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Updated Microsoft Dynamics CRM Statement of Direction – April 2010

While checking out various blogs this morning, I noticed that a Microsoft Australia blog posted an updated Statement of Direction document for Microsoft CRM. I couldn’t find this new version on the Microsoft PartnerSource website but it does appear to be legit (UPDATE: I did receive a copy of this document from official non-blog MSFT sources). The Statement of Direction document outlines the future direction of Microsoft Dynamics CRM through to the next major release. Microsoft released new versions of this document for CRM at the following times:

While of course the April 2010 document contents are very interesting (at least for a CRM geek like me!), it is just as interesting to see what Microsoft changed from version to version. I took a look at the April 2010 document and compared it to the August 2009 document to see what changed, and there are some big changes! Just look at the differences between the table of contents when comparing the new version to the pervious version:

August 2009 Statement of Direction April 2010 Statement of Direction

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Roadmap

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobility
    • Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
    • Ten Digits Alliance
  • Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
    • What are Accelerators?
    • Accelerators Update
      • Analytics
      • Business Productivity Newsfeed
      • Business Productivity Workflow Tools
      • Business Data Auditing
      • Miller Heiman® Sales Methodology
      • Sales Performance International (SPI) Sales Methodology
      • Target Account Selling (TAS) Sales Methodology
      • Accelerators Localization
    • Accelerators Wave 2
      • Social Networking
      • Portal Integration
      • Partner Relationship Management (PRM)
      • eService 2.0
      • Event Management 2.0
  • BizTalk® Server Integration
  • List Web Part for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Adapter for Microsoft Dynamics GP

On-Demand Microsoft Dynamics CRM

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online March 2009 Service Update
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Future Service Updates


Microsoft Dynamics CRM “VNext”

  • “VNext” to deliver a new level of user productivity and collaboration capabilities
    • Continue to improve the end-user experience
    • Increase accessibility through the Microsoft Office “ribbon” interface
    • Improve productivity through a streamlined user interface
    • Drive user adoption through personalization
    • Facilitate collaboration with SharePoint® integration
    • Enrich business insight through improved business intelligence
    • Balanced workload management for more efficient use of resources
  • “VNext” to deliver continued enrichment of the core CRM Capabilities
    • Contact and Account Management
    • Team-Based Collaboration
    • Call Center and Unified Communications Support
    • Extended Sales Territory Management
    • Knowledge Management
    • Other areas
  • “VNext” to provide a Best-of-Breed Business Solution Platform
    • Solution Management
    • Secure Code on the Server
    • Integration and connectivity
    • Service-Oriented Architecture
    • Native Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) connectivity
    • Scalable, Federated security
    • Extended Event Pipeline
    • Other areas

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Roadmap

  • Accelerators
    • Social Networking – Available
    • Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Accelerator – Available
    • Portal Accelerators – Q2 2010
    • Customer Care Accelerator (CCA) – Q2 2010
  • Solutions
    • Non-Profit Solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – April 2010
  • Integration Tools
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Adapter for Microsoft Dynamics GP – May 2010
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Adapter for Microsoft Dynamics AX6 - 2011
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Adapter for Microsoft Dynamics NAV2009 – 2011
  • Developer Tools
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK Update – May 2010

On-Demand Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online May 2010 Service Update
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online “H2” 2010 Service Update
    • CRM Online International Market Expansion – Aligned with CRM “5”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM “5” Roadmap

  • User Productivity and Collaboration
  • CRM Capabilities
  • Best-of-Breed Business Solution Framework

A few things jumped out at me while reviewing the differences:

  • The April 2010 document states Microsoft Dynamics CRM “5” is targeted for “release in the second half of 2010”, which lines up with the “targeted for release in 2010” guidance MSFT gave back in August. It appears to be on schedule for release, and that is great news.

  • Where did XRM go?!?! If you were at Convergence 2010, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hearing the phrase XRM. It was EVERYWHERE. Now Microsoft removed the XRM section from the April 2010 Statement of Direction (although it does get one or two mentions throughout). While of course XRM is more of a concept than specific features or functionality, the removal of XRM as its own section from the April 2010 is interesting to note.

  • Microsoft now refers to “VNext” as “5”. Of course this isn’t a huge surprise and it’s no guarantee that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 5.0 will be the official product name but I have been calling it “5” for a while.

  • No mention of the TenDigits mobile alliance anymore, it appears they are no longer part of the official mobility story. Actually Microsoft removed all of the mobility information from the April 2010 Statement of Direction. Weird.

  • See ya BizTalk integration! Microsoft is shifting their integration focus to the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Adapter, and they even announced release timings for AX6 and NAV2009. Very cool. However, in BizTalk’s defense Microsoft did state that there will be “An updated Microsoft BizTalk Server adaptor for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 5”.

  • The table of contents in April 2010 for V5 functionality now has three bullets, much less than compared to the 25 bullets from August 2009. However this is strictly a formatting change because the sub-bullets in the April 2010 match almost identically with the August 2009 version. I did notice that “Knowledge Management” was removed from the April 2010 document but they added “Performance Management” in its place.

  • There is a new version of the Microsoft CRM SDK coming in May 2010 (this month!). It will include lots of great new functionality such as:
    • An enhanced code generation tool called CrmSvcUtil.exe which generates .NET classes based on the unique schema and relational structure of each CRM database. Developers can then code against Microsoft Dynamics CRM APIs using these strongly-typed classes.
    • These generated classes simplify the creation of queries and optimizes returned data from both CRM Online and CRM on-premises. Queries that require data from related entities can now be simplified to a single line of code, where previously it required multiple lines of code.
    • Classes generated by CrmSvcUtil.exe enable developers to streamline integration and connectivity with 3rd party applications (mash-ups, portals, etc.) that need access to Dynamics CRM data through the CRM APIs
    • LINQ for Dynamics CRM translates a LINQ query expression into a CRM SDK Query. This introduces standardized and consistent patterns to easily query and update CRM data. LINQ is a Microsoft .NET Framework component that provides a standardized way to query across many different data sources. LINQ is a standard .NET universal query mechanism that can be extended to support any type of data store.
    • A Portal Integration toolkit which provides a scenario-based set of resources for developers to improve portal integration efforts. This toolkit enables developers to create integration services between external portals and Dynamics CRM more efficiently.
    • Connectivity & Caching management which provides improved scalability and application efficiency for portal applications connecting to CRM Online. Developers can now specify a single-line connection string to connect to the CRM API whether that is CRM Online, On-Premises or Partner Hosted.
    • The Portal Integration toolkit also provides sample code and guidance on how to best connect portals with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
    • Portal accelerators provide complete reference sample applications to get you up and running quickly.
Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011