Barcelona is one of the places in the world that is definitely on my travel list. Unfortunately, this year was not the year for me so I wasn’t able to attend Microsoft Convergence EMEA in person.
For those like me, who were not able to make the trek to Spain this year, we do have Virtual Convergence. Granted, it is not quite as good as being there because we don’t get to hang out will all our friends, meet new people, break bread and catch up, but at least we don’t miss out on any of the great Microsoft Dynamics content and information. So, let’s see what we have for the lineup this year.
We get things started with the Keynote session given by Microsoft Business Solutions, Executive Vice President, Kirill Tatarinov who was joined by Microsoft International, President, Jean-Philippe Courtois.
The Key note included discussion around the key drivers of change, Dynamics business momentum, value strategy, how the Dynamics line addresses and integrates to meet business needs, gets business connected, manages cost while growing revenue, compliance and more.
Following the keynote is a comprehensive list of sessions covering a variety of topics to include product deep dives, integration, social, and business leadership. The speaker line-up is just as impressive and includes individuals like Reuben Krippner (Principal Program Manager), Eric Boocock (Sr Technical Product Manager), Matthew Barbour (Program Manager), John Straumann (Dynamics CRM Product Marketing Manager), Richard Dickinson (Program Manager), Param Kahlon, (Product Management, Enterprise Software), Stephanie Dart (Sr. Product Marketing Manager) and many more.
Below is a brief overview of the session categories and content:
Business Leadership included several Dale Carnegie sessions to include; Developing Personal Leadership, Effective Communications, How to create Employee Engagement, Leading Across Generations, Managing Organizational Changes and Talent Management.
Cross Product placed emphasis on using the Connector to integrate Dynamics CRM with the other Dynamics Product line like Dynamics AX, and Dynamics NAV. There is also an overview of the Connector, using mobile with Dynamics AX and CRM and wraps up with strategies for managing complex Dynamics implementations.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes all things CRM:
- Integrating CRM into your business eco-system to include Cloud and On-Premise
- Business Process Management (Portable Business Logic, Business Process Flow) and a look at those in relationship to mobile CRM
- Learn how to leverage the application to improve sales effectiveness
- Tips & Tricks for out-of-the-box configuration that will help make your application powerful and effective and turn you into a CRM super hero
- Building & customizing mobile applications
- Understand social strategies, related best practices and tips and tricks for getting started
- Dive deeper into social technologies like Yammer, Twitter, Facebook, NetBreeze and learn how to use them in the context of “social listening”
- Get to know MarketingPilot
- Workflows, Dialogs and Processes
- Key Platform Enhancements
- Bob Stutz and Fred Studer explore ways of delivering amazing customer experiences
- First-hand experience of customers who are driving true business value from Dynamics CRM (operational efficiency and customer profitability)
- Microsoft’s CRM cloud vision for building the most secure and reliable cloud service offering for European customers.
- Mobility options
- Learn about the tools available to plan, monitor, analyze and optimize your deployment
- Understand the analytic options available like charting, dashboards, Power Pivot, Power View and others
- All things CRM Online pricing
- Server-side synchronization & the CRM Outlook Client
- Web client enhancements, support matrix, new controls, editable grid and extensibility options
- Top 10 solutions from the Dynamics CRM Marketplace
- Upgrade considerations
Given the combination of the content and speaker knowledge, I can honestly say that there is not one of the above sessions that I want to miss. I plan to carve out time over the next couple of weeks to view each one. How about you?
Today I found myself thinking back over the past several years about the progression of the Dynamics CRM product. I was one of the lucky people who actually implemented and supported CRM 1.2 for a company. We also implemented the BizTalk Connector on that project. It was all quite interesting and I have some fond memories. Needless to say, CRM 3 quickly followed 1.2, then came 4, 2011 and here we are with CRM 2013.
As I was taking the walk down memory lane, I tried to recall how I felt about the product changes from version to version. There actually wasn’t too much that I recall about using version 1.2 other than I was really glad when CRM 3 came along. Several enhancements came with CRM 3 to include SSRS, improved configuration and integration, etc. CRM 4 and 2011 followed, each with their own set of exciting new features; multi-tenancy, data import, SQL 2008, the Ribbon, reduced clicks, improved navigation, dialogs, improved workflows, SQL 2012 support and so much more. I recall several features that I was eagerly anticipating with each new version.
So here we are with Dynamics CRM 2013 and all I can say is WOW, look how far the product has come. Of all the versions, I can honestly say that the changes and features in this release make it the most exciting yet.
First we have a completely new and more intuitive User Interface that no longer relies on multiple open windows and is touch optimized. The new form lays a strong foundation for the many other new features and enhancements that include but are not limited to quick create forms, related entity in-form editing, mobility and tablet support, improved cross- browser experience, business process flow, synchronous workflows, business rules, actions, record level image support, server-side sync, integrated Bing maps, auto-save, Yammer, and more.
As we can see there is much to be excited about in this release. We have so many new tools to access and we are just beginning to understand and familiarize ourselves with the new capabilities available to us. This application is going to empower us in ways we don’t yet fully understand.
With the above as a background, one of the reasons I am excited about this release more so than others is because I think the Microsoft Product Team has set the stage for some really exciting things to come. What I’m seeing in CRM 2013 is quite different than what I saw in previous versions.
In previous versions I saw some great new and exciting features and enhancements. I see the same in CRM 2013 but I also see something additional. Something that was not as obvious to me in past releases.
I now, much more clearly than in the past, see the foundation for a truly visionary product. A product that is used by everyone and without limitation or regard for device or browser, is easily configured to present the information needed based on an individual’s role and responsibility, a go everywhere, access anytime wealth of information to more intelligently interact with clients, prospects and team members, and one that is moving the configuration and power of the application into the hands of the business analyst, system customizers and administrators while maintaining and improving the extensibility of the platform for developers.
This is why I am so very excited about Dynamics CRM 2013. I am excited because we now have a story to tell that I believe is unique to this CRM product. I am not aware of any other CRM product that has the choice of OnPremise or Cloud, deep and efficient Office product integration, easy to use configuration tools that drive business process / rules, automation and configuration into the hands of the business analysts and system administrators, device and browser agnostic while providing an architecture for extensibility to meet any and all needs regardless of the vertical. To add to that, this is only the beginning. Things are about to get crazy exciting.