Building Business with CRM
Book Overview

To some extent this is an updated version of a previous book I wrote, Building Workflows in Dynamics CRM 4.0, but in many ways it’s a brand new book. For one thing, the new book has both a title and a subtitle:

Building Business with CRM - Using Processes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Apart from the fact that a much bigger book deserves a longer title, the title change reflects several substantive differences.

First, I’ve had several more years of experience in working with Microsoft customers to design and implement their CRMs, and in conducting training and certification prep sessions for Microsoft partners. I like to think that the customers and partners I’ve worked with have learned a few things from me, but I can’t imagine they’ve learned as much as I have from them. I’m as amazed at the ingenuity with which people apply Dynamics CRM to their business challenges as I’m impressed with the results they’ve achieved building on the CRM foundation. Hence the emphasis on building business with CRM: nearly four years after my first book, I have a deeper appreciation for the extent to which Dynamics CRM has emerged as a true platform for business application development.

Second, the title’s emphasis on business reflects the less narrowly technical nature of the book’s content. Not that there isn’t plenty of technical substance; in fact there’s a lot more of that than in the previous book. But technical content is better complemented by business content this time around, with oodles more real-world examples, scenarios, and even an anecdote or two.

Finally, the subtitle reflects an important difference between Dynamics CRM 4.0 and the current version of the product: in addition to workflows, Dynamics CRM 2011 introduced the new concept of dialog processes. Dialogs are guided, step-by-step processes that gather information from a user and do something with the gathered information, much like the familiar wizard experience. I won’t go into details now on the differences between workflows and dialogs – that’s what the rest of the book is for! – but the addition of a brand new and important feature area is just one reason there’s so much more in this book than my previous one.
Who is this book for
The ability to write and maintain workflow and dialog processes should be considered a required skill for Dynamics CRM power-users, system administrators, and customizers, and this book is primarily intended for people in those roles. While some of the content may be difficult for less technical readers, I’ve tried throughout the book to focus on how the tools can be used to solve real business problems, so if you’re a reasonably tech-savvy business manager you should also get plenty out of the content.
About the Author
Richard Knudson, a thought-leader in the CRM industry, was recently recognized by Microsoft with its Microsoft® Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for Dynamics CRM 2011. He is the author of a popular blog, The Dynamics CRM Trick Bag, which like his career is dedicated to helping organizations build business value on the Dynamics CRM platform. As Director of the CRM practice at Wheaton, IL based Magenium Solutions, he assists clients from a wide range of industries in designing, customizing and deploying Dynamics CRM. A few areas of special interest to him include sales and marketing applications of CRM, and extending the Dynamics CRM platform with information from complementary sources such as SharePoint and social media applications. And not surprisingly, given the topics covered in this book, he’s passionate about helping businesses improve their sales, marketing, service and other processes using tools such as Dynamics CRM workflow and dialog processes. Dr. Samuel Johnson said, “A man is seldom more innocently occupied than when he is engaged in making money”, and the fundamental truth captured by that quote provides much of the motivation for this book. Originally from Seattle, he moved to Chicago to attend grad school at the University of Chicago, and now lives in Winnetka, IL with his family. Richard is an avid skier and a White Sox fan, and you can read and comment on his blog at DynamicsCRMTrickBag.com