Microsoft CRM: What's coming in the next release

Microsoft CRM: What's coming in the next release

Summary: Microsoft is poised to deliver new updates to its CRM Online and CRM on-premises offerings. Here's a list of the promised features.

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Microsoft has posted a preview as to what's going to be in the next version of its Dynamics CRM product.

The cloud version -- CRM Online -- is going to be first to get a number of new updates, sometime in the coming weeks. Microsoft will make those same updates, plus some additional features, available via an on-premises version of its CRM release. I believe (but am not totally sure) both of these updates are coming in Q4, based on a new post on the Dynamics CRM blog.

Microsoft execs said earlier this year that the CRM team is moving to a twice-yearly delivery schedule for both the CRM Online and CRM on-premises offerings.

From the October 19 CRM blog post:

"Microsoft Dynamics CRM is moving to a rapid innovation cadence where additional capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (both Online and on-premises) are delivered in releases targeted for the Spring (Q2) and Fall (Q4) of each calendar year. The first of these releases will be the Q4 2011 Service Update."

(The wording makes me uncertain whether the "Service Update" is a CRM Online only thing and the next on-premises update will be in spring 2012.)

Here's the roadmap slide from that post:

(click on slide to enlarge) According to this Microsoft roadmap slide, unified provisioning, billing and administration, as well as identity federation and in-region disaster recovery support are all coming to the online version only. The first three of those capabilities are all related to the integration of CRM Online with Office 365 (which is also happening before the end of this year, Microsoft officials have said).

New "activity feeds" -- which are based on Facebook and/or Salesforce Chatter's model (take your pick) are coming to both the online and on-premises versions of the next Dynamics CRM release, the blog post notes. Microsoft also is going to offer a Windows Phone version an activity feeds client as part of this update. (This is not a full CRM client for Windows Phone; it is just a feeds client.) New business-intelligence capabilities and enhanced data-cleansing functionality are also coming to both the online and on-premises releases, Microsoft officials blogged.

Microsoft has posted to the Web a CRM Q4 release preview guide that goes into detail on all of these features.

Update (October 29): The Q4 CRM update was released on October 25 for both online and on-premises Dynamics CRM users. On-premises users can download the Q4 release from the Microsoft Download Center.

Topics: Software, Enterprise Software, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Microsoft CRM: What's coming in the next release

    Only at Microsoft would "rapid innovation cadence" translate to twice a year updates.
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  • I really like CRM

    ...but I wish they had a small-to-med business package that worked the same way but also did real invoicing and accounting. Small Business Accounting was a good product, but they never released it outside of the US until about the last year when they put it out in the UK. In Canada, the only two real accounting package for small business are Simply Accounting (which was designed by accountants for accountants, not every day users that need integrated accounting and point-of-sale), and Quickbooks, which is almost as complicated, and has several quirks that I find completely frustrating.

    I've since switched to Invoice2go just for the simplicity. It won't do payroll, but it gets point-of-sale and invoicing done fast. It'd be nice to have some easier-to-use customer lead tracking integrated into a single package though. Why accounting companies haven't thought of making something like CRM+Great Plains for small businesses is beyond me. I know lots of clients that want those capabilities but can't afford it.
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  • RE: Microsoft CRM: What's coming in the next release

    I actually wanted to use Dynamics as CRM but could not do so as I am a really, really, small business of personalizing items and just need one seat and could not get just one-minimum was 3. I do use office small business and host my website with them as well as email, etc and wonder when it gets ported to 365 whether there will be opportunity to use CRM with it. I looked at all the other ones and came to conclusion ZOHO was best bet. Although really, really small I have a pretty complicated business as I have to have multiple contacts with individual customers to tie down the parameters of the job, then have to create a task, manufature item, invoice, mail, followup etc. I have a few thousand different parts in inventory that have to be kept up with also So my question is: when my Office Small Buisiness is ported to 365, will I be able to also get to be able to buy Dynamics.
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    • Yes you can

      @brickengraver

      Dynamics CRM Online is available here:

      http://crm.dynamics.com/en-us/trial-overview

      You can use the trial for 30 days (this is the US page, so you might have to check for your regional availability). After that, it's not cheap, at $44/user/month. Thing is, if you really need that deep of a customer relationship, you probably have an efficient-enough business to warrant paying that. CRM doesn't actually do accounting though - it just keeps records of when you invoiced. If it did, I would pay that price in a minute. I love the interface and the capabilities, except for the lack of accounting.
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