Review: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Application Design


I recently read the new book “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Application Design” by Mahender Pal. Disclaimer: I received a review copy e-book from the publisher, and I also have met the author during his time as a CRM MVP (I am also a Microsoft MVP for CRM).

I have probably read most of the books published on the topic of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I have served as a technical reviewer on a few of them, and co-wrote one of them.

Dynamics CRM books usually fall into one of several categories:

  1. Introduction to the topic for end users, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Step By Step
  2. Administrator guides, like the CRM Administration Bible
  3. Best practice guides, for example Working With Microsoft Dynamics CRM or the previously mentioned Field Guide
  4. Deep dives into specific topics, like Mitch Milam’s CRM Security Deep Dive

This new book, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Application Design falls in a fifth category. This book is a scenario driven book that takes a fictitious company’s business requirement and uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to address the requirements. In the process, you learn many of the different functionalities of CRM, ranging from core system entities, custom entities and fields, workflows, e-mail management, as well as high level custom code solutions, such as plug-ins. It also has a good section covering options for mobile, both out of the box as well as third party. I thought this approach could be very helpful as opposed to just how to instructions, but I would recommend that the reader not just read the book, but rather work through the examples in an actual Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment.

I would recommend this to someone who has a basic understanding of CRM functionality. While it does start with a high level overview of the main concepts of CRM, it does not offer as detailed definitions of some of the acronyms such as “CRM” and “IFD” that might be helpful to someone brand new to CRM.

This book would be ideal for someone who is familiar with the basics of CRM functionality that wants to go to the next level and learn how to unlock the XRM functionality of CRM to build a business application with CRM. I thought that the customer scenarios and requirements were pretty good, and very similar to the types of requirements we will get from clients. This would be a great book for someone who wanted to move to a career in Dynamics CRM to see how customer requirements are translated into functional application requirements, and is pretty unique among Dynamics CRM books.

Being a developer is not required, however, it would be helpful if you want to get into custom developments, such as plugins or custom web resources.

One thing of which you should be aware, the Dynamics CRM platform is under a pretty rapid development platform, and this book is current as of the publication date. New functionality, such as support in browsers other than Internet Explorer and new mobile options will be available in the near future. Most of the content of the book will be applicable for the life of the Dynamics CRM 2011 platform, but some topics, such as mobile, may need to be revisited in the next six months.. .

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