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Microsoft CRM implementation on a Small Business Server (SBS)

Expert Richard Smith advises a reader who's considering a Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation on an existing Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS).

I'd like to begin using Microsoft's CRM, but I'm a bit nervous about installing it on our MS Small Business Server (SBS). What is the risk of such an install? What sort of integration would be available? Also, given that we're currently using a pseudo-CRM that I built and have to maintain, is it worth the risk?
Microsoft has invested in significant development and testing of the Dynamics CRM software on the Small Business Server (SBS) platform. Because SBS is a single-server solution for File Services and Exchange, Microsoft wanted to make sure that the SBS architecture could support the added burden of SQL Server and CRM application services. Microsoft includes a special wizard for implementing and configuring CRM in an SBS environment.

There are two critical questions to evaluate.

  • First, does your SBS server meet the minimum requirements recommended by Microsoft for hosting CRM on SBS? SBS can support up to 75 CRM users. You can review Microsoft's system requirements on their CRM requirements page.

  • Second, does your system have enough RAM and processing power to support the addition of CRM? If your Small Business Server is heavily utilized today, than it may make sense to add RAM, hard disk space and even an additional processor if possible to support the addition of CRM.

    I cannot say that there is any significant risk to continuing to use your custom implementation, other than the risk of your time and ability to support the application. We have worked with many organizations that have developed their own CRM solutions and are happy with them. The challenge comes when the lead (and sometimes sole) developer gets too busy or leaves the organization, or when the number of users exceeds the performance capacity of the solution. And there is always the issue of keeping up with the feature requests from the users.

    Dynamics CRM provides a great balance of simplicity and ease of use with some fairly powerful tools for customizing the user interface; creating completely new tabs, screens, objects, and reports; and workflow for managing tasks and business processes. Plus, the Outlook user interface has a significant positive impact on user adoption. Depending on the growth and needs of your organization, you might want to evaluate Dynamics CRM. Microsoft provides a variety of options for evaluating the product; visit their page on evaluating Microsoft Dynamics.

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