It’s been a busy year for those of us associated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With the feature releases, Update Rollups, growing customer base, fantastic Gartner and Forrester reviews it’s clear why Microsoft Dynamics CRM is still the software of choice.
Sometimes it feels like there’s too much to keep track of with all of the software updates and changes. It’s also easy to forget that those who don’t live and breathe CRM software may be trying to find information on how to best utilize this software for their organization and may not know where to look.
So I wanted to take a moment to express why I believe strongly in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution and highlight some of the key functionality that may benefit your organization. Along the way hopefully I can convince those of you on the fence why choosing, or upgrading to, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a great choice.
Dynamics CRM 2011 Current Capabilities – Although these few items are not the only pieces of functionality that differ from version 4.0 to version 2011, they are some of my favorite capabilities and what I consider to be the most important for business today.
Flexibility to Access Dynamics CRM Online or On-Premise –
Depending on an organization’s size and business needs, companies can choose whether to implement Dynamics CRM On-Premise or access Dynamics CRM Online (a.k.a. the “Cloud”). This option truly allows small and large organizations alike to take advantage of the immense capabilities Dynamics CRM has to offer. Being a Microsoft partner and Dynamics CRM users ourselves, we use the online version and we love it!
Better Outlook Client Integration –
Although it’s not a brand new functionality, the 2011 version is much more seamless and has more advanced capabilities than the 4.0 version.
Activity Feed Solution -
This functionality is new to the 2011 version and is not highly documented yet. Basically, it’s an event driven view of changes to your Dynamics CRM data of the items you define as important to your organization, and provides for more effective internal communications. Richard Knudson wrote a great blog regarding this feature that explores it in more detail.
New Capabilities and Interfaces – Although an official Q4 2012 Release Preview Guide hasn’t been published yet, below is an overview of some of the user specific areas that were published in the original Q2 2012 Release Preview Guide. With exception to the mobility and cross browser functionality, it still can be a bit confusing which capabilities have been released in previous rollups and which are still to come, but the point is this: New functionality is either already here or is coming, so don’t miss out.
Dynamics CRM Anywhere – These enhancements are the most important and provide the flexibility to use MS Dynamics CRM through the most popular web browsers on PC and MAC computers.
- MS Dynamics CRM Mobile – MS is offering a new mobile license option that allows users to access Dynamics CRM from up to three different mobile devices. The license fee is $30.00 per user and is in addition to the regular Dynamics CRM license fee; however, it is a significant enhancement that allows key users to access Dynamics CRM anywhere, anytime.
- Browser Flexibility – Provides the ability for end users to access the Dynamics CRM Web Client across multiple web browsers, instead of just Internet Explorer. The new browser options include Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. The following diagram shows the browser versions supported by each device.
Rapid View Forms – This functionality is already available for users on the latest Update Rollup. It is a read only form that loads much faster than an editable form. The user can switch to an editable version of the form with a single click.
Enhanced Social – This refers to enhancements to the already existing and previously mentioned Activity Feed functionality in Dynamics CRM. Once the new capabilities are released users will be able to filter posts that mention them, posts relating to types of records they follow, and also filter posts based on data views configured in Dynamics CRM.
Industry Solution Templates – Simply put, these are preconfigured solution templates that are geared towards specific industries. Below is a list of industry templates that will be released first:
- Life annuity Insurance Sales – Designed specifically for insurance agents, brokers, claims managers, underwriters, and customer service personnel
- Non-Profit – Provides the capability to manage constituents and donors; plus tracking for donations, pledges, and volunteer hours
- Health Plan Sales – Demonstrates how health plans can easily move their marketing and sales processes online to manage their customer value lifecycle
- Wealth Management – Shows how financial organizations can attain greater insight across the household
Portal Framework Enhancements – These are enhancements to the framework that powers the customer and partner portals, which connect to MS Dynamics CRM, Online, and On-Premise. These portals provide a flexible web framework that will fit your customers, your business processes, and your infrastructure.
I hope this Microsoft Dynamics CRM key functionality overview gives a bit more insight on this tool, and how it can benefit your organization and business needs.
By xRM3 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner