Microsoft has announced the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be available in the “fall of 2013”.
It is unfortunate that we did NOT hear an official release date, so, that gives Microsoft some wiggle room on what the definition of Fall is. I am all for quality releases and prefer a quality release over hitting a specific date, however, a date helps people with planning. As I learn more information on dates I’ll communicate that. The “unofficial” release date is October 2013. We saw a couple of dates slip late last year, so let’s hope Bob Stutz and company are better at hitting their targets this time around, and more importantly, communicating them in a timely fashion.
On to a few details.
The good news for all users is, this is a dual release for both Dynamics CRM Online as well as Dynamics CRM on-premise. The online version is officially called “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13”. Sound familiar? Yes, I know, real creative there, but, what’s in it, is more important than what they call it. Bottom line with Dynamics CRM, you have the power of choice. We still see a lot of clients that prefer to manage their own servers and software, with Dynaimcs CRM, you get to decide how to use it.
The official announcement: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Press/2013/Jul13/07-02DynamicsCRM13PR.aspx
This release includes a major User Interface overhaul. The user Experience has been “re-imagined” and will be a complete departure from previous versions. Below gives you some insight into what that new UI looks like:
No official word yet on whether or not the previous user interface will be completely removed or allowed to be turned on if needed. The stated goal I’ve heard so far, is all screens and forms will be the new UI/UX with no switching back to “classic” views.
Another major area of focus is on process oriented experiences. Process guidance, based on industry-leading best practices, will help teams more easily, e.g., move from lead to close—faster than ever before. Flexible and configurable, it gives your organization the ability to be agile in the face of change. Essentially CRM will guide users through their processes. It’s like having built in step by step guides to working with clients whether you are in marketing, sales, or service/delivery roles.
Also planned are new tablet and smartphone experiences with access to the CRM functionality and analytics. Smartphone apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8 will follow shortly after. Here is a taste of the tablet experience.
Eager to weave Yammer’s successful enterprise social capabilities into more offerings, Microsoft has been making an effort to bring the technology to its business applications portfolio, including Office. Now, Dynamics CRM is getting in on the act.
Dynamics CRM 2013 will offer deeper Yammer integration, the new release will provide “capabilities for people to collaborate with each other and share customer knowledge through Yammer right within the CRM solution, enabling them to deliver amazing customer experiences,” Microsoft said in a statement. I can tell you we have started using Yammer internally for the last 6 months and see major improvements in collaboration and information sharing. If you are not familiar with Yammer, think of it as Facebook for your company, but really focused on teams working together.
In addition, Dynamics CRM 2013 will feature support and integration for MarketingPilot marketing automation. Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot, a provider of multi-channel marketing management software, late last year. I’ve had a little bit of hands and it’s has quite a few enhancements that you’ll be able to take advantage of. It has the usual suspects in Marketing Automation capabilities, including emails, landing pages, contact forms, and social media. Stay tuned for a deeper dive when we are given the ok to provide more details.
Finally, Microsoft recently announced Lync and Skype integration which provides for sharing of contacts and the ability for the two applications to connect to each other. Included in the CRM 2013 release will be improved seamless support enabling instant access to either or both of these applications. If you are not familiar with Lync or Skype, think of these as Facetime for your company and customers. It’s pretty cool and provides productivity boosts with built-on phone calls, conference calls, video calls, and desktop sharing.