Sneak peek at my top 10 features of CRM2013

As you may or may not be aware Dynamics CRM will be having a facelift in October with the new release CRM 2013 being launched.

In short, CRM 2013 is the next release of Dynamics CRM. Dynamics CRM 2011 was released in 2010 and as such in line with the rest of Microsoft products has had a facelift to enable it to continue to be a market leader. With the range of new laptops, tablets and phones available to users, the Dynamics CRM user interface had to be re-imaged to support these devices more natively.

With a lot of information already out on what CRM2013 will deliver to users, I thought I would submit my “Top 10 feature” changes that you will experience with the new release. Keep an eye on this page for new postings about the upcoming release http://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/2011/en-us/Dynamics-CRM-Upcoming-Release-Information.aspx and Intergen’s blog www.intergen.co.nz/blog.

1. Ribbon goes, say hello to the navigation bar. The navigation bar is a replica of the navigation pane and represents the site map that you are used to and the ribbon buttons are replaced with simple worded command bar options. The reason for this change, speed up the UI, simplify the visuals and easy to touch.

2. No left hand navigation, expand the navigation bar

3. Process enabled forms, you can create processes to support users navigating through the system. A record type can have many different processes that can be started. A process drives a user through the information and related entities to complete the process. A user can change the process during a process if required. Example processes, Simple Opportunity Process, Complex Opportunity process, New Member, Renew Member etc.

4. Mobile for free, the new release includes an always online with cached offline mode for Windows 8 and IPad devices. The mobile user interface is dynamically created based on the same forms non mobile users utilise. This will provide a great tool for the mobile workforce to engage in CRM wherever they are.

5. Business Rules – remove the need for code. Business rules will enable some of the more simple business logic that we would have created in the past as plugins or JavaScripts to no longer be needed, simplifying your CRM system and enabling you to create and manage your own business rules.

6. Dynamics CRM and Server side e-mail and appointment processing. This is a great new feature, take this an example CRM 2011 process. A customer service agent creates an appointment for a user to visit a customer. The user will not see this appointment in their Outlook calendar until they sync Dynamics CRM with Outlook. If they are mobile using a smart phone or tablet then again they would not see this appointment until they sync their outlook, delaying the visibility of this appointment. With CRM 2013 the appointment will be pushed by CRM direct to the mail server and then it will immediately appear on your device. Great new feature.

7. Synchronous Processes. Basically processes in CRM 2011 have always ran in the background requiring a user to reload or refresh the screen to see the impact. CRM 2013 will now introduce processes that run immediately and update the form in real time, resulting in less code, less plugins and simplified management of business logic.

8. What is this Hero thing all about? The hero area of CRM is where you see all the recent activity of a record in one glance. If implemented well this will save all users an immense amount of time. Some of you may already be using this in CRM 2011 – activity feeds or in CRM online via the Polaris forms. Basically in CRM 2013 it takes this area to the next level with full capability to create all activity types, integrate with Yammer and view all notes. In some ways this is my number 1, as it provides the bare essentials to all users about the what is going on with the record with minimal clicks.

9. Global search within the Mobile Client.

10. Quick Create forms are back! You can now quickly create a record without capturing all viewing the complete form, great if you are on the move and just want to get something in quick.

nzCRMguy Netbreeze Blog Posts

I have attached the links to three great articles that Mark Smith aka nzCRMguy has wrote regarding Netbreeze the recent acquisition by Microsoft for Dynamics CRM.

Thanks Mark a very informative read!

  1. Netbreeze Understanding Your Audience – http://www.nzcrmguy.com/msdyncrm/netbreeze-understanding-your-audience-part-1-of-3
  2. Netbreeze The Technology at time of Purchase – http://www.nzcrmguy.com/msdyncrm/netbreeze-the-technology-at-time-of-purchase-part-2-of-3
  3. Netbreeze API version 1 – http://www.nzcrmguy.com/msdyncrm/netbreeze-api-version-1-part-3-of-3

Dynamics CRM Orion user interface updates from Convergence 2013

Great new looking user interface planned for the Orion release later this year. Focussed on process and user driven experience, a step in the right direction. More to come in later post.

