on solidifying core enterprise frameworks and technology and using that core to build out custom solutions more quickly. xRM as a platform allows IT to skew resources further towards satisfying the business and focus less on plumbing support. Rich data model and analysis support in xRM solutions also allow IT to offer key information back to the business in ways that would be either costly or not possible with traditional custom solutions.

We are building xRM solutions for customers now so feel free to forward any other questions you have and I’d be happy to talk more about it.

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