Microsoft commits to delivering Windows 8 CRM app by mid-2013

Microsoft commits to delivering Windows 8 CRM app by mid-2013

Summary: A Windows 8 version of Microsoft's Dynamics CRM client is slated to arrive by mid-2013. Here are some concept shots of what it's likely to look like.

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Microsoft will deliver a Windows 8 version of its Dynamics CRM application by mid-2013, company officials said on November 1.

With today's announcement, Microsoft became the third major enterprise software vendor -- alongside SAP and Workday -- to commit to building a Metro-Style/Windows Store application for Windows 8 this week. (Neither SAP nor Workday committed to a delivery timeframe for their coming apps, as far as I know.)

Microsoft officials earlier this year shared some concept shots of what a Windows 8 version of one of its Dynamics AX ERP application might look like. Buried inside some documentation was a tentative delivery date of 2013/2014 for such a product.

On November 1, the Softies shared more screen shots, but this time of the coming Dynamics CRM client app for Windows 8. Here's a mock-up of the sales dashboard:

win8crm

Here's a look at how the sales-development process on a Windows 8 version of Dynamics CRM might appear to users:

crmwin8shot2

Windows 8 users will be able to view their contracts and social feeds in new ways with a Metro-style approach:

contactsincrmforwin8

Though these are only concept shots, it's interesting to see that Microsoft is further along in bringing Windows 8 versions of its enterprise apps to market than many expected. So far, the Softies have been pushing Windows 8 as a very consumer-centric product. The 10,000 or so Windows Store applications that currently exist (according to estimates by WinAppUpdate.com) reflect this focus, with the majority being games, entertainment and other consumer-style apps. Business apps for Windows 8 are still few and far between.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Windows

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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11 comments
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  • MS Dynamics products have been moving this way since around 2008.

    The last few versions of Dynamics AX, NAV, and GP have also been moving this way, in terms of how they work with dashboards and reporting technologies. We've been seeing this shift since the new interfaces introduced with Dynamics GP 10.

    Those of us working heavily in the BI and Analytics side of IT are actually quite excited to see where a lot of this transition is going. With Live Tiles and the reporting tools already embedded in the latest ERP/CRM systems, we're already looking to develop dashboards that will integrate directly into the OS, so they are front-and-centre for the users.

    There's always been a stark contrast between IT professionals that are technology-focused, and those that are business-process focused. This (the debate of whether the Metro interface has a place in business) is one place where you'll see that contrast in action.
    daftkey
    • daftkey you make some very interesting points

      So who wins the battle between the IT pro and the business - process focused groups?.

      To me W-8 seems to consumer foccused to relly work in a serious minded inviroment.
      Over and Out
      • If IT is managed properly...

        ..then it is the business-process focused groups that dictate IT strategy. Now this isn't always the case, but generally business technology follows business process.

        I think there are some uses for the Windows 8 interface (as mentioned above - one useful idea for the interface in getting information in front of managers quickly) though I do agree that for a lot of those "in the trenches", it will get in the way, at least in the short term until everyone adjusts.
        daftkey
      • Hi!

        Hello there!!!
        Loverock Davidson-
        • Dude...

          Dude, I've stuck up for you in the past when you've actually posted some reasonable (though maybe one-sided) comments. Don't make me regret it, okay?

          Let the Steven's of the world have their little piece of that island - trust me, you don't want it.
          daftkey
    • Contrast?

      I don't see a contrast i see a forced UI by microsoft nevermind if its more or less usable by business workers. If they were serious about tiles interface in business they would allow a transition to the tiles interface by leaving an option to disable it completely in lieu of the old interface.
      ammohunt
      • Not getting my point.

        I was referring to the general acceptance of the new UI by people who identify in one of the two groups of IT professionals I mentioned above. I'm more or less on the fence when it comes to whether the UI has a significant place in the business world (I can see its potential, but I can see it get in the way as well).

        It's obvious that it isn't going to go away though. So your choice is either be prepared to take Windows 7 as your long-term strategy (as most businesses will for the forseeable future - Windows 7 is quickly following in XP's footsteps), or learn to live with the new forced interface.