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Update Rollup 12 FAQ and Known Issues

The Microsoft CRM Support team has posted a blog article with some FAQs and known issues for the December 2012 Service Update and Update Rollup 12 (UR12). Its a great resource and I would recommend you review it before going live with this update.

https://community.dynamics.com/product/crm/crmtechnical/b/dynamicscrmsupportblog/archive/2013/01/28/december-2012-update-has-been-released.aspx

First Glance Dynamics CRM Polaris Skype Call via Online Trail org

So again this is an organisation that at Intergen we created as a trial through the standard process of requesting a 30 day trial except it was published as Polaris which was strange as it was requested on the 10th Jan, 6 days prior to what we have been led to believe was the rollout to APAC!

Since this trial all other requested trials has been pre polaris releases, so do not know what happened but hey its great to get a glance at the production view of this functionality post the Microsoft TAP program that I was on.

So how does the skype call work?

Simply click on the phone number and Skype if running will dial the number. When you complete the call and return to the CRM contact window or during the call, a new phone call activity will have already been created to enable you to capture the discussion that you have had!

Simple and intuitive, the way forward!

Some screenshots:

Click on a phone number:
PolarisSkype

Update the Phone Call activity with details:
PolarisSkype2

Phone call Activity created:
PolarisSkype3

System Setting to default country code:
PolarisSkype4

First Glance Dynamics CRM Polaris Cross Browser via Online Trail org

In the third series of first glances, here are some screenshots of CRM via Chrome and Safari on a Windows PC.

So again this is an organisation that at Intergen we created as a trial through the standard process of requesting a 30 day trial except it was published as Polaris which was strange as it was requested on the 10th Jan, 6 days prior to what we have been led to believe was the rollout to APAC!

Since this trial all other requested trials has been pre polaris releases, so do not know what happened but hey its great to get a glance at the production view of this functionality post the Microsoft TAP program that I was on.

Chrome via a Windows PC:
PolarisChrome4

PolarisChrome3

PolarisChrome2

PolarisChrome1

Safari via Windows PC:
PolarisSafari3

PolarisSafari2

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Firefox via Windows PC:
PolarisFirefox2

PolarisFirefox1

On my ACER A500 tablet via Chrome using /main.aspx URL as per safari comment, only opens records where new process UI forms are not enabled.
polarisAcerA500

First Glance at Dynamics CRM Polaris new Service Flows

So after posting some first glance images of Polaris sales processes and new user flow user interface, I thought I would post some images of the new Case Management flows.

So again this is an organisation that at Intergen we created as a trial through the standard process of requesting a 30 day trial except it was published as Polaris which was strange as it was requested on the 10th Jan, 6 days prior to what we have been led to believe was the rollout to APAC!

Since this trial all other requested trials has been pre polaris releases, so do not know what happened but hey its great to get a glance at the production view of this functionality post the Microsoft TAP program that I was on.

As promised here are some screen shots of the Service flow.

The new Outlook folder composition, note the extra sub folders to clearly define the content:
ServicePolaris1

Additional options to start a new Case from, Phone support enables a phone call activity to record on creation of the case to record the details of the call into:
ServicePolaris2

New Case, clear process and easy to select existing customers:
ServicePolaris3

On selection of a Customer, the customer details are populated, recent cases and recent activities, to remove the need to open the contact record up, plus the Find cases presents an easy way to select an existing case from within a new case flow:
ServicePolaris4

Stages control what the options are in the flow, notes can be taken in the phone call activity at the same time the case is being edited and saved:
ServicePolaris5

Selecting the Find button allows a user to search for similar cases based on the subject or key words and review the activities, posts and notes regarding them:
ServicePolaris6

If a solution is found then you can select Found a solution to create a connection between the records:
ServicePolaris7

A connection to the similar Case is created:
ServicePolaris8

To close the phone call select OK, to resolve the case, select the next stage or click resolve in the quick action buttons, note no new screen pop up, all inline:
ServicePolaris9

Finally you can create tasks or phone calls be clicking the Add Task, Phone Call buttons:
ServicePolaris10

I hope this has given you a quick glance at what will be available as part of a rolled up Polaris CRM instance.

