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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta Testing – Feedback So Far

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The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (officially called Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011) is currently in beta release. Concentrix is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 beta testing partner, so we’ve been trying out the product and putting it through its paces. We also have a number of customers trying out the beta version, and they’ve been feeding back their thoughts, comments and evaluations to us.

There are a lot of changes and new features in the product, and as you’d expect, different businesses and organisations use the product in different ways. Plus we have quite a mix of CRM experience within our beta testing clients: some have used Microsoft Dynamics CRM before (these particular beta-testing customers have used version 4), some have used other CRM software applications, while others are effectively new to CRM. But this means we’ve had a comprehensive range of feedback, we’ve had some interesting discussions and we’re really positive about the next release.

The cloud-based version of the product, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online, is due for general release in the UK later this year (the release date is currently looking like the end of November), while the on-premise version should be released in the first quarter of 2011.

So what are our testers saying about the Beta version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011? Well, so far the reports have been excellent.

Probably the most frequent comments relate to the ‘user friendliness’ of the software. For example, many people have mentioned how the incorporation of more Microsoft Office style functions, such as the navigation ribbon, increase ease of use and instant familiarity to experienced and new users alike. As well as the major new features and functions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, we’ve also had good feedback about the small adjustments. Although there are many minor improvements, which could almost go unnoticed if they were individual tweaks, they all act together and in combination significantly improve the product. To quote one of our testers “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the additional functionality and that the product’s more intuitive and easier to use – some of the changes are quite subtle but the overall effect is dramatic”.

We‘ve also had a lot of good feedback about the dashboards. Other CRM software manufacturers have included dashboards in their applications before Microsoft and it’s been a noticeable gap in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. But now, Microsoft has finally stepped up to the mark with dashboards and all our testers have been positive about them.

The main comments about dashboards have again been generally about ease of use –that they provide clear, tailored information in graphical format, while being straightforward for individual users to produce (to see what typical dashboards look like we’ve included some among a selection of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 screenshots on our website). Some users also mentioned that they liked the way they can quickly arrange graphics and information in a ‘drag and drop’ way to suit their individual needs.

Although nearly all the feedback has been great, on the negative side there have been one or two bugs uncovered. But that’s one of the key reasons for releasing Beta software – to make sure bugs and errors are identified and fixed before the product is put on general release to the market. Any bugs uncovered by Concentrix or our testers have been formally reported to Microsoft and will be fixed prior to release.

We’re looking forward to the general release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, and would also be interested to hear other opinions about the beta release. Have you tried the beta version? If so do you have any comments? If so, please get in touch.

By Concentrix Ltd: a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner in the UK

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