CRM as a development platform

Leveraging the relationship management platform in CRM

CRM is a toolset for managing customer information to support the nurturing of the relationship between the supplier of goods or services (you) and your customers. Built-in functions and capabilities within CRM are focused on contacts, activities and account management. These powerful tools can be extended to help manage additional aspects of the relationship, products and services for an additional benefit for both the supplier and the customer. We call this extension xRM where the x can refer to these additional areas of support.

Implementing this xRM concept enables your organization to track additional layers of information associated with the customer relationship that were not necessarily built into CRM, but can be made available with a little creative thinking and some adjustments to the platform. For example, for a health care company, functionality could be added to track medications that a patient is taking, with multiple levels of data, such as the dosage, the pharmacy utilized, how many refills remain and when the prescription expires. This is not information traditionally collected within CRM, but it’s easy to see how the CRM structure can be adapted to track this valuable data.

Additional data fields to support these nontraditional CRM capabilities are not included in the basic package but can be rapidly configured in to support these additional functions. xRM solutions can be designed to manage one-to-many, as well as many-to-many, relationships around people, accounts and contacts. It is an efficient way to collect data within multiple records that relate back to one individual or company. CRM manages contacts, activities, sales and opportunities, while xRM adds additional factors and services layered on top of those basic functions, opening more opportunities to please customers and offer additional value.  

The benefits of xRM

The ultimate capabilities of your xRM strategy depend on the depth of the CRM platform it is based on. Using Microsoft Dynamics® CRM as the base provides several advantages. Dynamics CRM includes inherent features, functionality and customization capabilities that can be readily extended to develop your xRM strategy:  

  • Security: Dynamics CRM is a secure Web-based application, and any xRM extensions will benefit from the same secure, tested environment. In any robust business application, the ability to secure data by role, the ability to control what someone sees, adds and updates, is critical. Dynamics CRM has this robust security model in place.
  • Platform choice: Software as a service (SaaS), hosted and on-premise configurations: The software can be implemented in a variety of ways to best fit your needs and existing technology infrastructure.
  • Scalability: Built on the Dynamics CRM base, any corresponding xRM extensions will scale up or down to support your changing needs, including market changes, acquisitions or mergers, dramatic growth or seasonal cycles. Dynamics CRM and its xRM extensions can adapt to your emerging business needs with quick modifications.
  • Rapid development and implementation: One of the key reasons to utilize an xRM approach on a CRM platform over traditional development is the ability to quickly build applications. Because critical functionality, like security, is already built, and the application has tools that allow business analysts to create the application, development time is greatly reduced.
  • User adoption: The user controls and modules for xRM applications are the same as those users already know and use when managing CRM data.
  • Connected to Microsoft applications: Dynamics CRM functions and feels like Microsoft Office, and seamlessly integrates with Office applications. Your xRM solutions are already linked to your Outlook email and calendar functions and connect with other common Microsoft platforms, including Word, SharePoint and Excel.
  • Customization: Dynamics CRM can be used to develop an information and relationship management platform for any business process. xRM solutions can be rapidly developed and implemented to streamline business functions and increase your efficiency.
  • Lowered cost: If you already have (or are planning to implement) Dynamics CRM, extending it to other areas of your business is much more cost-effective than developing and maintaining a new system.
  • Ease of integration: Dynamics CRM can be efficiently extended to other areas of the business to make better use of stagnant data stored in disconnected or inefficient systems.

Thinking of Dynamics as a development platform, in addition to being a world-class CRM system, opens the door to endless opportunities to deliver more value to customers and extend your management and visibility beyond basic customer relationship details. xRM development offers remarkable efficiencies with cost and time savings over programming new applications–and the resulting functions are automatically integrated with Dynamics CRM, with its security, scalability, and familiarity, and automatically integrated with the Microsoft Office tools you already use.

Extending your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Implementation with RSM

xRM Platform Development
The "x" in xRM identifies any relationship you want managed, where "x" can represent customers in CRM, vendors in VRM, patient in PRM, funds in FRM, property in PRM and so on.

What relationship do you want managed? The following is a video from Microsoft illustrating the relationships where xRM can be used.