All in all, a much improved user experience for managing incidents and enquiries, providing a much more intuitive user interface.

APAC Polaris Online Instance First Glance

On Thursday 10th at Intergen we created a new Trial CRM org and was surprised to see that Polaris had been installed, our understanding was that it was to be released on the 16th at the earliest to APAC. Since then all new orgs have not had Polaris loaded, which is strange, we obviously got lucky!

So here are a few screenshots of the new Flow UI and Outlook as a little teaser. I will post again later on the new Service side screens.

Outlook Opportunity process:
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Outlook Opportunity close as Won:
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Outlook Opportunity add new phone call:
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Outlook Account Form:
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CRM in the Browser:
CRMPoalris5
CRM Sales Process Flow Management:
CRMPoalris6

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 “Polaris” release and its potential impact on current deployments

As part of its continual evolution of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft will soon release its December 2012 Service Update, codenamed Polaris. (Following the Polaris release, there will be three more star or star constellation themed releases: Orion, Leo and Vega.)

The Polaris release contains a range of new capabilities, including new sales and customer service user interface options, cross browser support, new integration points for Yammer, Skype, and Bing Maps, Microsoft Office 2013 compatibility, and a bulk data API. More information on this release, including an official Release Preview Guide from Microsoft, can be found on the Microsoft CRM site http://crm.dynamics.com/en-us/polaris.

This release will be rolled out from mid/end December and through January, and while most of the changes in this Service Update will be for customers using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online, those using the on-premise release will also be able to take advantage of cross-browser support. What does this mean? To quote from the documentation: “Microsoft is expanding the range of browsers supported to include versions of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome on Windows PCs. Firefox and Apple Safari will be supported on Macintosh desktop computers. There will also be Safari support on Apple iPad tablets for sales users. This sales experience on iPad adds flexibility for the mobile salesperson.”

This potentially has an impact on any current deployments of Dynamics CRM 2011 that contain any JavaScript or HTML programming (for example, any. web resources that have been created to hide/show fields etc.). Organisations that are potentially impacted by this update need to work with their service providers or themselves to ensure that any JavaScript that has been deployed will comply with the cross-browser update.

The process to review the code is as follows and the time it will take will depend obviously on the complexity and functionality of the JavaScript that has been deployed:

1. Download and install the ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Custom Code Validation Tool’ solution from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30151 . This tool is free to download.
2. Import your CRM solution into the your UAT/DEV environment.
3. The solution will run and provide a colour-coded review of the code in the solution, identifying code items that will fail and might fail following the release of the December 2012 update.
4. For any areas where the code may break, a developer will be required to update the code and fix the issue; this may be as a result of an upgrade where the JavaScript has not been fully converted (using old V4 supported code) or where there are specific commands that only Internet Explorer can interpret.
5. Once the changes have been applied, the updated solution needs to be tested and rolled out.

As a guide, we would expect for most customers this process will take from 4-8 hours to complete; for larger, more complex implementations this process may take longer.

The following blog post by Microsoft details this process in far more detail: http://community.dynamics.com/product/crm/crmtechnical/b/crmteamblog/archive/2012/06/21/microsoft-dynamics-crm-2011-custom-code-validation-tool-released.aspx . If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Intergen (http://intergen.co.nz/Contact-Us/enquiry-form ).

Polaris Release Dates

Great post by Chris Cognetta (CRM MVP) on the release dates of Polaris https://community.dynamics.com/product/crm/crmtechnical/b/cognettacloud/archive/2012/12/13/crm-2011-ur12-polaris-release-update.aspx .

Key dates to be aware of are:

  • New Trail sign ups in North America will commence from 14th jan 2013
  • New Trail sign ups in EMEA and APAC will commence from 16th jan 2013
  • Existing Online Customers will commence on 1st Jan 2013 rolling out to the data centre scale groups, expected completion 31st jan 2013
  • On premise UR12 available on the 10th Jan 2013
  • Yammer and IPAD experience update from Feb 2013 through to the 28th Feb 2013