Since Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 was launched in January of this year, we’ve had non-stop requests for information about how CRM 2011 works, how it is different than earlier versions, how it can be deployed either in the cloud or on premise and especially how it compares to other solutions like Salesforce.com, Sugar CRM, even Microsoft’s own Business Contact Manager.
Part of this high demand for new CRM solutions is because Microsoft has some extremely aggressive pricing offers ….like a $34/month per user for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online and $200 rebate/per user for new purchases of 15 licenses or more. These hot Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 deals are especially appealing to CFOs and owners of companies who have to carefully balance tight IT budgets against the urgent need of sales and marketing teams to get in the game of reaching their target customers by integrating traditional marketing campaigns with social media marketing. And Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is great at that (more later)!
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Release Schedule Changing and Other News from CRM User Group.
At the Microsoft Dynamics CRM User Group General Session we learned that the release schedule for CRM will be accelerating to an update every six to nine months for those that would like to take advantage of the enhancements to the application. The next releases are scheduled for the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012. Several other interesting items from the CRM User Group general session include:
The next releases will have enhancements to mobility for any device, more social collaborations capabilities, and optimizing business decision making capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
There is a Forrester Research paper coming out this month on the Total Impact of Dynamics CRM 2011 on companies utilizing on-premise or the online versions of the application. The study found some interesting statistics of how companies are benefiting from Dynamics CRM 2011: 50% sales efficiency gains, 1 FTE in service savings, $200k + savings in marketing, and 16+/hours/month IT productivity savings.
The Developers Guide to Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
CRM 2011 now allows for Fetch XML to be used for writing reports. Any Advanced View can be the basis for writing reports. Create an Advanced View then use the export to Fetch XML feature the results can then be used in the report design tool. Requirements are CRM 2011, BIDS 2008 and R2 is recommended, CRM 2011 Report Authoring Extensions, and CRM 2011 SDK.
Complex Business Process Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.
A new feature for CRM 2011 is DIALOGS. A DIALOG is an interactive form which can be launched from any record to facilitate information gathering, record creation, script/process adherence or it can be used to simplify complex forms! DIALOGS can be used to standardize processes, enforce repeatable processes, easily apply special handling of information for customers, and gather all the required information during prospecting in a conversational format.
Reasons to Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.
The new CRM Outlook Ad-In provides much of the same functionality of Outlook with the CRM records; creating email rules, marking emails for follow up, and creating tasks from emails. With CRM 2011 you also get:
Dashboards and Visualizations
Data Filtered Views
Native Integration to SharePoint
Multiple Forms - provides the ability to present the same form to multiple audiences differently.
Inline Visualizations - graphical representation of Advanced View which is dynamic and changes result set depending on which part of the visualization is selected.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data Management Best Practices.
CRM 2011 provides new functionality for handling the importing of data:
Multiple Excel spreadsheets can be placed into a zip file and imported all together.
All the fields to be imported into CRM do not need to have been created in CRM they can be created dynamically on the fly.
Export to Excel now allows data to be marked for reimport. Accounts as example could be exported and the Territory field updated in Excel then reimported into CRM.
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