For businesses across the globe, both large and small, the proliferation of software to manage business process and function has been both a blessing and a curse. Although software solutions have provided remarkable capability and productivity, it has also required massive investment in infrastructure, support, and maintenance. In recent years, the software industry has recognized the desire from businesses to streamline their technology footprint and reduce maintenance while at the same time increasing the capability and specificity of that software to their business. Conversely, for software companies and developers across the globe, the “holy grail” of system architecture has always been to develop an application which would have limitless capability to be modified and customized to fit any particular business purpose without the need to hire a team of software engineers. That way, the software company only has to maintain a single version of their product, and the end-user doesn’t need to employ a full-time staff of developers to maintain a custom application. This one-size-fits-all approach, although attempted many times, has never really been successfully executed. The challenge is that businesses have their own unique processes and structures, and software applications have always been traditionally inflexible.
In an attempt to counter this approach, software companies began to build larger and larger applications, with the idea that if they built every conceivable piece of functionality into the software, then it would work for every business and every situation. What they ended up with were gigantic applications which were difficult to use, expensive, and prone to error and poor performance. Despite limitless research and development efforts, these behemoth applications still did not fit all businesses or all purposes and were nearly impossible to customize.
As demand for these types of flexible and extensible applications has grown and the capabilities of modern technology have evolved, this elusive software framework is finally within reach. In January of 2003, Microsoft launched version 1.0 of a product called Microsoft CRM (Dynamics CRM). Microsoft CRM is built upon an incredibly flexible and extensible framework called the xRM Development Framework. Over the years, it has evolved and matured into an enterprise-class application used by small businesses, governments, and many Fortune 500 companies.
In this White Paper, we will explore the various benefits and advantages of the xRM framework as a platform for building robust applications to manage various parts of your business. We will also identify the key historical challenges of extensible software and the different ways in which the xRM framework enhances the CRM application and takes it far beyond the realm of sales, marketing, and customer service.
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