The 2012 version of the Microsoft CRM partner event eXtreme CRM just wrapped up and the buzz-worthy highlight was the announcement of the CRM future roadmap in advance of the formal Statement of Direction.
The roadmap session was led by Craig Dewar, Director of Microsoft CRM Product Management. The discussed releases were codenamed Polaris (2012 Q4) and Orion (2013 Q2). Here are some of the nuggets:
Polaris (2012 Q4)
Cross-browser compatibility. This was delayed from a previous announcement in July 2012 due to quality issues. This will be available on-premises and online. The other features of the Polaris release will be online only.
Flat, process-driven UI. This will go further to clean-up the current UI that is sometimes considered busy. Pop-up windows will become less prevalent and touch optimization will be improved. Also, defined business process will be visible on the header.
Deeper integration with Microsoft technologies. Bing map integration will ship out of the box with CRM.
Click-to-Call. Deeper integration with Lync and Skype.
Orion (2013 Q2)
Windows 8 UI. Not just ‘flat UI’ but as Dewar explained, “…a very tailored look,” that will cross devices.
Social upgrade. Deeper Yammer integration planned. Yammer released an integration with Activity Feeds in CRM before the Microsoft’s purchase announcement. The Orion Yammer integration presumes to go deeper, but no details were revealed.
Enhanced Office compatibility. Not just integration as we know it today, but a deeper app + application model based on Microsoft’s coming Office 2015 release and Agave web extensions. Eric Boocock, Senior Technical Product Manager, explained that developers will be able to add apps inside of Office clients, including Microsoft Outlook. This could also mean being able to ‘Track in CRM’ without having to use the Outlook client.