It took us ten years to get here. But many of us already were “here”. We’ve been using the platform as a platform for a very long time. In 2008 we published our first XRM book for developers, CRM as a Rapid Development Platform.
So much has changed, so much as stayed the same. Microsoft CRM 4.0 gave us so many of the core platform capabilities we still use today.
I have two quotes to set the stage.
The first is from a book review posted on Amazon.
“The perception is that Microsoft have put out a 'CRM product' but what most people don't realise is that Microsoft CRM is actually an application development platform that happens to come pre-configured with CRM functionality. “ (from Guy Riddle)
And the second is from the book itself. More specifically, Chapter 2 on making line of business applications.
“I think that it cold be argued that what Microsoft should have done with CRM 4.0 was separate its application development platform from the implementation as a CRM application. By doing that it could have established the CRM 4.0 platform as a solid development platform for building line of business applications. Then they could market CRM 4.0 as being built on this application development platform. Then developers would be able to license just the platform portion and be charged a license fee that is appropriate for using only the application development platform capabilities.”
CDS 2.0 is essentially exactly these two things from ten years ago.
In 2008 we were talking about the cool new features of platform functionality that we now had with CRM 4.0. Some of the things we could not even imagine going without today.
CRM 4.0 gave us user-defined workflows. You no longer needed a developer to automate the system. The birth of Citizen Developers!
And now you could trigger workflows based on more events without needing to engage a developer. Suddenly record changes were triggers. For users to define automation.
Both CRM Online and multi-tenancy were introduced.
With the addition of multi-currency and multi-language capabilities we now had the basis for an implementation that had users all over the world working together in a single tenant.
For me the relationship changes for that release are the unsung hero. Sure CRM 4.0 gave us many-to-many relationships. But it also gave us multiple relationships between entities (system and custom), and self-referential relationships. We could make create hierarchical data with this stuff. We also now had the ability to display columns of data from related entities in our views. We could see the address of the parent account while looking at a contact grid. Come on, how can we brush aside the R in CRM? Think about how you use the platform today? These items are just taken for granted.
Email integration improvements. We got email tracking that no longer required the tracking token. And we could now track emails from POP3 and not just Exchange configurations.
We also saw a host of other random platform updates that we now take for granted.
· Automatic resolution on lookup fields
· User defined duplicate detection
· Report wizard
· Callouts became plugins
· Backward compatibility.
I had the lofty goal of a blog series written by me covering feature by feature, chapter by chapter the then verses now. And now I have instead begun asking some of the super smart folks around me of writing guest posts with their take on these things. Stay tuned.