The Q2 2012 Service Update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is going to be a good one. Microsoft has released a guide highlighting major features and enhancements that will be included in the upcoming release. Here is a summary of some of the good stuff to come…
Yes! Native CRM apps are coming to popular smartphones and tablets! This includes Windows Phone, Apple’s iPhone/iPad, Android phones, and Blackberry devices. Most devices will have online and offline modes. A new “mobile license” will allow named users to access CRM from up to three different devices at once. Availability of mobile features can be managed at an company/organizational level.
Finally, support for browsers other than Internet Explorer! The lineup includes recent versions of Firefox and Chrome on Windows machines, and Firefox and Safari on Apple Mac OS-X and iOS machines. This expanded web access also introduces Rapid View Forms, which can be configured for quick and easy read-only lookup on record details. As Microsoft figured out with them CRM 4 to 2011 upgrade, more configurable form options are always a better thing!
Expanding on the CRM 2011 November Service Update, there will be more and better integrated social features with Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc. This should allow CRM to become a “hub” for managing and tracking business social media interactions. The “What’s New” module has been enhanced to provide quick access and control of insights in a beautifully layed out fashion. I have a feeling this is going to take Microsoft’s “first step” toward social media management to “full sprint.”
CRM is used by a variety of industries including distribution, manufacturing, public sector, retail, services… and the list goes on. New, pre-configured, industry-specific templates are being released to the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace from Microsoft Dynamics Labs. This will allow for more rapid implementation and a starting point for the industries supported. This includes a much-awaited Non-profit template! As a guy who sets up a lot of basic prototype demos in CRM this will make my life much easier for some of those industries.
SQL Server 2012 support is coming in this update. The main thing this means is better performance and response time. More details will be coming out about additional enhancements like new self-service business intelligence features and much, much more. Reporting integration with SharePoint is also rapidy expanded by use of the SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Add-in, Power View (Project Crescent). It can also be used in conjunction with Excel PowerPivot and SSAS. This greatly expands the options and accessibility for data visualization directly from CRM data.
Microsoft Data Centers and Dynamics CRM Online Service are already compliant with several major privacy, security, and regulatory certifications since the Novermber 2011 service update. With the Q2 2012 update, Microsoft will increase that number further, bringing CRM into compliance the following: ISO 27001, SAS70 Type II, Sarbanes-Oxley, Safe Harbor, HIPAA, SSAE 16 SOC1 Type II, Data Processing Agreement, and EU Model Clauses.
…And there’s more to come than just those highlighted areas listed above. CRM Online customers should get extra excited due to ever-needed expansion of features previously only available to on-premises implementations (custom workflow activities!!). eImagine is one of the largest Microsoft Dynamic CRM consulting firms in Indiana… We’re super excited and you should be too! Read up and get in the know for this major update!