So you want to teach yourself Microsoft Dynamics CRM. You have tried and mastered a number of other CRM applications and you want to see if you can learn MSCRM quickly and if it is a good fit for your organization.
The other products didn't quite do it.
My suggestion. Don't waste your time with false expectations. Sure running CRM from within Outlook is a piece of cake for staff, but it takes a well thought out roll out to do any CRM product right! For the product to be a piece of cake for staff, the deployment needs care and attention.
Understand that learning MS Dynamics CRM is both easy and difficult. If you install it and you expect it to be just like any other flat system (outlook contacts, ACT!, etc), one screen that offers you everything, then you are going to be disappointed. The product has depth, so much depth that it grows with you. As you get better and better at MSCRM, it offers you more and more.
I like to compare MSCRM to Golf. You can quickly understand how to swing a golf club in an hour if you take lessons. You can even figure it out on your own (although the years of torture for doing it wrong are a bummer). BUT learning to swing the golf club feels different, awkward even. You have to want to learn and master and once you do.. You SOOO get it. It is sooo easy!
So realize that the relationship map in our heads, of who knows who and how they relate to each other and all the little nuances of 6 Degress of Seperation are finally mastered in one CRM System. MSCRM, but it does make it a WHOLE lot easier if you work with someone who has experience with MSCRM to configure it.
I am not talking about custom code or customizations (also things you can do), but these are things a small business DOES NOT want to pay extra for nor take long term responsibility for. I am talking about training ad configurations from someone who has spent a lot of time configuring MSCRM systems.
OK, ok you don't want to work with an expert. No problem, then read the books. For the Installation/Deployment Certification there is one book, 8 1/2 x 11 with 548 pages in it. Now this does not mean that the installation is hard, it can be extremely easy because the team has built in checks, balances, wizards and all!
For the Application Mastery there are three books!~ etc. etc..
Get it. MSCRM easily competes with multimillion dollar CRM products. Respect the power of the system AND understand that even if you don't use all the power it can be as simple as you need it to be.