This fall should be a big one for Microsoft CRM customers.
In the fourth quarter of this year, Microsoft will be rollout out its Dynamics CRM Online Fall '13 cloud-based CRM service; its Dynamics CRM 2013 on-premises complement; and new CRM apps for Windows 8 and the iPad.
Microsoft officials posted this week for download a 19-page "Release Preview Guide" for its coming CRM releases. A select set of Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customers have been using and testing the coming CRM release since July 2013. But the Guide is available to anyone, not just those in the TAP.
The guide outlines the new user interface; the guided processes meant to eliminate the navitational guesswork; the performance and business rule updates; and the coming Yammer, Lync and Skype integration functionality in the release. The guide also highlights the new CRM mobile apps for Windows 8 and the iPads, which are due out at the same time as the CRM 2013 and Fall '13 releases. ("The new touch-optimized mobile experiences for Windows Phone 8, iPhone and Android phones will follow shortly after," a Microsoft spokesperson acknowledged.)
From the guide, it seems Microsoft is delivering -- for the most part -- what it promised a year ago when officials first detailed the "Orion" Dynamics CRM 2013 updates coming in Q3 of calendar 2013. At that time, officials said to expect Dynamics CRM to get more of the flat "Office 2013" look and feel, among other features.
One anticipated feature that seemingly isn't arriving with this fall's updates, however, is direct Exchange integration. According to the Release Preview Guide, CRM Online and Exchange Online synchronization for email, tasks, appointments and contacts won't be available at launch; it will happen some time after launch. Ditto with CRM Online or CRM 2013 and POP3/SMTP for email, according to the guide.
After the fall "Orion" releases, the CRM team is planning to deliver two more CRM updates: "Leo" and then "Vega," the release guide notes. (There also is an update to the MarketingPilot service due later this year, which is codenamed "Mira.")
Mira is due in the first quarter of calendar 2014, according to MSDynamicsWorld.com, with Leo following in Q2 2014. Last fall, however, Microsoft's plan was to roll out Leo in Q4 2013, MSDynamicsWorld reported. The Leo release supposedly would drop support for Classic Forms, and add support for iphone and Android phone. Vega was slated to add mobile offline support and hybrid marketing application changes.