The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 community has exploded with blog pages and tweets flying around and everyone getting excited.
Microsoft are really pushing their Dynamic products because they have recently announced NAV 7 statement of direction which announces they are going to have a major release of NAV every year for the next 3 years, which considering the last major release was release 2009 this is some major investment.
At this point I would like to ask, no plead with Microsoft to invest in the CRM/NAV connector because that would make my life a lot easier. Although I would say the CRM/NAV connector blog has recently published some excellent videos and have created two new releases.
To Microsoft this week have announced the Q2 2012 Service Update in the Release Preview Guide. The blog post announcing this was quite low key, not many pictures and then you open the release guide and POW, you release Microsoft are going to wow the CRM community with some fantastic enhancements.
The biggest point I will make is Microsoft are still keeping CRM Online at $30 a month, despite adding lots of new functionality. This is big point which I think has been overlooked when considering these new enhancements coming our way.
There are so many good things but my favourite is
Multiple browser support
Yes at last, although a lot of people use Internet Explorer a lot of people don’t use it and it comes down to personal choice. It can be quite a downer to users when you tell them you can only use internet explorer to use CRM and this will make it easier for new users to get started with CRM, this is also one of the most popular questions I get asked by potential customers.
CRM is going to be working on these browsers
- IE on Windows 7
- Safari 5.11 + on Mac OSX and iPad 2
- Firefox 6+
- Chrome 13.x
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This is another big improvement. Currently one of the biggest weaknesses (in my opinion) in CRM 2011 is the lack of reporting capability. The dashboard charts are certainly a step in the right direction and great when pitching CRM 2011 but in reality these are very simple graphs as soon as you want to do something more complex, what are you options. Report Wizard is also limited (to two entities). The next step is the dreaded reporting services. This is an area where Microsoft is weak so any improvements in this area are important and especially when you consider that reporting is such an important area to customers. CRM 2011 is great at allowing users to collect information but at the moment it’s not brilliant and allowing them to report on it.
I have to admit I have no idea what Powerview is or if it’s going to be a big improvement but I am hoping and the screenshots look good.
PORTAL FRAMEWORK ENHANCEMENTS
I think Portals will get used more and more, especially as CRM gets bigger and is used by more people and doing more things. Once Microsoft Dynamics CRM gets to be used by companies and then they start to modify it to capture more information and is used by more parts of the business, I think you will see more portals start to be used.
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The current CRM mobile basic interface is going to be replaced with a full range of smartphone apps which are going to work on all the major smartphones and tablets. This is a big move from Microsoft and one which is right on the money, everyone has smartphones and tablets these day and whats more people seem to enjoy using them. Its going to be very persuasive when selling CRM to potential customers.
Windows Phone 7.5+
Apple iPhone 3GS+ iOS 5+
Google Android 2.2+
RIM Blackberry 6.x and 7.x
Apple iPad/iPad2 iOS 5+
The full document has a lot more details so I would recommend you read it, I will add another link to it here.
That’s my thoughts on the forthcoming release, all we can do now is wait for the good times to roll.
Well done Microsoft and keep the up the good work and the investment in CRM. I think they are moving in the right direction and really have seemed to listened to their customers and what the enhancements they want to be added.