Wednesday, April 18, 2012

CRM/SharePoint integration: Best Practices

In a series of previous posts we reviewed the various settings available for configuring the SharePoint integration with CRM 2011. We started off by reviewing the primary configuration options available. We then attempted to take into consideration the pros and cons of each approach i.e. the entity based approach and the individual path. We then reviewed some SharePoint best practice considerations.

The intent of this post is to bring that all together to arrive at a general purpose recommendation for CRM/SharePoint integration.

As  has hopefully been illustrated in the series of previous posts, there are challenges to either of the SharePoint integration configuration approaches when it comes to having the SharePoint integration take place at multiple CRM levels. In addition to this, it can also been argued that this could also lead to confusion and/or inconsistency in terms of where content is stored. Conversely, we described the benefits of  using SharePoint metadata as part of a SharePoint content management best practice.

Therefore... perhaps we can keep this relatively simple in CRM while leveraging the power of SharePoint to organize the documentation? I'd venture to say that we can achieve this objective by doing as follows:

  • Only create the CRM/SharePoint integration at a single level (most likely at the account or contact level).  
  • Classify all content stored using SharePoint Content types. For example, we will store a quote for account ABC at the account level but give it a content type of "Quote"; we  will also store a "Statement of Work" for account ABC at the account level but give it a content type of "SOW". And so on and so forth.

By doing so, we achieve the following stated objectives:

  • Keep it simple:  In CRM we have only a single location to navigate to for storing and viewing content. This also avoids the "user discretion" problem described.
  • Organization: By leveraging SharePoint content types/metadata we are taking advantage of the power of SharePoint for organizing content as described in this post.

Obviously this "best practice" is not a one size fits all and there will always be other things to take into consideration based on specific customer requirements and analysis.


  1. Hi Nahi Simon,

    I've read all the topics related to this one in the correct order and I must say that I'm positively surprised. I think you are the first (at least for me) that look at this integration between SP and CRM from a practical PoV and with real with good arguments. Also, good explanations with the based on entity or not. I somehow always thought at first that based on Account is the best approach, but now I'm not so sure anymore...that is good!

    Now I'm in the middle of an implementation of DYnamics CRM with standard integration SP included. I will definitely reconsider the initial approach I had (based on entity account)..

    Tx again

    PS. If I happen to come across questions regarding this topic I know where to find you :)

  2. Thank you and glad you found it useful.