Overtime I have seen a lot of Dynamics CRM projects in which implementers (try to) extend the Dynamics CRM platform to fit a certain need.
All too often, this is done without looking at “the bigger picture” and overseeing the out of the box processes and functionalities the system provides. This can have a significant impact on the long term project budget, base functionalities and customer’s satisfaction. For example: ignoring the out of the box relationships and replacing them with custom ones (for what reason so ever) can mean you sacrifice rollup queries or need to rebuild other functionalities that create these relationships or depend on them.
In most cases it pays off to take a step back and try to make sure the changes you make really extend the system and not just partially replace functionality and/or leave the CRM system.
Or more extremely creating custom entities to fulfill the job of out of the box ones.
That said, this is probably something most of us come across when working on existing implementations. With the new Dynamics 365 licensing model and the possible subsequent higher prices, I’m afraid we will see more of these kind of bad design decisions. These decisions might be motivated by financial reasons or competitive behavior.
Even though this is not a new problem, and the licensing guide already tackles this issue stating:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Essential and higher provide the right to use custom entities.
Custom entities may be based on entities included in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, or created by a customer or partner. If the custom entity is based on or replicates the functionality of entities included in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, or if the entity links to entities included in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, then users accessing the custom entity must also be licensed to access the included or replicated entity. In other words, customizations may only be performed against entities users are licensed to access.
I’m not entirely sure on how this will play out. In the meantime, the only thing we can do is what we are all already doing, bringing the best solution to our customers!