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Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Designing Survey Applications

I have seen many people talking about designing survey applications in Dynamics CRM. I have analyzed some different approaches to survey application design and their integration with Dynamics CRM 4.0.
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Using WSS/MOSS 2007

WSS 3.0/MOSS 2007 provides a very comprehensive tool for planning, designing. Executing and analysing surveys. Following feature are provided out of the box in WSS/MOSS:

• Planning/Designing Survey
• Branching Survey
• Various Question Types
• Comprehensive analysis tool
• Executing survey

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Pros

  1. Out of the box tools for Designing, Distributing, Executing and Analysis
  2. WSS 3.0 is Free so no Licensing Cost
  3. No Development Cost as its out of the box

Cons

  1. Data will be saved outside CRM
  2. Unavailability in offline client

WSS/MOSS survey can be integrated with MSCRM using IFRAME. This is a loose integration and data will be saved and presented in WSS/MOSS and not in CRM.

Using InfoPath

Survey can be designed in InfoPath/Windows Form Server. InfoPath forms can be transmitted and rendered in IE. InfoPath Forms can collect information and save the survey response. This is also not ideal solution as data is saved in InfoPath forms and a comprehensive analysis tool needs to be developed.

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Pros

  1. Surveys can be designed in InfoPath
  2. Can be distributed using Online or by sending emails

Cons

  1. InfoPath required for Email Surveys
  2. Analysis tool needs to be developed for Response analysis and reporting

Custom Solution in CRM (xRM)

Custom solution can be developed with enough development effort. In this solution, survey is planned/designed and analyzed in MSCRM but executed using Custom web application. This custom web application will be integrated in CRM or rendered online to execute Survey and collect survey response.

This solution provides access to survey data using web client, outlook online and outlook offline.

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Pros

  1. Available web, online and offline clients
  2. Fully supported and upgradable
  3. Executed through Custom Web application
  4. Survey Data and Response will be saved in Dynamics CRM

Cons

  1. Considerable development effort is required
  2. License is required in order to expose CRM data to non users

Please comment or send your suggestions/issues at ayaz.ahmad at hotmail dot com.

Cheers,

Ayaz Ahmad

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