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CRM Platform

Having just discussed the two user interfaces for Microsoft CRM, you might be under the impression that those interfaces are the only way to interact with your CRM data. On the contrary, developers are free to leverage Microsoft's CRM platform to interact with the application through Microsoft CRM's application programming interfaces. For example, let's say your company develops and sells a software product. One of the ways you market the product is by allowing visitors of your Web site to download a trial copy of the software. However, to get to the Web page that enables them to download the software, the user must complete a form to share certain information about herself including name, email, company, interests, and so on.

Currently, you have included logic in your Web site that packages this information up into an email and sends it to your VP of Sales. From there the hunt begins, if the VP does not delete the email! However, with Microsoft CRM you could replace that email logic with a call to the Create method of the CRMLead object in Microsoft's CRM Server. Thus, the information you collected from the visitor would go directly into your CRM database and be subject to any workflow rules you had set up to assign the lead based on territory, and so on. This simple process change would ensure that all leads are logged in Microsoft CRM and a history is maintained. Figure 4.5 depicts how the two standard Microsoft CRM interfaces as well as two custom interfaces can interact with the functionality provided in the CRM platform.


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