Let me have a quick summary about my points:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM database itself has respected database normalization principle in general. But some CRM metadata tables and some few business entities are not fully normalized for either performance reasons, or due to constraints of the platform.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM fully utilizes relational data model which is the foundation of the platform.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM fully encourages normalization through its flexible entity relationship models including one to many, and many to many. Those relationships are not only available to two different entities, but also can be applied to the same entity through self-referential relationship. What level of normalization that your custom application can achieve on CRM platform really depends on how you design your CRM entities and their relationships. You use the relationships between entities to normalize your data, which is an almost identical approach to what you would do in any traditional data modeling practice, where a CRM entity can be seen as a database table, while a CRM field (or attribute) can be seen as a table column. In this sense, CRM entity & database table are pretty much a pair of interchangeable terms, so are CRM field & table column.
- If you are currently using CRM 4.0, and you want to reuse some picklists. An alternative solution would be using a lookup entity, which contains all the options, so they can be re-used and referenced by different entities. If you want to provide better usability, you can use a script from one of my other blog posts to convert the lookups into picklists.