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Microsoft SharePoint and Dynamics CRM -- Better Together: Part 1

This blog is an excerpt from an InfoStrat white paper

We often are asked which tool is best for a particular application: SharePoint or Dynamics CRM? 

I will devote a series of blog posts to this topic. 

The short answer is that it depends on what problem you are trying to solve.
SharePoint and Dynamics CRM were developed independently, with different features and functions in mind.  SharePoint began as a document management and collaboration environment, combined with a search engine.   It was not originally designed to provide line of business applications which rely on relational data as many line of business solutions require.  SharePoint has over the last few versions increased its capabilities to handle structured and external data.   

Dynamics CRM began as a line of business solution for sales force automation and customer relationship management. At the heart of its paradigm is a shared, relational database with an integrated front end, reporting tools, a sophisticated security model, and data integrity features. It does not provide a web search engine, document management, portals, and collaboration capabilities that are inherent in SharePoint.

SharePoint and Dynamics CRM have many architectural features in common, such as:
·         Web-based, with broad browser support
·         Use SQL Server to store data and metadata
·         Integration with Outlook and other Office products
·         Allow single sign-on with Active Directory
·         Rely on Windows Server
·         Built on Internet Information Server (IIS)
·         Allow documents to be stored
·         Use Windows Workflow for automating workflows
·         Use Visual Studio as development environment
·         Support security groups

Much of the user interface and some of the administrative functions are similar for the products, as one might expect from their integration with Microsoft Office.

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