Like many, we at xRM have eagerly anticipated the arrival of the newest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online since Microsoft formally announced it in July. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13 is finally here, and we’re excited!
The CRM Online Fall ’13 release is a dramatic departure from traditional CRM applications. Microsoft has reimagined the way that CRM functions and how users interact with it. CRM applications have traditionally been form-based tools that allowed their users to access information about their customers. With this release of CRM Online, Microsoft has switched the focus of CRM from accessing information to achieving outcomes, such as a sale, with its new process-driven approach.
The navigation paradigm has completely changed. Microsoft has removed the navigation window and links that used to appear on the left-hand side of the screen as well as the context-sensitive ribbon that used to appear at the top of the screen. The rationale behind this major change was to free up screen real estate that could be better used to display important information about your records. The UI is now much flatter than it used to be, but all of the different areas and functions of Dynamics CRM are still present. The change allows Microsoft to deliver a much more consistent experience across devices than it could with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011. It also makes it easier for new users find what they are looking for. This change should also make it quicker for seasoned Dynamics CRM users to reach functions and records that they need as well, once they get used to the change.
Other major changes include increased mobility and collaboration features. CRM Online now comes with better mobile functionality at no extra charge. Native apps for iPad and Windows 8 tablets will be released probably by the end of October. You can see from the user interface of CRM Online Fall ’13 that the application was designed with touch screens and mobile devices in mind from the beginning. Microsoft has also promised to release mobile clients for iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android devices in the near future, but no release date has been announced yet.
Microsoft has also made a major commitment to making collaboration easier and more efficient. CRM Online now features full Yammer integration, Activity Feeds, and Lync presence. It is now easier for colleagues to communicate about records within CRM. The advantages of this approach become clear when you have multiple people invested in a particular client or case. Conversations centered on making a sale or solving a customer service case are recorded and accessible within CRM, which keeps everyone that is invested in that particular sale, case, or whatever contact informed about what is happening.
It will take us a while to get used to the radically different appearance of CRM 2013, but we’re excited about the new features, capabilities, and process-driven focus. We think that you will be too.
Read More about Microsoft Dynamics CRM Fall ‘13
If you are not ready to upgrade your CRM Online account to the Fall ’13 release, read our post on rescheduling your CRM Online upgrade. The latest upgrade date has been extended until 2/15/14.