Next Service Update: CRM Anywhere in Q2 2012


Earlier this month, Microsoft released information on what will be included in the next CRM Online Service Update (Q2 2012) and I was excited to find out about the following 10 new features/enhancements.  I am especially looking forward to Mobile and Cross Browser Support.

1. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile” (New Cloud Based Mobile CRM Service Subscription)
2. Cross Browser Support (IE, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome)
3. Rapid View Forms (Load forms quickly)
4. Enhanced Activity Feed (“like”, “unlike”, improved filtering)
5. Industry Solution Templates (Vertical solutions)
6. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (Improved Performance)
7. Business Intelligence (BI) Insights with Power View (Excel workbooks)
8. Certifications (Industry Compliancy)
9. Portal Framework Enhancements (Enhanced Customer and Partner Portal)
10. Custom Workflow Activities in CRM Online (Custom Workflow: .NET Development)

Here’s a short summary of these features.  For more thorough descriptions on the upcoming service update, you can take a look at the “Release Preview Guide Q2 2012 Service Update“.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile

Microsoft will provide a cross-platform native mobile client for Windows Phone 7.5, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices.  At starting price of $30/user/month, organizations will be able to subscribe to any number of users.  Each licensed mobile user will be allowed to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM from up to three different mobile devices.  It will also offer an offline mode so that users can access the CRM data offline.

Cross Browser Support

The Q2 2012 Service Update will also include cross browser support for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application.  Users will be able to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM from browers such as Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox 6+, Chrome, 13+, and Safari 5.1.1+.

Rapid View Forms

To allow fast loading of data, Microsoft will add Rapid View Forms capability so that users can quickly view the CRM data.  The rapid view form is a read-only form that will be introduced in entity form and users will be able to edit data shown in this form by clicking a edit button.

Enhanced Activity Feed

Existing Activity Feed from November 2011 Service Update will be further enhanced to provide additional functionalities (“Like”, “Unlike”, and improved filtering capabilities) and simplifed access to relevant feeds.

Industry Solution Templates

Microsoft will make available Industry solution templates for CRM including data model, pre-configured dashboards, workflow processes, and samle data.  Industry Solutions will include Life Annuity Insurance Sales, Non-Profit, Health Plan Sales, and Wealth Management.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 will be made available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise so that users can take advantage of SQL Server 2012 performance and reliability.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online data centers already have Microsoft SQL Server 2012 deployed.

Business Intelligence (BI) Insights with Power View

A set of Microsoft Excel workbooks with pre-defined PowerPivot models and Power View Report templates will be made available for On-Premise customers.  The four templates will include Product Sales Analysis, Sales Pipeline Analysis, Customer Care Trends, and Customer Demographics Analysis.  Future service updates will expand teh reach of Power View to CRM Online customers.

Certifications

Microsoft Data Centers will be compliant with an number of certifications including ISO 27001, SAS70 Type II, and Sarbanes-Oxley.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Services will be compliant with a number of certifications including Safe Harbor, ISO 27001, SSAE 16 SOCI (Type II), Data Processing Agreement (DPA), EU Model Clauses, and Business Associates Agreement – enables a company to be Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) compliant.

Portal Framework Enhancements

The Service Update will include enhancements to the portal framework that powers customer and partner portals connecting to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online/On-Premise.  The enhancement will allow portals to use Microsoft Windows Azure Access Control Service (ACS) for authentication so that organizations can use various standards-based identity providers such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Windows Live ID and ADFS 2.0 for portals that require authenticated sign-on security.

Custom Workflow Activities in CRM Online

With Q2 Service Update, developers will be able to build custom .NET workflow activity assemblies for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.  This will ensure parity in the developer experience between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and On-Premise.

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