I thought I would have a look at the new tablet apps for CRM 2013 because this would definitely be something sales people are telling potential customers about, so I thought it would be a good idea to understand what’s on offer.
The first thing that sticks out is there is no android application, I guess you could access the url, particularly because CRM 2013 supports all browsers. I’m not sure if it’s still the same as CRM 2011 but there was (a hardly ever used) mobile screen functionality. In CRM 2011 you could assign a mobile screen to each entity and strip away anything complex. I had personally never seen this used because at the time tablets were not that popular, CRM 2011 online wasn’t used much with the customers I dealt with and not many CRM on site installations had setup IFD (Internet Facing Deployment)
I found this article/web page written by Microsoft which gives you details on minimum hardware requirements, supported opperating systems etc and basically answers lots of questions you and customer might have regarding tablets for CRM 2013.
here is a summary of what I think is important
Apple – iOS 7 and 6
Version of CRM 2013
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
Microsoft Dyanmics CRM on-premise but Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 on-premises deployments require Internet Facing Deployment (IFD) for users to access their data on their tablets
Users must have the security role Use CRM for tablets
CRM 2013 tablets cache records and lists you have recently accessed. It seems CRM 2013 will decide what things need to be cached. There are also some limitations to the offline mode (the information below is originally from this article)
If you are using your CRM for tablets with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 (on-premises):
- When you lose your internet connection, you can continue to use CRM for tablets while disconnected. However, once you start another app (essentially closing CRM for tablets), you will be unable to use CRM for tablets until you can connect to the internet.
Note the following:
- Charts are not available when you are offline.
- This cached data is not encrypted. You can use BitLocker to encrypt the entire hard drive on a Windows 8 device.
- CRM for tablets does not include a feature to remotely wipe the data from a device.
- Images such as contact photos are cached in the browser cache, so they might not be available when you are offline.
To learn more about the offline capabilities and limitations view the youtube video Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Tablets – Offline
I would also recommend you read the page Known issues for CRM for tablets and phones
TABLETS – Are they really used for people using CRM
I guess one question I wonder about when thinking about the tablet application for CRM, does the average user of CRM applications get a tablet to use at work. I would say the answer to this is a big fat no.
Still Microsoft needs to think about the future and firstly they want to encourage people to use tablets, particularly as they have one to sell (even though it seems a bit expensive to me). People in the workplace in five years time might all have tablets so to get a tablet version working is a good step towards that.
Showing CRM on a tablet is a great sales person pitch/trick, it seems impressive and the great kind of flashy functionality to get people excited about before getting into the nitty gritty of the details about the solution.
I can imagine some users (probably higher up the business) using tablets for consuming CRM data and a bit of light data entry/manipulation.
Lastly it is a differentiator from it’s competitors in the CRM industry. So overall I think it’s a good move to have a tablet application (all companies have an app these days) and it shows Microsoft has it’s eyes on the future and is an indication Microsoft will continue to aggresively improve the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product.
A LOOK AT THE TABLET APP
I personally don’t have a compatible tablet but even if I did have, some good people have already made some good videos and uploaded them to youtube, so lets have a look at them.
Microsoft have quite a few videos on the subject, eager to show off their new functionality and rightly so. There is also a less salesperson example from Sonoma partners.
Basically the tablet experience is a stripped down/simple experience of CRM. You have one locked dashboard, which only shows the sales data at the moment. Some of the limitations hint at Microsoft wanted to really get this functionality out as soon as possible and other limitations are sensible to fit the functionality to the tablet environment