Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release Arrives

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release has arrived for both CRM 2013 and CRM Online customers. The Spring ’14 Release brings a number of enhancements to Dynamics CRM, providing dramatically improved marketing automation, social, and customer service capabilities, as well as platform enhancements. Some of these enhancements are included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional license, while others require the purchase of the new Enterprise license or additional services.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketing

One of the most prominent changes bought by this release is the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Among the features of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing are a drag-and-drop visual Campaign Designer, lead lifecycle management, vastly improved email marketing, Power BI for marketing, and an improved Sales & Marketing Connector.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is available as part of a new license level called Enterprise, which is priced at $200 per user, per month, and as a stand-alone product for $125 per user, per month. It can be added to your subscription through the Office 365 Administrative Portal.

Microsoft Social Listening

Social media have dramatically changed the way that consumers and companies interact with each other. Until now, Dynamics CRM has a lacked built-in social media listening and analytics. The Spring ’14 Release finally brings social media analytics to Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Social Listening allows users to track their brands and products across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, and forums. It also provides campaign management that provides insight into the effectiveness of marketing, sales, and service campaigns. Microsoft Social Listening also helps you identify influential voices, identify issues as they are developing, post alerts for key words, and get trend alerts.

Microsoft Social Listening is included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional license for organizations that have at least 10 Professional licenses. It can be added to your subscription through the Office 365 Administrative Portal. Social Listening is available as a stand-alone product for $100 per user, per month. It is also available as an add-on for on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Professional CAL customers with active Software Assurance for $20 per user, per month.

Unified Service Desk

Microsoft has made a huge commitment to improving users’ ability to provide excellent customer service. Foremost amongst this effort is the introduction of the Unified Service Desk. The Unified Service Desk allows service personnel to handle customer service requests across channels, including chat, voice, and email. It allows users to handle multiple customer sessions simultaneously and supports multiple applications per session, while also providing on-screen call scripting.

The Unified Service Desk is included as part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise license, which costs $200 per user, per month.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Enhancements

The Spring ’14 Release has also substantially improved case management, adding automated case-creation and routing rules, as well as failure and warning actions that execute if Service Level Agreements are not met on time. Users can also define and manage service entitlements and SLAs and create dynamic routing and queuing rules.

The Case form has also been updated. The revised Case form allows users to merge cases, view merged cases, view or add child cases, review entitlements, and add a timer that shows a running display of the time available in the SLA.

The Service enhancements are included at no additional cost for CRM Online Enterprise and Professional users.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales Enhancements

Sales has long been the strongest area of Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft continues to add even more value for sales users. In the Spring ’14 Release, the company has introduced Insights, which provides access to hordes of data, including company profiles, financials, industry profiles, social buzz, links to social media profiles, breaking news, and more, all from within CRM.

Insights is available (possibly for a limited time) for no additional charge to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional customers in the U.S. currently with a broader rollout coming later in 2014.

Parature

The Spring ’14 Release also integrates the multi-channel care customer, self-service features of Parature into Dynamics CRM. Parature provides mobile self-service, Facebook portal, real-time chat, and knowledgebase management features.

For a limited time, Microsoft Parature is available for $0 per user, per month for organizations that have purchased 10 or more Dynamics CRM Enterprise Online licenses. Overage charges may still apply for additional page views, storage, and other add-ons.

Platform Enhancements

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is more than just a CRM product, it is also a platform for building applications that meet unique business requirements. The Spring ’14 release includes a number of enhancements that reaffirm Microsoft’s commitment to Dynamics CRM as a powerful platform. These enhancements include Server-side synchronization, SharePoint Integration Enhancements, sandbox environments, and a new CRM Online Admin Center that helps administrators

How to Install the New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers can access the new Case Management features by opting-in to the features within CRM Online.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Listening subscriptions can be added via the Office 365 Administrative Portal.

On-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 customers should download and install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SP1.

Note that it is not possible to roll back the update once it is installed.

To add Parature customer care features, visit http://www.parature.com/customer-service-software/pricing/.

Download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release Preview Guide.

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