I'm an IT training instructor specialising in Microsoft CRM and SQL, and after working with the product from version 1.0 onwards I was really looking forward to reading this book. It's good, but could - and should - have been a lot better.
First of all, the title (which has remained the same over each edition of the book) is a little misleading. "Working With Microsoft Dynamics CRM" sounds as though it is an end-user manual, but that isn't the case. This book is aimed at those who will be managing the system, specifically those who will make changes to how it works, looks and feels. You'll find that maybe half of the book, possibly a little more, focuses on post-installation configuration, such as creating business units, security roles, user accounts, and so on, and the latter moves into customization territory.
Unlike earlier versions of this book it would appear that a decision was made not to include any code at all, and instead the book focuses on the graphical customization tools, such as the form designer, workflows, relationships and so on, whilst earlier editions had sections on event code, plug-ins and so on. I know that the authors of this book wrote a separate book for CRM 4 on programming, which was entirely devoted to code, so maybe a similar book will follow for CRM 2011 but I was surprised that there wasn't a trace of code in this one.
That said, the content in the book is still very, very good, if sometimes a little laboured (on a few sections I found myself thinking "oh get on with it!") but is still probably the best CRM 2011 customization book out there, and written by recognized experts in the field. It also assumes very little previous CRM customization experience so if you're new to the product don't feel you'll struggle as you haven't previously used CRM 3 or 4.
One final thing: The Kindle edition works extremely well. Screen shots can be zoomed in on and although still hard to read are helpful. I keep my copy on my Kindle home page all the time and my Kindle lives in my work bag with my laptop.
Do not buy this book if you are a CRM 4.0 developer looking to upgrade your skills to CRM 2011.
I was hoping this would be an updated version of their Working with CRM 4.0 book (which I thought was excellent) but it seems to be nothing of the sort. Where the previous book was comprehensive this is lacking in detail.
Some of the new features or CRM 2011 are covered such as solutions, but others are omitted entirely such as lookup filtering.
However, my biggest gripe with this book is to do with the claims made on the back cover - "Discover how to: Extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM with scripts and assemblies". SCRIPTS AND ASSEMBLIES ARE NOT COVERED IN THIS BOOK. In fact, when you look up assemblies in the index it directs you to a page which states that "The programming aspects of plug-ins or assemblies are beyond the scope of this book. Please refer to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK for more information about these topics."
Is this not false advertising? I notice they've removed that line from the book description on the Sonoma Partners website...
As a final point, it's even printed on cheap and nasty paper whereas the previous version was of much higher quality.
Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a great book for the CRM Power User in your business. While there is plenty of content and guidance for system administators and IT professionals, I found the book's strength was covering off what a Power User of CRM will want and need to do to make it fit their business's way of working. No one knows more about what they want from CRM than the end user, and this book will help them customise it to make their time in CRM more productive. It does not include programming guidance, you don't need to be a developer to make use of it, and still you can produce custom workflows and dialog processes, change the ribbon to fit your needs and customise entities to match how your business works.
I have been using this book as an helpful tool in my Dynamics CRM projects. The guys at Sonoma Partners are still #1 in producing great material to help peolple ramping up, consultants as well as other practitioners in Dynamics CRM.