Ok, we all know by now, with Dynamics 365 CE we have portal capabilities. It’s a configurable portal driven by the config and data in your CRM. But that’s where I’ll stop. The CRM Portal architecture is very much coupled to your CRM, and it doesn’t qualify for our Decoupled Architecture topic.
Instead, in this post I want to focus on the large majority of enterprises. They already have a portal, most likely a CMS driving their current site, whether it’s something like SiteCore, a custom portal, or even a platform like WordPress which powers now 32% of the internet (according to WordPress). Some even use an open source CMS like Drupal. For these organizations and many others, it is not feasible to rip out an existing portal and rebuild it on the CRM Portals platform. There’s just too many assets already built, and it does not make feasible sense to ignore all that.
There’s been attempts to fit the CRM Portals in with an existing portal, by skinning it to look exactly the same as the existing portal, and transferring the user back and forth as needed. It’s not an ideal way though, as it requires additional scope, and the administration effort is doubled now, having to manage two portal solutions concurrently, with separate skillsets.
There’s a better way!
Integrate your CRM data and business functionality into your existing portal. Yes, there’s a little bit of leg work (or rather finger work to code), but you can build it in a decoupled way which will allow your site to continue to function when your CRM data is not available, or the other way. Let’s look at a possible design introducing a data layer in the cloud:
Now, this opens up new possibilities to mash-up data from multiple systems. You could actually end-up with something like this:
You could take it one step further, and introduce an event-based model instead of the typical entity sync, where actions triggered on the back end systems push updates to the cloud data layer. In Dynamics 365 CE this is available through a plugin as described HERE. Support for event driven integrations is coming also to the FnO platform, stating with Business events, and followed by data feeds, and we’ve seen so far some prototypes presented at various public events.
Just imagine the possibilities.