How to Reschedule your Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ‘13

Some customers of xRM have asked us about a peculiar message that recently appeared in their CRM Online organizations. If you are currently a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online subscriber, you too may have noticed this mysterious message notifying you when your organization’s upgrade to CRM Online Fall ’13 is currently scheduled. You will also receive email notifications from Microsoft 90, 30, 15, and 7 days before your scheduled upgrade date. You will not see this message or receive these emails, however, if you are currently evaluating a trial of CRM Online.

Determining your CRM Online upgrade date

To determine when your account is scheduled to be updated, log in to your CRM organization. You should see anUpdate scheduled message at the top of the screen (see below). “Your update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13 is now scheduled for….” In the screenshot below, the update is scheduled for 1/5/2014, but your date may fall between October and January.

How to Reschedule your Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ‘13

Rescheduling your CRM Online upgrade date

Clicking the “Learn More” button will allow you to access the page from which you can reschedule your upgrade. The page provides you with two links: “Reschedule update” and “About this update” (see below).

How to Reschedule your Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ‘13

Click the “Reschedule update” link. You are now asked to pick a Preferred Date and Time (see below). Select a date and time frame when you would like the upgrade to take place. You will also be asked to choose an Alternate Date and Time that is at least 7 days after your preferred date.

How to Reschedule your Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ‘13

Once you click “Ok”, your upgrade date is successfully rescheduled.

Why delay the upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Fall ’13 offers some significant upgrades from CRM Online 2011. These upgrades include a new process-driven, simplified user interface, expanded mobility functionality, Yammer and Skype integration, and more.

With these new features, why would anyone want to delay the upgrade? There are two main reasons. First, CRM Online Fall ’13 has a new user interface that differs substantially in look and feel from the UI in CRM Online 2011. You may want to educate your users about the changes that new version will bring and train them to use the new UI. Second, you may have solutions developed by independent software vendors (ISVs) or custom code that you developed yourself that may not be immediately compatible with CRM Online Fall ’13. ISVs received the new version recently, and are likely working feverishly to update their products. If you are dependent on one or more of these solutions, you may want to delay the upgrade until the ISVs certify that the solutions are ready to work with the new version of CRM Online. You will also want to make sure that any custom code you have installed is also compatible. Work with the developers of your custom code to determine its compatibility. You will want to reschedule your upgrade date to give your team enough time to update your code and test it before Microsoft upgrades your CRM organization.

If you need help transitioning your organization to CRM Online Fall ’13, please visit www.xrm.com. Our 10-hour Prepaid Consulting blocks offer an affordable and convenient way for companies to leverage our CRM expertise.

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Microsoft Announces Pricing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ‘13

In a surprising move, Microsoft has abandoned the one-price-fits-all strategy for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online that it has embraced since the service debuted in 2008. Gone is the simple $44 per user, per month rate. In its place is a three-tiered pricing strategy designed to give CRM users more options and make Dynamics CRM Online more flexible. Microsoft will offer the three new licenses (at $15, $30, and $65 price points) beginning around October 2013 with the rollout of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13.

The new pricing structure is part of a major redesign of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product line for 2013. Previously codenamed “Orion” (now deprecated), the official product names are “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13” for the online version hosted by Microsoft, and “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013” for the on-premises and partner-hosted versions. This redesign includes a shift to a “result-driven user interface,” as well as MarketingPilot integration, Yammer integration, and Netbreeze integration. Crucially, the 2013 release will also feature vastly improved mobile CRM functionality at no additional cost!

Here is how Microsoft describes the three licenses that it is introducing in the fall:

Professional ($65*) For the core CRM users, who need the full capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM including sales force automation as well as marketing and customer care. We believe most users will find this license best fits their needs.

Basic ($30*) For sales, service and marketing users who need to manage accounts, contacts, leads, cases and access custom applications as well as for business analysts who require reporting capabilities.

Essential ($15*) For light-weight users who need to access custom applications developed in house or by our vast network of partners.

(*) CRM Online list price shown per user per month in USD, actual pricing might vary by geography. Other fees may apply for add-on services such as additional storage, testing and production instances. Prices are exclusive of any fees you may incur to procure Internet connectivity.

