Microsoft Dynamics CRM momentum, vision, and product roadmap
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 (WPC) – Houston
I was not able to attend WPC this year, however, I have been keeping a close eye on the action. In the spirit of sharing I have a few highlights below from the Dynamics CRM roadmap session. If you want to watch the whole video the link is posted below. It’s about an hour so I am giving you the Cliff’s notes version here.
A few Dynamics CRM stats to start with:
- 3.5 Million Dynamics CRM Users
- 40,000 Companies
- 2 out of 3 customers choose cloud
- 35th straight quarter of double-digit growth
Pretty impressive numbers across the board. Dynamics CRM provides businesses huge value so it’s no surprise to me that adoption rates are so impressive.
On to a few key slides from the presentation…
First up, Dynamics CRM 2013 Key Themes. Microsoft recently announced we should see Dynamics CRM 2013, previously called Orion, in the “fall” of 2013.
- Reimagined Experience – Clean, fast, more intuitive interface drives productivity
- Process Agility – Agile process guidance to respond rapidly to changing business needs
- CRM on the Go – Access what you need where you need it
- Social in Context – Work across boundaries to create the right customer experiences
A lot of marketing speak in that slide, so I’ll translate. Dynamics CRM 2013 will have a brand new, totally re-written interface. The online users have had early access to this experience for the last few months. It is a much more fluid and seamless user experience that has a more flat “metro” like look and feel with an emphasis on friendly finger input. Here is an example of that UI.
Agile process guidance, think of it as almost step by step guides built into the experience. The great news is that multiple processes will be supported to better fit the business need. E.g. one can quickly select between a Lead to Cash process, or a Lead to Quote process or a Qualify a Lead process. Each process has it’s own stages and steps associated with it. Even better, very simple input and data updates. For those that have multiple environments or divisions, the processes will be “package-able” to make it easy to move them from one instance to another.
CRM on the Go, is the first attempt at a more mobile device friendly experience. The bad news, initial release will not have offline access, however the connected experience is a great step forward.
Social in Context is mostly about having Yammer inside of CRM and connected with related records and entities. This is a bit of new paradigm for a lot of people but I highly recommend you have your
users try it out.
It allows for much faster and efficient internal communication and collaboration on leads, accounts, opportunities and pretty much any other entity in CRM. E.g. instead of sending out an email to the entire company that you need a reference for a client, simply post that in the related Yammer feed and see the entire thread of conversation at a glance. This gives you an idea of that…
I’ll now switch to a more visual post and show you some of the more pertinent updates in screenshots.
First up are a couple of more screenshots of the new UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) changes coming. All of the left side navigation has been moved to the top, essentially replacing the old, but familiar, ribbon toolbar. I happen to like it. As you can see below, if click or tap on the Sales link, it shows you the related entities for Sales.
As you can see here, you can more easily and quickly get to any of the other entities. Selecting any of the buttons will show you the most recentlyopened records.
There is a now also a Quick Create link that you can access to quickly add any records. Notice there is no popup, per se, rather it is a “drop down” form that provides quick and easy data entry. Definitely much faster than before.
As mentioned in the key themes, multiple process support is included. it’s fast and easy to switch between processes. This really helps with a consistent process for all users. It’s almost a built in user guide for CRM.
Nest up is the CRM on the Go, or mobile device support. The initial focus is on tablets, and frankly, that makes sense to me. CRM is really meant for a larger screen. Here are the Windows 8 mobile and iPad screenshots.
Next up are a couple of screenshots from the upcoming Netbreeze integration.
The bad news it seems there is a slip of the MarketingPilot and Netbreeze integration. That’s a shame because we have been hearing all along it would be included in Orion. These will now be included in the Mira release in Q1 2014.
Finally, a peak into what the future releases will focus on. I am happy to see a long overdue update to Customer Service enhancements. No details but at least they are thinking about it.
All in all, some pretty exciting updates! As more details are learned I will pass them along.