Theming Is No Longer Just For SharePoint

Why Brand Your Microsoft CRM Implementation

On quite a few projects that I have been on, we have taken the time with our project champions to come up with a unique name for our customized installation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  There are a few reasons that we go about this exercise.  One of the reasons is that it means, as a group, we spend the time to go over why we are doing the customized CRM implementation in the first place.  Spending time going over the key reasons and goals of the project helps keep everyone focused on end results when it comes to requirements and design time.

Another reason that we name our implementations is that, in addition to keeping everyone focused on the end goals, it starts bringing the project team together.  We like to make sure that the naming process is a joint effort, with everyone contributing.  This means that all those present in the naming exercise end up feeling that they had a part in naming the solution that is implemented.

And finally, the name should indicate what the solution is all about.  Often times an implementation of CRM will have nothing to do with sales, marketing, or service.  The new name should have meaning to those in the company when it is in place.

What We Do Today To Brand Microsoft CRM

We often do a couple of things to brand today’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM Implementations.  One of those things is that the menu system is changed.  Instead of having drop-downs for “sales”, “marketing”, and “service”, we will place all the relevant menu items (i.e., entities) under one menu heading and have that menu heading the name of the branded CRM implementation.  Then, we hide and show entities based on users’ security roles, thereby making it easy to maintain all menu items under the one heading; and, every time the menu is accessed the name of the configured CRM implementation is seen.

Another method of pushing branding into your CRM implementation is to place images on all the forms.  With images being able to be uploaded as web resources, we have the ability to expose those images on forms.  Those images can be placed at the top or bottom of all forms and contain a branded image for your implementation.

What Is Theming And How It Will Change Microsoft CRM Branding

Microsoft has also seen the importance of branding and has enabled implementation teams to now manage theming in a much simpler method.  With Microsoft CRM Online 2015 Update 1, there will be an option for Theming found under Settings | Customizations.  We will soon have the ability to change the logo and adjust colors throughout.  And these themes we create (i.e., branding), are saved as unique themes; so, we can always go back to an older theme or the original theme.

Here is a link to a video that was produced showing the theming functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online Update 1:

https://youtu.be/MdT1yE9CW5U