Microsoft begins rolling out CRM Online 2013

Microsoft is rolling out its CRM Online 2013 service and will be delivering its on-premises and Windows 8/iPad client complements to it later this month.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has started its staged rollout of its latest version of its CRM Online service.


The Dynamics CRM Online 2013 offering, codenamed "Orion" — the first major platform update since the 2011 Dynamics CRM release — went live last week in Microsoft's Asia Pacific datacenters. As of October 7, it's now live in the company's European and African datacenters. It will go live in the Americas "later this week," according to a post on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM UK Blog.

The on-premises complement to CRM Online 2013 is not yet generally available; it's coming later this month, the aforementioned blog post indicates. Because of this, there are a couple of pieces of the CRM service that aren't yet fully operational. The Windows 8 and iPad companion apps — part of the Orion release — also are not yet in the Windows Store and Apple Store. It sounds from the blog post as though they will be available around the same time as the on-premises version of Orion.

Microsoft officials have said publicly that Orion would be available in the fourth calendar quarter of 2013. Recently, Microsoft posted 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. (The Guide is available to anyone, not just those in the TAP.)

The guide outlines the new, touch-centric user interface (which replaces the Ribbon with a new Command Bar); the new processes meant to eliminate the navigational guesswork; the performance and business rule updates; and the coming Yammer, Lync and Skype integration functionality in the Orion release. The guide also highlights the new CRM mobile apps for Windows 8 and the iPads.

"The new touch-optimized mobile experiences for Windows Phone 8, iPhone and Android phones will follow shortly after," a Microsoft spokesperson said last month.

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.") The Leo release is expected to drop support for Classic Forms, and add support for iPhones and Android phones.

Those interested in kicking the tires of the new Microsoft CRM release can sign up for a free, 30-day trial (no credit card required).

Update (October 8): Microsoft made the Metro-Style version of its CRM app for Windows 8 and Windows RT available for download in the Windows Store as of today, October 8.

Here's a screen shot: 



The iPad version of the Dynamics CRM app is now in the Apple store, as well. Here's the download link. And a screen shot:


Both apps are free but require Dynamics CRM 2013, which is in the midst of being rolled out in the cloud and on-premises. A download link for the on-premises server version of Dynamics CRM 2013 is here. More on-premises Dynamics CRM 2013 links are available via this blog post.

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