On Wednesday 31st July Microsoft showcased Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 to Gap Consulting as part of an invitation event at their UK HQ in Thames Valley Park.  The 4 hour session was full of useful information about the upcoming release covering the key technology changes, and rationale behind the strategic direction.

 

We’re assured by Microsoft your solution will upgrade, and there are clear upgrade options to move you from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013.  Microsoft are providing us with additional tools which will allow us to assess the upgrade risk of your CRM Organisation, and review what, if any, corrective action is required before upgrade.  Gap are part of the Technology Adoption Program (TAP) which provides us with BETA access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 with resources and training from Microsoft.  We’re coming to grips with the changes fast, and will share these with you soon.

 

You’ve probably already heard about the new user interface, and the good news is you’re existing form layouts will be maintained and displayed through the new style interface, and then you’re able to activate the new CRM 2013 form features when you’re ready. 

 

There are some changes to the supported software stack, with Microsoft dropping support for the following technologies, Windows server 2003, Windows XP, and Internet Explorer 7.  The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 technology will no longer support CRM v4.0 plugins, the 2007 Web Service end point, or the ISV folder.

 

We already have some customers, who are using Microsoft CRM Online, and their upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is scheduled as early as October 2013.  Our customers who want to be early adopters to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 on premise should be considering, and making plans, around a Q1 2014 upgrade.  We’ll be in touch to discuss this some more later in the year.

 

I’m sure you want to know more information about the new features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, here are a few bullet points we’ve taken away from our session with Microsoft:

 

·         Redesign of the user interface to enhance user adoption

o   Microsoft want you to have a user interface that is Simple, Usable, Modern, Fast, and that you Love using.

o   No more popups.  The CRM Web Client will now navigate directly to a record instead of giving you a new popup window.  The Outlook Client navigation is the same, and will give you a single popup for the record you are looking at, but no further popups as you navigate around.

o   The screen design is more process, and task based.  We’re excited about this feature as our designs will now further help drive a user through a process without distractions.

o   Forms will auto save every 30 seconds, although there is a global setting to disable this.

o   Set Form Notification feature to provide feedback on the form to end users instead of via popups alerts.

 

·         Navigation has been simplified, and enhanced for touch (via Tablet App)

o   Dedicated home pages are now available for primary sitemap areas.

o   The ribbon has been replaced with a maximum 7 action buttons.  There is a fly out menu to access additional buttons, but the design idea is to focus the user on the main buttons they need for their job.

 

·         Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 provide native integration with

o   Bing Maps

o   Yammer

 

·         Simplified Licensing Model based on functionality, consistent between On Premise and Online

o   Professional; For the core CRM users, who need the full capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM including sales force automation as well as marketing and customer care.  We believe most users will find this license best fits their needs.

o   Basic;  For sales, service and marketing users who need to manage accounts, contacts, leads, cases and access custom applications as well as for business analysts who require reporting capabilities.

o   Essential; For light-weight users who need to access custom applications developed in house or by our vast network of partners. Consistent between On Premise and Online

 

·         The On Premise Connector license is no longer required;  access by external (third party) users is included with the Server License; you do not need CALs unless using Microsoft Dynamics CRM client applications. External users are users that are not either your or your affiliates’ employees, or your or your affiliates’ onsite contractors or onsite agents.

 

·         CRM Online includes one non-production instance with the subscription if it includes 25 or more Professional USLs.  5 GB storage is included;  for every increment of 20 Professional USLs, the included storage capacity increases by 2.5 GB, up to 50 GB.

 

·         Entities have been enhanced with

o   Ability to enable Process based interaction

o   A feature for Team access to record, instead of the existing Sharing feature

o   A new attribute type of Image.

o   Ability to identify a field as a Phone field, to allow click to dial.

 

·         Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is provided through the following clients;

o   Microsoft Outlook, with integrated Outlook / CRM experience (online / offline mode)

o   Web Client, for multiple browser support

o   Microsoft CRM 2013 Tablet App, for Windows 8 or iPad (can access Sales entities, and Custom Entities)

o   Mobile Phone Client, via Mobile Express (Windows 8 phone with offline mode, iPhone and Android online only)

 

·         Microsoft Outlook is now more reliable and stable through some architecture changes

o   Exchange to CRM server-side-sync removes need for Outlook to do lots of processing.  This means there is no more requirement for the email router.

o   Outlook and CRM run as isolated processes, but provide integrated client experience

o   Server-side-sync includes Emails, Tasks, Appointments, and Contact.

 

·         SQL Server tables are no longer required to be stored as ContactBase and ContactBaseExtension.  A single table mode is available, and will be merged during upgrade.  We recommend this option for performance improvements and lower volume of SQL based on locks.

 

·         Business Rules in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 are designed to provide a simple non-technical capability to super users who need to configure logic on Forms but don’t have javascript experience.  With Business Rules you can

o   Configure Conditions and Actions to take (for example make Post Code mandatory if the user types a value in Address line 1)

o   Business Rules work everywhere, Outlook Client, Web Client, Tablet App and Phone client.

 

·         Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Server-side enhancements include;

·         Real-time workflows(!), yes you heard it here first.  This means synchronous workflows which run in line with user process and tasks.  Pre and post data is available for comparisons and decisions.  Real-time workflows run within the database transaction, and have enhanced security.

·         There are new and enhanced authentication capabilities.

·         Server-side-sync, which means no further dependency on the Email Router.