Renaming or Repurposing Microsoft CRM System Entities

I’ve been taking part in an interesting discussion on the LinkedIn “Microsoft Dynamics CRM” group. The following is the extremely long link you will have to use to get to this discussion:

You’ll need to be a member of this group to read the discussion.

It started out with a great question about ”

Are there any real incentives of renaming the “Contact” entity?

Given that it would necessitate a lot of other work in changing the help file, user documentation, etc. this is a logical question. Several members posted responses about repurposing system entitites to which I replied:

While all of the other input is valid and valuable, I think [original poster] (she can verify) is talking about renaming Contact just for the sake of calling it something else, not repurposing it.

To which another member posted:

That begs the question, “What is the difference of renaming and repurposing?”

And here is my answer, fwiw:

I’m not sure you’ll find this in Webster’s but here’s how I would explain it:

Using a system entity for something other than it’s original purpose.

ex: “Fax” to “Instant Message”.
We are adding or changing some functionality of the fax entity to make it an IM.

Another defining characteristic of a repurposed entity is that we can no longer use it for the original functionality (i.e. we no longer have faxes).

Another (less obvious) example might be calling Contact “Tenant” in a real estate customization. We haven’t changed any functionality but, by calling Contact something specific like Tenant, we’ve functionally (although not technically) ruled out having other types of Contacts who might have some relationship with us other than Tenant.

Changing the name of a system entity to something else while still using the functionality exactly the same way.

ex.: Contact to “Person”, “Individual”, “Constituent”, etc.
We’re calling it something else but that is all we’ve changed. We still use it exactly the same way.

I believe “Renaming” is what [original poster] meant and, in my opinion, the disadvantages/costs she mentioned outweigh the advantages of calling Contact something else in most cases. If you explain these tradeoffs to a user they will typically come around and decide not to rename it. But sometimes they just want to call it something else.

I’ll admit, I didn’t reference any definitive source for this definition. I’m just relying on my experiences. I could be wrong and perhaps there is no difference between renaming and repurposing. What do you think?

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