Altus Dynamics Blog

Is it time to update your custom applications?

Posted by Nicola Dickinson on Aug 24, 2010 8:00:00 AM

Chances are you have at least one custom application in your organization today.  Likely it was developed in Access, Filemaker Pro or even a bunch of excel spreadsheets available to meet the needs you had.  So you set out with the tools you had to create a new application from scratch.  Over time you added more functionality to the point where what started as a simple application became hard to support, hard to customize, undocumented, and yet is a vital part of your organization.

Applications with frameworks like xRM and Microsoft SharePoint can provide robust custom built applications that will meet any requirement you can provide in Access or FileMaker Pro.   You will get the added value of integration with other Microsoft productivity applications and familiar outlook or web based interfaces to increase your ROI, ease of use, and user acceptance. 

If this application is being used to manage entities like people, places, events, assets, or other custom records, you can take advantage of the xRM platform to move this vital custom business application to a platform that is supported, portable, current, and best of all, specifically designed to help you manage information in a business process.
Because the application you build in xRM is built on a business application platform instead of a raw database/forms development tool, the entities you create will be understood and things like dates, people, emails, and documents will inherit appropriate capabilities if you use them in your application.

Additional advantages to using xRM over Access or Filemaker Pro include:

  • Native communication capabilities for emailing and sharing information. 
  • Built in workflow engine to help you design business process using your custom entity data. 
  • Integration with your Outlook tool bar to allow easy access to the application with a consistent Outlook look and feel. 
  • Web based interface for access from anywhere without a client install. 
  • Metadata framework that provides addition of fields, labels, forms, etc as a business administrator and does not require a developer or DBA. 
  • A starting package of entities that you can modify including contacts, articles, activities and many more. 
  • Define relationships between entities that will automatically update the application appropriately without significant work. 
  • Robust reporting and searching capabilities without requiring custom development to implement them.

 Submitted by Nicola Dickinson

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This Post Was Written By Nicola Dickinson
Nicola Dickinson is a Founding Partner at Sparkrock. She formed Sparkrock with a vision and mandate to deliver award-winning, meaningful and affordable technology solutions exclusively for the non-profit and public sector. With a passion for assisting non-profit and public sector, she provides true value by being an active member of the non-profit community.
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