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Visualizing Complex Relationship with Connections in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

by Linda Rosencrance
Contributing Writer, MSDW

How well can you describe the relationships between the entity data that your Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution manages?  The better you can connect customers and other data within the system, the more you can track complex business relationships, promote teamwork and boost collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.

Dynamics CRM 2011 introduced the concept of Connections between data records, taking the old 4.0 concept of relationships to a new level. That means you can create connections between any two record types, not just creating associations to the three standard entity types-accounts, contacts and opportunities. Connections can help build teamwork , collaboration, and more efficient business and sales processes.  And in the future, the Connections feature has the potential to evolve into one of the key tools to open up the social possibilities of Dynamics CRM.

Jason Stefanacci and Geoff Ables from C5 Insight, who discussed Connections at a recent online meeting of the CRM User Group, describe them as the way to map relationships like person-to-person relationships and even some different types of objects, Ables said. For example, you can map out a link between a proposal and an opportunity.

In Dynamics CRM 2011, users can now define their own connections between any two CRM entities. Multiple roles and connections can be created for a particular record because contacts may have many relationships with other entities and may play a different role in each of those relationships. Connection roles can also be categorized by business, family, or social.

"If you were or are using relationships in CRM 4.0, they allowed you to connect accounts, contacts and opportunities to each other," Stefanacci said. "Connections takes this further allowing you to ...

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About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in the Boston area. Rosencrance has over 25 years experience as an reporter/investigative reporter, writing for many newspapers in the metropolitan Boston area. Rosencrance has been writing about information technology for the past 16 years.

She has covered a variety of IT subjects, including Microsoft Dynamics, mobile security issues such as data loss prevention, network management, secure mobile app development, privacy, cloud computing, BI, big data, analytics, HR, CRM, ERP, and enterprise IT.

Rosencrance is the author of six true crime books for Kensington Publishing Corp.