Source: http://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/crmconnection/archive/2013/07/08/introducing-a-more-flexible-and-personal-way-to-buy-microsoft-dynamics-crm-online.aspx#.Udr6mzvqlrU

The game plan that Microsoft is employing appears to be to match the feature set of Salesforce.com while also providing outstanding value. It is clear that Microsoft intends for the Professional license ($65) to go toe-to-toe with Salesforce.com Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud. The Basic license ($30), meanwhile, provides the core features of a modern CRM system. You are essentially getting everything that the current Dynamics CRM Online provides, for $14 less per month (CRM Online is currently $44). Finally, the Essential license ($15) provides a lightweight license to leverage as a platform for custom line-of-business applications. Microsoft has stated that companies can mix and match the three license types within the same organization, providing a lot of flexibility and value.

At xRM, we are looking forward to the upcoming release of Dynamics CRM, and we think that the new pricing licensing options should benefit many businesses.

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Connections in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, a new feature called Connections adds a layer to records organization, allowing users to connect records in an intuitive manner. Connections gives users insight into their company’s records in Dynamics CRM 2011 at a glance. A user can open any record and quickly identify relationships or a hierarchy by looking at that record’s Connections with other records. Arming users with rapid insight into their company’s records propels them to work more efficiently and effectively.

Here’s a little history: In Dynamics CRM 4.0, a feature known as Relationships allowed users to link Account, Contact, and Opportunity records. Relationships were handy but were limited to records of these three entities. In Dynamics CRM 2011, this theme is extended to all entities, including user-added custom entities, and is made both more powerful and easier to use. Rather than retool how Relationships work in Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft added a new feature called Connections to implement the improvement. To smooth the upgrade process, Relationships created in Dynamics CRM 4.0 are not lost and are still supported in Dynamics CRM 2011, however, no new Relationships can be added in Dynamics CRM 2011. Everyone will be able to add new Connections instead.

Another new, related feature is called Connection Roles. Connection Roles can be added whenever a Connection is created in Dynamics CRM 2011. A Connection Role describes the part one record plays in relation to another within that Connection. For example, a user could connect a Contact with an Account and at the same time indicate that the Account is the employer of the Contact by giving it an “Employer” Connection Role. Dynamics CRM 2011 comes with a built-in list of Connection Roles to choose, including Employer, Influencer, Decision Maker, Stakeholder, etc. System Administrators can create new Connection Role types as needed to augment the built-in list. Some Connection Roles are matched in pairs and are called Matched Connection Roles. This automates some of the work. For example, if a user connects a Contact and an Account and gives the Account a Connection Role of “Employer”, the Contact is automatically given a Connection Role of “Employee” because “Employer” and “Employee” are Matched Connection Roles. You’ll see this again in action in the example outlined below.

Creating a Connection is a simple process. From any open record, in this example the Contact record “Darren Parker (sample)”, click Connect from the Collaborate section of the Ribbon. (See below.)

microsoft dynamics crm 2011 connections

The Connection form will appear with the current record indicated at the top. (See below.) Choose the other record under Connect To by clicking the magnifying glass next to the Name field to look up the other record. Give the other record a Connection Role by clicking the magnifying glass next to the As this role field and choosing a Connection Role. In this example, the other record, “Variety Store (sample),” is an Account connected to Darren’s record with a Connection Role of Employer, indicating that Variety Store is Darren’s employer. Because Employer and Employee are Matched Connection Roles, Dynamics CRM 2011 can also immediately set Darren’s role as Employee, as seen in the bottom of the form.

Tip: To avoid getting turned around, think of the top Connection Role as describing how the current record “sees” the other record. You can also mentally replace the text “As this role” with “is my”, so that the above reads “Variety Store is my Employer”.

Tip: When connecting an open record to yourself (to your own User record) there is a shortcut so you don’t have to look yourself up. Instead of clicking Connect (as in the first screen shot above), click the small arrow beneath Connect and then click To Me. Your user record will be preloaded in the Connection form when it opens.

Tip: You can alternatively set the bottom Connection Role instead of the top one. This is handy for setting a non-matched Connection Role when you are in the “wrong” record, such as when setting yourself as Account Manager when you are in your User record instead of the chosen Account record.

xRM.com provides integrated business solutions incorporating Microsoft Dynamics CRM and other technologies in the Microsoft application and server stack. We offer CRM training to end users and system customizers on making the most of new features such as Connections and Connection Roles in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

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