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Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath

The Single Biggest Improvement in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

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Engineers no doubt spent hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours adding improvements to the newest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016. But what do I think my customers will feel is the single biggest improvement? The user navigation.

With the new navigation bar, it's easier and faster to find the information you need. When you click the Main Menu from the navigation bar, you get to your work areas, records, or other items with less scrolling and fewer clicks than before.

Why is this such a big deal? Let me share some history in screenshots.

Going back to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, there was a navigation pane that looked very similar to Microsoft Outlook. Everyone liked it.

So Microsoft decided to change it. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Microsoft introduced a new ribbon navigation. Let’s be honest, it was a disaster. Along the lines of Windows 8 level disaster for Dynamics CRM users.  All the functions were hidden, hard to find and required a lot of horizontal scrolling.

This defeated the main goal of a CRM system, which is to be easy to use. Even for salespeople!

Dynamics CRM 2013 Navigation

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 had the same ribbon navigation. But Microsoft must have been working on it behind the scenes because Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 had a new vertically stacked navigation structure.

Dynamics CRM 2015 update 1

BUT this was only available to Microsoft Dynamics Online customers. On premise customers had to wait until the recent release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016.

Dynamics CRM 2016 nav

Take a short video tour (less than one minute) of the new navigation

The new navigation has basically surfaced all the things that were under the primary ribbon categories, such as Sales.  When you click Sales, you get another drop-down ribbon of Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities.  You can see a thumbnail for contacts, a thumbnail for opportunities etc…   Everything on one screen, no more horizontal scrolling.  Users love that.

Anyone upgrading from older versions of Dynamics CRM will really appreciate this change. And new users of Dynamics CRM 2016 will see how easy it is navigate, without realizing the pain they missed in the last two versions.

Another nice bonus feature of the new navigation is the Recently Viewed Items button. With this tool, you can access recently viewed records, views, and even dashboards. Pin the items you use all the time to move them to the top of the list.

pin records

As long as we are talking about navigation, there is another cool new feature in Dynamics CRM 2016 that will be exciting to some companies. Users can now add a logo or change the color scheme of Dynamics CRM using themes. This can be done easily by the CRM administrator, without any coding.  It is a fun way for a company to “brand” their CRM system to match their business. That could be especially helpful for companies with outside sales reps or channel partners. For example, you will notice that Coho Winery has chosen a nice Merlot color for their navigation bar.

crm logo image

Watch a short video (2:45) about themes

More information: TechNet: Change the color scheme or add a logo to match your organization's brand

There are many great new features in Dynamics CRM 2016, check out the Dynamics CRM 2016 Release Preview Guide.

But in my opinion the new navigation in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 is a game changer and a great improvement that all users will appreciate.

If you are interested in learning more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, including a demo of the new navigation, contact AbleBridge.

By AbleBridge, Massachusetts Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner

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