I have to admit to loving variety. I know that some will shy away from any threat to the stability of a situation, but the thrill of new experiences is very strong in me.

I’ve been working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for about 8 years now and one of the things that I really enjoy about working with this technology is the fact that I get to work with so many diverse organisations. Because it can be used as a development platform (that more often than not doesn’t need a line of code to be written), I’ve been involved in adapting it for organisations that are incredibly varied and, in some cases, don’t even have a need for its sales and marketing core functionality.

Whilst travelling to a client site the other day, I was considering just how broad that range has been. Here are some great examples:

  • I ran a team that implemented Dynamics CRM within the Electoral Commission. Not much to do with sales and marketing there! They wanted to be able to deal with media enquiries and freedom of information requests, manage parliamentary questions, as well as handle legal briefs and the political party statutory returns. All of this and much more was built out using Dynamics CRM as the platform.


  • This year, I have built two solutions on CRM for training companies. Naturally, the course booking functionality is not standard in CRM, but by creating some new entities for courses, trainers and venues, we’ve extended the sales and marketing functionality to handle the businesses’ operational requirements.


  • I’ve been asked to build an HR solution into CRM by a number of customers. This has included staff holiday requests, training records and sickness tracking. These projects have invariably included building a secure HR portal for employees to log requests and update their own records.


  • And just in terms of regular sales and marketing requirements, I, personally, have been involved in making it work for companies that:
    • Send cameras down oil pipes
    • Are chartered surveyors
    • Manage investment funds
    • Provide IT consultancy
    • Sell Chinese medicines
    • Manage properties
    • Purchase debts
    • Sell aircraft spares

That’s quite a selection!

There are a few business applications where it wouldn’t make much sense to use a customised version of CRM. For instance, I can’t see any good reason why you would want to build an accounting system on it. There are so many good finance packages out there and people’s requirements don’t tend to differ much. But for many ‘line of business’ applications, building on top of Dynamics CRM enables businesses to get a bespoke IT solution, without paying a high price for or taking the risk associated with such an approach.

And for someone who likes variety as much as I do, it’s the perfect area of IT for me to be involved with. Long may it continue!