So it took me seven years to come to this realization. Financials is a hard requirement for just about any line of business application. Without at least core financials it's impossible to really hit day-to-day scenarios that make business run better. Apologies to Jeff and the rest of the Green team. You were right.
For the longest time I've held the belief that the underlying infrastructure behind MS-CRM was there to support arbitrary business applications. It's funny, for the last six months I've been betting my career on that belief, and even more today, I truly believe that the core value proposition is that CRM is so extensible that its CRM-ness becomes secondary to how and why people buy it.
I've been talking to a number of customers and partners who have purchased CRM not for the CRM aspects at all (although I suspect they end up using quite of bit of the functionality) but for the platform components. It seems to have come full circle - the CRM product was, a very long time ago (in industry terms) designed to be the platform on which bCentral applications were based. After a short segue into on-premise core CRM functionality where the extension capabilities were disabled or hidden, the product is really progressing into a true platform.
It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next two releases. One that's been talked about is called Titan and that's the one that I think of as the core platform. I'm looking forward to seeing what that team can provide to the rest of Microsoft, and possibly to the industry, in terms of platform. Watch out SharePoint, there's a new kid in town and that kid knows all about business application requirements.