Hot off the presses this morning, Microsoft announced the details about the next service update (release) of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. I have reviewed the details, and I am here to say this is BIG TIME! The next update doesn’t have an official name yet so let’s just call it the H2 2012 update for now. You can get more details in the updated Statement of Direction.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile
Hallelujah! Microsoft will finally offer a proper mobile solution. Sure you have always had Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile Express, but that didn’t quite work for all customers. Fortunately, now you have the option to upgrade.
- Supports all major mobile platforms - iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phone 7. Yes you read that right, support for non-Microsoft devices!
- Works with both on-premise and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online deployments
- License allows a user to connect up to three devices (so I can have an iPad and a Windows Phone 7 connected)
- Works offline
- Cloud subscription – list price of $30/per user per month
Multi-Browser Support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
If the news that Microsoft was going support non-MSFT mobile devices wasn’t enough to knock your socks off, you had better sit down. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will support non-Internet Explorer Web browsers! Here are the details:
- Firefox (Version 6+) on Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP / Mac OS-X and iOS 5.x
- Chrome (Version 13.x) on Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
- Safari (Version 5.1.1+) on Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP / iPad 2 (iOS 5.x)
- Internet Explorer (Version 7.x+) on Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
The only minor wrinkle to the multi-browser support is that the administration pages (assuming that means system configuration, etc.) will still require Internet Explorer but that’s no big deal.
Activity Feed Enhancements
Microsoft is continuing to invest in the enterprise social networking space by adding new features to the Activity Feeds module they first released in November 2011. These enhancements include:
- Like and Dislike (Dislike? Really? Even Facebook doesn’t have that :))
- Filter to just show your @ mentions
- Filter based on the types of records you follow
- Filter on record views
- Updated mobile app for Windows Phone 7.5
SQL Server 2012
This one is pretty obvious and you might be tempted to think this is just an infrastructure benefit. However, SQL Server 2012 actually offers the potential for cool new reporting options through the new Power View tools. If you have not seen Power View in SQL Server 2012 yet, check it out right away…it’s impressive! The H2 2012 update will include some pre-built PowerPivot models and PowerView reports to help you get started.
Read Optimized User Interface
This is a neat new option that allows users to open CRM records in a light-weight read-only form. By doing so, users will see significant improvements in form loading times because there’s less data to download. If the user then wants to edit a record, they just click the “Edit” button to access all of the fields. Even better, each user can specify their personal preference on whether they want the form to open in Read-Only or Edit mode by default.
Custom Workflow Assemblies in CRM Online
Currently, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online does not support custom workflow assemblies. HOWEVER, that gap will be fixed soon because the H2 2012 release will support custom workflow assemblies in an Online deployment.
Additional Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Certifications
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online datacenter has been going through auditing and certification for many of the industry standard certifications that customers request. The H2 2012 update will be compliant with these certs:
- Safe Harbor
- ISO 27001, SAS70 Type II, SOX
- Data Processing Agreement (DPA)
- EU Model Clauses
- HIPPAA / BAA
- SSAE SOC1 Type II
Last but not least, Microsoft will offer some industry specific templates to help ramp up customers and partners. We would suggest that you use these for evaluation purposes only, they aren’t ready for customers to drop in and get started using immediately in our opinion. The industry templates include: non-profit, wealth management, health plan sales, and relationship management for health.
Overall, it’s great to see the continued investment into Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I am also proud of the Microsoft CRM product team by sticking to continual updates every 6 months (versus the old model of updates once every 3 years).