We just got our hands on the updated Microsoft Dynamics CRM Statement of Direction from Microsoft, and we wanted to share our thoughts on the document. The Statement of Direction (SoD) outlines the future direction of Microsoft Dynamics CRM over the short and longer term. If you remember, Microsoft last updated this document back in April 2010…so this May 2011 SoD release is a pretty big milestone. While the May 2011 SoD is just 7 pages long (short compared to the 20 page April 2010 update), it does contain some goodies.
Here’s our highlights from the document:
- Microsoft will remain committed to the “power of choice” allowing customers to deploy EITHER cloud-based and on-premise versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
- SOCIAL CRM! Yes of course social will be part of the future CRM roadmap. Some of the social and collaboration subpoints called out in the SoD include: micro-blogging, business activity feeds, and social intelligence.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM will continue to “harness and surface” the collaboration capabilities from Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Lync, and Microsoft Office. This is great to see the continued investment in making the Microsoft products work better together. While Microsoft’s Skype acquisition was too late breaking for this document, it wouldn’t surprise me to see some Skype-to-CRM integration in the future.
- Improved provisioning and evaluation of Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace solutions, nice!
- Improved reporting: additional charting, visualization and dashboarding capabilities. Who can argue with better, easier and sexier reporting?
- Cross-device support: while the SoD does not provide details about specific devices CRM will support (iPad and iPhone?!?), it does call out different form factors such as desktop, PC, laptop, tablet and phone.
- Multi-browser support: Microsoft Dynamics CRM will work on different web browsers by utilizing HTML5 (again no specifics about Chrome, Safari,etc.).
- Better support for enterprise organizations to run Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (as part of their IT infrastructure plus better on-boarding, admin and integration capabilities).
Of course this all sounds like GREAT new stuff and we can’t wait to get it! So we’re guessing the next question on your mind is when can customers expect to see new versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM? The SoD covers future release timing too:
- Instead of the traditional 3 years between major releases, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will change to a semi-annual release cycle (spring and fall).
- Microsoft will release an “automatic update” to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Q4 of calendar 2011. There will be a “scheduled update” to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Q2 of calendar 2012.
- As you would expect, automatic updates happen all at once while scheduled updates allow Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers to schedule their update within one year. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that scheduled updates will be larger in scope and complexity compared to automatic updates.
- Microsoft will release an “update” for the on-premise version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Q4 of calendar 2011. An “upgrade” of the on-premise version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be available in Q2 of calendar 2012.
- On-premise upgrades may incorporate significant Microsoft platform innovations (e.g. the next releases of Windows Server and desktop, .NET Framework, SQL Server, Office), while updates offer smaller scale new capabilities.
From a customer and partner perspective, I am really jazzed up about the semi-annual release cycles. It will be outstanding to get new features and capabilities more quickly. However from a book author perspective, I am slightly terrified! :)
Of course, you can download and read the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Statement of Direction from our website. Enjoy.