        Or option #3 - migrate your systems away from Windows (if you're a Windows shop). Unlike five or ten years ago, the idea of going 100% Microsoft-free is much more attainable than it was before.
        daftkey
  • More than just an interface

    I love seeing articles on CRM and Windows 8. We have been working with Windows 8 for the last 6 months. We started with looking at how the device is used and what makes it work. Example: Live Tiles and easy to navigate apps, shared contracts with the device etc.

    While the article does a great job of explain that people don't care about the data they care about the process. It does not cover how people will be drawn in to apps example live tiles draw them into the process, contracts with the device such as search, mapping location, and camera. All of these are features of Windows 8 that allow a robust and fluid app that focus on the process.

    I could go into lots of detail, but the main point is Windows 8 live tiles "entice" you into a given process. If I see a tile that says 8 new leads, I'm interested in going into that process. If I see a tile that says 2 colleagues commented on one of my opportunities I'm going to drill in and see what they said, if I see 2 of my leads were on the web site yesterday, I'm going to drill into the leads.

    This is very subtle concept, but live tiles entice people into the process.

    Windows 8 allows a fast and fluid interface. You can entice people into the sales, marketing and service process by presenting them information, not rows and columns or data.

    We are super excited about Windows 8 and what this will mean for driving value into the enterprise. There will be organizations that get it right away and will begin developing "apps" that support their business and there will be others that take a while to catch on.
    crmDean
    • I agree, in part...

      I don't think that the Live Tiles themselves are enticing, what I see from the new UI (and most Tablet UIs) are the fact that Notifications are fully integrated with your Desktop/Home Screen.
      Notifications is the differentiator. The fact that you don't have to open applications to see what's changed, but rather, the changes come to you. That's what makes the new windows UI so much more progressive than just a launch bar or a Start Menu.
      Until now, the only Notifications we'd see in Windows is in the taskbar. And only for a few seconds. Now, with Live Tiles, we have the potential to see any number of updates within the enterprise at a glance. We don't have to open Outlook or CRM and dig into a dozen dashboards to hone in one the information most pertinent to us. That pertinent CRM data is pushed to us in real-time.
      So, I think it's less about the "enticement" or the "Form Factor", it's actually the means by which we learn about this late-breaking data in our CRM system.
      I guess my point is, take the design element away, what you have is a fundamentally new way of consuming CRM data.
      Now, that said:
      It's nice to have this promise of "Process Driven UI". Sales People will love that they only have to enter the minimal amount of data to move the process along. But let's face it, some poor schlub is still going to be responsible for entering the hard data.
      At some point we're going to have to get serious about handling Big Data within our CRM application. How's that gonna play out in the Windows 8 Style/Metro/Flattened UI? CRM, like the other Dynamics products, is still a transactional system with data that needs to be maintained.
      These are things that worry me. traditionally, MSFT has always struggled with making a uniform UI (especially in CRM 2011-- Service Scheduling entities rarely use the Ribbon, for eg). They'll add these neat new UI elements in some areas of the application, but the other may still be entrenched in the CRM 4.0 UI. This will continue to confuse users...
      mdodd73
      • Good points, but overly optimistic methinks...

        Apple has had notifications for the past few months and it's been more than spectacular... for the apps that have updated to take advantage of it. If the support isn't there, the feature might as well not exist and here we are going to face the same (or perhaps even greater) adoption issues as with any other radically different system.

        Microsoft does have one thing going for it here, but at the same it not in the right direction to solve the issues with CRM perhaps. You see, they went for a simple UI, but as one user above mentioned, this UI was more dedicated to a user, not a power user. No power user would get rid of their tried and true PC, but these are the ones who need the system to work for them.

        While simplicity is the key to fixing CRM (a la http://www.jobnimbus.com), that simplicity has to be focused on the CRM system specifically, and not an overall mobile UI for common tasks like taking pictures of cats and sharing meme pics or updating your status online. Or playing a game, for that matter.
        bradhodson
  • Impressive

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    hyderali01