[Applies to: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0]

11 things to know about customization

You have to customize, or supervise customization of, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and you do not have time to attend training or read a long book. You have opened Microsoft Dynamics CRM and are familiar with the basic features for Sales, Service, and Marketing. You want to make sure that you have a good, high-level understanding of the customization capabilities and are using the correct customization feature for your organization's business requirements. You also want to be aware of common issues other users have experienced. With that goal in mind, these are the core things to know about how to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

This series of articles describes some basic customization features and concepts. These articles highlight key information about the capabilities of these feature areas.

  • 1. Customization advantages

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM uses a meta-data driven design that allows for easier upgrades, powerful extensions and integrations, and a large number of experts and resources to help you customize the application.

  • 2. Security and customization

    Describes the privileges you must have to access Customization features and how security applies to the customizations that you create.

  • 3. Form and view customization

    Form and view customizations are the most common types of customizations. This article describes how to access the areas of the application and the process to apply changes.

  • 4. Personal customizations

    Everyone can personalize Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Know the personalizations that everyone can perform so that you can focus on customizations that affect the entire organization.

  • 5. Entity customization

    Entity customization is about modifying an existing data structure or creating new structures to store data. Modifying and creating relationships between entities provides context for the data that you capture.

  • 6. Transportable customizations

    With the metadata-driven design of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can export and import customizations to create a backup or transport your customizations to another deployment.

  • 7. Report customizations

    Customizations often support requirements to provide data for reports. This article describes the types of reports that are available and options for creating and modifying reports.

  • 8. Workflow customization

    Workflows are sets of logical rules that define the steps necessary to automate specific business processes, tasks, or sets of actions to be performed on Microsoft Dynamics CRM records.

  • 9. Client extension features

    Extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM by including custom applications, or just customize the way the user interface is organized.

  • 10. Form scripting customizations

    There are many advantages to implementing customizations to occur on a user's computer. These customizations are faster because they do not require a round trip to the server before they are applied. Form scripting is the way to achieve this in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

  • 11. Supported customizations

    Understanding how to use supported customizations will protect your investment over time. This article describes the principles behind supported customizations and the types of customizations that are not supported.

All these areas represent core customization features integrated into Microsoft Dynamics CRM. They demonstrate how you can use the meta-data driven design of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to successfully perform some of the most common customization tasks without writing code.

Any customizations that you create for Microsoft Dynamics CRM will include one or more of these areas. It is likely that you will use several of them in combination to create a solution to meet your business requirements. Having a good general understanding of the capabilities and limitations of each of these areas will help you make better choices in the customization strategies you use.

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