I was spending a little more time in the R8 beta release today (not to be confused with Update Rollup 8, UR 8), and thought I would list out some of the exciting features we can look forward to. So here goes:
For CRM OnPremise installations (CRM Online coming later) we will be able to download PowerPivot workbooks from the Dynamics Marketplace.
- This puts Business Intelligence directly into the hands of the end users
- Ability to upload the workbook to SharePoint and build new workbooks on top of it
- Leverage the SharePoint reporting capabilities to include animated reporting with some simple drag and drop technology
- Yes, that’s correct, animated reported!
- PowerView will also become more of a player in this release to include the ability to surface the SharePoint Reports in CRM leveraging a custom entity
- Some features will require SQL 2012
- Custom Workflows in CRM Online
- Requirements will be the same as those that exist today in relationship to CRM Online Plug-ins
- Ability to call out to external web sites and back into the SDK
- Use Plug-in registration tool to register custom workflows
- Insurance & HealthCare
- Use for demos, starter solutions for vertical markets, validate CRM for the vertical
- Includes Vertical relevant sample data, dashboards, entities, demo scripts, demo videos and more
- Quick Find and Retrieve Multiple
- Upgrade Performance
- 2011 already had significant improvement in this area as compared to the 3.0 to 4.0 upgrade.
- Additionally improvements to this area should make this impressive
- Improved Performance for Published Metadata
- Network related enhancements
- Scale or Large Data enhancements
- Ability to disable caching per machine
- Smarter meta data caching
- Enhanced Outlook stability
- Improved folder load times
Read Optimized Forms (RO Form)
- Changes required for cross browser support
- Visibility for Images
- Activity Feeds
- More intelligent script detection
- Open Note attachments
Cross Browser Support
- Does not mean all features and functions will work in all browsers
- Browser functionality will be dependent on not only browser version but also the Operating System
- In most cases, the Settings & Admin areas are only supported in IE browsers.
and in the event that was not enough..
- A new browser agnostic Mobile CRM (CWR feature set)
- Activity Feed Enhancements
- Ability to Like and Unlike posts and create filters
- SQL Server 2012 Support
- CRM Online Data Center Certifications
- Portal Framework Enhancements
Hopefully this is enough to get you excited about the feature set included in the upcoming release. I’m sure we will all be quite busy in the very near future taking it all in.
Does your company have a complex inventory model with product and service dependencies that have corresponding business rules, dependencies or other characteristics that are challenging to remember or change? Do your Opportunities, Quotes and Orders require your users to add several products and / or services from product inventory? If so, I highly recommend that you take a look at Experlogix .
As your CRM users are probably aware, it can take up to 5 mouse clicks to add an inventory line item to an Opportunity, Quote or Order. If users need to add 10 items, that equates to 50 mouse clicks or more, plus searching through inventory, remembering to add dependent items, doing manual calculations to identify correct quantities, etc. What if I told you that your users could generate that same Opportunity or Quote in just 5 clicks or less with no manual calculations required, and users do not have to remember to add the inventory dependencies. Have I captured your attention? If so, then read on because that is exactly what this product did for the company where I previously worked.
VisionAIR is a software development company for the Public Safety marketplace. Their Opportunities and Quotes can often be complex due to product / service dependencies and the various calculations required. Order related CRM records (Opportunities, Quotes, etc.) can contain upward of 50 line items and for more than a year their Sales Team had to manually add all those line items to Opportunity records. Yes, it is true, the Sales Team generated those records, remembered the line items needed and submitted their quotes for review prior to delivery so calculations could be checked, inventory added if needed, etc. As you can imagine it was a time intensive task.
Then along came Experlogix and their Sales Staff now generate the same record in CRM with sometimes 10 or less mouse clicks. Yes, it’s true, from potentially 250 mouse clicks down to 10 ish. Talk about a nice return on investment, happy users, reliable calculations, more time available to do what Sales people do best, Sell.
