Although Microsoft Dynamics 365 can provide one location for all your internal data needs, careful management can be required should your business use many attachments against records. Storing everything within Dynamics 365 can be convenient, but there are more cost-effective methods.
Dynamics 365, as standard, comes with 10GB of storage, with an additional 5GB granted for every twenty users, and even though this storage limit is spread over both production and sandbox instances, for storing simple data records, this is usually more than enough. However, should your users begin attaching a lot of documents to records, particularly documents that have not been compressed efficiently, businesses can eventually run into the prospect of having to pay more for additional storage. If your business is storing a lot of files in Dynamics 365, it is worth considering other options.
Storing documents in SharePoint
SharePoint, by default, comes with 1TB of storage to cover all of your SharePoint sites, so it is an ideal location to place sizeable documents. Dynamics 365 makes it easy to integrate your CRM system with SharePoint, so that documents uploaded against Dynamics 365 records are automatically stored in SharePoint, but accessible from the Dynamics 365 record. Ideally, this integration should be put in place when first implementing a new Dynamics 365 instance to avoid a mixture of files being stored within CRM and SharePoint. Following the change, users can add documents directly to a CRM record and these are stored in SharePoint, but accessible from the CRM record. Another benefit is that documents stored in this way can be accessible to non-CRM users, as long as they have the correct SharePoint permissions.
Moving attachments already stored in Dynamics 365
Some businesses realise late on that they have a storage issue; it might come when they receive alerts of nearing the storage limit or when trying to add another Dynamics instance. The quickest and easiest solution to this problem is to pay for additional storage, but there are other options available. One such option is mscrm-addons’ AttachmentExtractor. This is a cloud or installed tool that can gradually migrate your attachments from Dynamics 365 to SharePoint.
The Attachment/Document distinction
Attachments are files that accumulate through standard use of Dynamics 365. Some of these come from tracked emails and some can be ad hoc uploads against a CRM record note. This is unstructured data, infrequently accessed, and is only required by Dynamics 365 users.
Documents on the other hand are more important files and are usually related to a process, such as a sales process. These can be sales proposals, quotes, or contracts, for example, which can go through multiple revisions. Often, these types of documents are needed by users who may not have access to Dynamics 365. This is structured data.
The above attachment/document distinction means that it is entirely possible that you need to use both attachments via notes and emails (unstructured data), and documents via SharePoint (structured data). If your business has concerns about its CRM data usage and you need further advice, get in touch with one of our experts, and we can advise you on possible solutions, including SharePoint and AttachmentExtractor.