Tech Impact recently received a request for information about custom building a streamlined CRM using Microsoft’s Power Apps. The implied benefit is mimicking the functionality of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM without the unwanted or unneeded features—and without the cost. The short answer? Yes, this is possible—but we don’t recommend it. Director of Consulting Alyssa Ford explains why.
Tech Impact does Power Apps development and can help organizations with Power Apps for specific use cases. We generally do not recommend this specific workaround or other examples of creating custom apps to get around Microsoft licensing requirements—specifically around Dynamics 365. We find that many organizations that try to implement these workarounds quickly find that the solution is so customized they cannot maintain it. They end up paying more for supporting the system than they would for licenses that allow for standard functionality.
It’s Easy to Find Dynamics 365 Support
A benefit of using Dynamics 365 apps built by Microsoft is that there are many options to choose from when it comes to support. Anyone that supports Dynamics can support your organization, making it easier and more convenient to find help when needed.
Keeping up with Customizations is Costly
Another complexity of delivering a custom solution to work around licenses is that any future changes end up requiring custom development time. This may be because of internal change or growth at your organization, or because Microsoft makes a technical change on the back end that causes problems.
Microsoft Offers Nonprofit Specific Solutions
Microsoft is currently rolling out Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofits (MC4N), which is Common Data Model (CDM) backed and built specifically for a nonprofit target audience. Right now, this includes solutions for volunteer management and fundraising and engagement—depending on the domain needed, these may be an even better fit than the traditional Dynamics 365 or nonprofit toolkits released last year.
Dynamics 365 Keeps Your Data Together
While there are specific licensing requirements for Dynamics 365, depending on which domains your organization is interested in, there’s a clear data management benefit. Since it is all built on the Common Data Model, Power BI can be used for reporting across all the apps because the data is all part of the same dataset.
In short, even though creating a custom app as a workaround to a license may seem like a cost-saving win in the short-term, it often leads to higher costs and user frustration in the long-term.
Do you have questions about how our technology consulting team can help you with your software selection, implementation, or customization? Request a free consultation.