Add to the above, a company whose products are Microsoft Certified, fully integrated with Dynamics applications, and you have a winning combination. Oh and one more thing, the product support team is responsive and provides outstanding service.
You may be wondering why I took a few minutes to blog about Experlogix. My reason is that I’ve seen Experlogix in action. I’ve witnessed times where Experlogix made the difference and was a critical part of the CRM implementation project success. Over the years, I’ve heard stories from other companies who struggle with generating Opportunities and Quotes from CRM so I wanted to share this information in the event that it might help if you are faced with similar challenges.
Need help improving staff productivity, take the effort out of generating Opportunities, Quotes, Orders and / or Service Contracts, give time back to your Sales and Finance team and significantly reduce the possibility of errors on sale’s related deliverables then Experlogix is worth a look.
Online, Offline, Portals
Update Rollup 5 is available. Update Rollup 5 is the first release for Microsoft where additional capabilities and features for Dynamics CRM (both Online and On-premises) will be delivered. This Update Release is a part of a new program where Microsoft plans to deliver new functionality in two releases a year. See what Brad Wilson, General Manager of Microsoft CRM has to say about this release. The next release of this type is targeted for the the Spring (Q2) of 2012 with another to follow in the Fall (Q4) 2012.
There are some good fixes and terrific features included in UR 5 that you might want or need. However, before applying UR 5 to your production environment, you will want to note that once installed, you can not uninstall.
As with all Updates, you should first apply this Update to a test environment, after backing up your database, and fully testing it before installing to production. Also, before applying to production, ensure that you create a restore point for your production environment to include database, reporting server, and all application or other servers that are part of your production environment. This is even more important for Update Rollup 5 as once installed it can not be uninstalled. The only remedy for removing Update Rollup 5 is to restore to a point in time prior to when the Update was installed.
As always, Update Rollup 5 is a cumulative update which means it includes Update Rollup 1, 2, 3 and 4. Here are a few highlights of the release:
- New Business Intelligence Capabilities
- multi-series charts
- multiple category charts
- new chart types
- Dialogs & Workflow Enhancements
- lookup and date field types supported for Dialogs
- dynamic record hyperlinks for Workflows & Dialogs
- Enhanced Data Management
- Audit User Access
- Ignore null values in duplicate detection
- Exclude inactive records in duplicate detection
- CRM Outlook Client Enhancements
- reading pane improvements to include hyperlinks to CRM records, compose e-mail and Lync presence
- Performance Enhancements to E-mail Tracking
- Activity Feeds
- enable a user to follow important activities related to people, accounts, contacts, leads, sales deals (opportunities) and more
- new CRM Online Organizations will come with the Activity Feeds installed. New CRM OnPremise installations that have Update Rollup 5 included in the server download package will also come with Activity Feeds installed. Existing CRM Online and OnPremise installations need to download the Activity Feed solution from the Dynamics Marketplace and import it.
- The CRM Server downloads will be updated to include Update Rollup 5. If you are downloading the package, from this point forward, you do not have to apply Update Rollup 5 after the installation.
- CRM Online customers will have Update Rollup 5 applied to their environment by no later than October 25, 2011.
- Update Rollup 5 will be available on Windows Update service on November 8, 2011. You should be able to use the Windows Update service to find and install the update on or after that date.
- You must have Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 build 5.0.9688.583 before installing UR 5
- CRM Outlook Client view fields display date and time even though only date is configured to display
- Selecting F5 to refresh a record view creates a new record rather than displaying the current record with updated data
- Custom Option Sets do not display as expected when creating dialogs and attempting to assign values from the Option Set
- Workflows do not behave as expected when upgrading from CRM 4 to CRM 2011
- Some navigation changes cause IE 9 to crash or fail to perform as expected
- Time stamps on reports are one-hour behind the expected time
- Time zones and daylight savings time are incorrect for multiple countries
Visit the November 2011 Service Update site to learn more about the features included in Update Rollup 5. You can also register and attend the Dynamics CRM 2011 Online “Ask the Experts – New features in Update Rollup 5” session planned for November 1st.