The major difference is Microsoft Dynamics CRM ability to create relationships between lists of data. SharePoint have fantastic tools in place to build, manage and collaborate on the lists of data, but it does not have built in ability to build relationship between the various data.


Is it possible to explain this?

relationship between the various data.

3 Answers 3


Since I have worked extensively on both the products, let me list down the key differences between the both: (context for both is cloud office 365)

  1. Structure

SharePoint has got lists whereas Dynamics has got entities. Though both are very similar to relational database tables (Sql tables)

  1. Relationships

CRM: We can create different relationships between entities like 1:1,1 to many, many to many, etc. Example: an account(parent entity) can have a Subgrid section where all the related contacts(child entity) from the same account/organisation can be easily listed out of the box.

SharePoint: There is no out of the box to create relationships between lists. Though lists can be connected using lookup columns.

  1. Workflows

CRM: A dynamics CRM workflow can trigger on events like create, update, field change, etc.

SharePoint: Workflows here do not run on field change events for list items. An advantage here is we get out of the box approval workflows which I found missing in Dynamics CRM.

  1. Custom Code

CRM: The tool can be easily extended towards server side using Plugins. These plugins get deployed within the Microsoft CRM environment.

SharePoint: No server side code will be added within Microsoft SharePoint. Outside the SharePoint, server side code could be deployed on azure as web-hooks. Also as commented by Ole Albers, server side code can also be added to provider hosted Add-Ins. These solutions either get hosted on a private server or Microsoft Azure. Again the deployments are done outside Microsoft SharePoint server (Office 365)

  1. Document Management System

CRM: Dynamics CRM is not meant for these features. We can only upload documents as attachments to the notes on an entity.

SharePoint: Provides very powerful document management system as document library.

  1. Email

CRM: We can easily configure multiple mailboxes. Mails can be sent and received from external email engines like Gmail, Yahoo

SharePoint: SharePoint keeps the scope for emails limited to office 365 (OOTB)

  1. Security metrics

CRM: We can apply field level securities in entity forms. I just love this feature of Dynamics CRM :) Talking about roles, users can be divided into business units, territories, teams. Again very mature approach

SharePoint: Either the entire form will be locked for a user or entire form will be editable. Talking about roles, users can only be divided into groups.


I have tried explaining the key differences from best of my knowledge. Usually both the products are integrated and used. Once possible use case could be CRM as the content management system and SharePoint as the document management system.

  • I disagree about the "Custom Code". SharePoint allows nearly everything using provider hosted Add-Ins which are much more than "Webhooks". Also: You don NOT need to store these applications on azure but can use your own servers. They are mainly MVC-Applications that have full access to your SP-Infrastructure
    – Ole Albers
    Apr 3, 2018 at 9:29
  • 1
    I missed Add-ins!
    – mohd tahir
    Apr 3, 2018 at 9:35
  • @mohdtahir Is this the integration issue in sharepoint 2019 or no this is limited to office 365? Apr 3, 2018 at 10:44
  • 3
    @AliVarzeshi SharePoint Server (on-premise) allows very extensive server-side code, including event receivers which can trigger workflows. Also you can do field-level security on SP using list views, though I'm not sure exactly how secure it is (probably not good enough for government or defense work). SP Server is way more flexible than O365.
    – thanby
    Apr 3, 2018 at 13:14
  • CRM Actually integrates with SharePoint for document management features. CRM Plugins are more powerful than SP Event receivers - they can be made to run into context of DB transaction with the core operation. Or async. And you get to configure triggers. I also have worked with both products. If you give me a choice between 2 platforms to build upon: CRM is MUCH easyer to customize/develop. It is consistent platform. SharePoint is good for Document management and simple lists, but I wouldn't want to go much further than that. Jul 26, 2023 at 10:55

SharePoint is hierarchical in nature, with no relationship with other objects. You can make it look like there are relationships, but there are none. You could use Managed Metadata to make "relations" between objects across site collections. Or you could use a Content type hub to distribute Content types across site collections. But the object themselves doesn't have these relations. They are stand-alone.

As opposed to Microsoft Dynamics CRM that have real relationships between objects. Much closer to a relationship database than SharePoint.


In the real world, SharePoint is rarely used without the purchase of some third party apps. For example, Nintex Forms/Workflows allows SharePoint to function much more closely to Microsoft Dynamics.

Relationships It is relatively straight forward to create a one to many relationship on a Nintex form between two lists. https://community.nintex.com/community/tech-blog/blog/2015/08/04/displaying-repeating-section-data-in-list-views-the-easy-way

Workflows Nintex workflows can run on field change events. Use the conditional logic on the start workflow when items are modified event. You can test the before and after values of fields.

Security metrics Nintex Forms allows developers to hide fields based on SharePoint roles. If the data is so sensitive that you need to make sure these roles cannot view the data in a list view, you can create a one to one relationship for those sensitive fields in another list and set a different security level on those list items. This may create some challenges with out of the box list views, but Microsoft BI can be utilized to create reports that can establish relationships between lists.

Conclusion If the cost of Microsoft Dynamics far exceeds the cost of SharePoint with some popular third party apps like Nintex and Microsoft BI then it might be worth the SharePoint route. I would think however that Microsoft Dynamics would allow someone with a less technical/developer skill set to create the complicated relationships that it is known for.

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