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Crestwood Associates

Three Things to Get Excited About in CRM 2011 (aka CRM 5)!

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With the tremendous success achieved by Dynamics CRM, many end users and partners alike are anxiously looking forward to the next release of CRM.  CRM 2011 (also known as CRM 5) is expected to be released near the end of the 2010 calendar year, with beta versions available in September 2010.

The buzz coming from various sources is that there is a lot to get excited about.  It appears that Microsoft intends to build on some of their biggest past successes with this as well as other business solutions in their software portfolio.  Three of the things it appears you can count on being enhanced in this release are:

  1. Better User Interface – Dynamics CRM will incorporate the now widely used Ribbon Interface.  This interface was first introduced in releases of Microsoft Office and followed by releases of Microsoft’s leading ERP for the mid-market – Dynamics GP.  The inclusion of this interface in CRM leads to a couple of distinct advantages.  First, by having the same interface in almost all of the Microsoft critical business applications, it greatly reduces the learning curve for all new users going forward.  And second, the interface is truly a more efficient method of doing many tasks.  Although originally there was some push-back by users more comfortable with their old interface, the consensus after a bit of use is that this UI is a significant improvement over its predecessor.
  2. Dashboards – One of the more popular (and flashier) aspects of CRM 4 has been the dashboarding abilities.  These dashboard type graphical reports were mostly incorporated in the free Accelerators add-ons, such as the ever popular sales opportunity “funnel” graph that is part of the Analytics Accelerator.  Currently, these dashboards are really SQL Reporting Services Reports.  But seeing the popularity of this visual data representation, expect the next version of CRM to be able to generate more powerful dashboards without having to generate SSRS reports.
  3. Enhanced xRM  - One of the “bonus” benefits of Dynamics CRM, in addition to providing a robust out-of-the-box CRM solution, is that it can and often is used as a development environment (see my previous blogs – The Lovely Bones).  This capability and phenomenon, dubbed xRM, has not been lost on Microsoft.  Expect the next version to contain a build out of features to enhance its use as a custom development environment, including in the cloud or hosted environment.

These new features as well as many others to be added will no doubt solidify Dynamic CRM as the leading CRM / development platform for mid market business needs.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have: Rick Feterick, Feterick & Associates, Inc  847-795-8200 x203 or rfeterick@feterick.com.

Submitted by Feterick & Associates, Inc – a Chicago area Dynamics CRM partner, Illinois Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

2 Responses to “Three Things to Get Excited About in CRM 2011 (aka CRM 5)!”

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