Some time between April and May of this year, Microsoft will roll out Dynamics CRM mobile clients and service simultaneously for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry devices.
The coming mobile components -- something some Windows Phone users have been asking about for years -- will be part of the Dynamics CRM Q2 2012 service update, Microsoft officials said on February 6. (February 6 is the day when Microsoft is releasing its preview guide for its next update, which Microsoft has committed to provide 60 to 90 days before a new update is available to on-premises and online users.)
All of the new mobile CRM releases will be ready at the same time and downloadable from their respective marketplaces on the same day, said Craig Dewar, Director of Product Management for Dynamics CRM.
Here's a Microsoft-supplied screen shot of what the Dynamics CRM app on the iPad will look like:
(click on the image above to enlarge)
The coming Dynamics CRM mobile clients/service starts at $30 per user, per month and supports the use of up to three devices per user. While this sounds pricey compared to the going rate for Office 365 and its component parts, it looks like it undercuts Salesforce's comparable mobile-client offering, which starts at $65 per user per month. (Salesforce also has a free Mobile Lite CRM client with limited capabilities and connectivity, as does Microsoft, which still offers Mobile Express for Dynamics CRM.)
In addition to adding mobile support to its platform, Microsoft also is stepping up its cross-browser support for Dynamics CRM users. With the Q2 update, users will have a choice of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari running on PCs, Macs and iPads. Here's a chart showing which versions will be supported on which platforms:
(click on table above to enlarge)
The Q2 update also will add more social capabilities, making Microsoft's social CRM components look and feel even more like Facebook- and/or Salesforce Chatter. Users will have the ability to like/unlike status updates on their Activity Feeds and get improved filtering capabilities.
Users of the on-premises version of the Q2 update also will have access to new Microsoft Excel Workbooks with pre-defined PowerPivot models and Power View Report templates to help them perform quick analyses in areas like product sales, customer demographics and sales pipelines. (Power View, a k a "Project Crescent," is a new self-service business-intelligence feature in SQL Server 2012, which is due to launch on March 7.) Microsoft plans to add support for these enterprise capbilities to Dynamics CRM, too, at some point in the future, officials said.
Microsoft officials said last year that the company planned to deliver quarterly updates (two major/two minor) to both its on-premises Dynamics CRM product and its hosted CRM Online one.
The Dynamics CRM unit isn't the only Microsoft division that is upping its cross-platform support. Microsoft already offers OneNote for the iPhone and iPad; a SkyDrive cloud-storage app for iPhone; a Lync client for Android; a Lync client for iPhone and Hotmail for Android. Company officials said late last year to expect even more mobile cross-platform app support from Microsoft in 2012, especially on Android devices.