Right now the community is very excited about the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Microsoft is really focused on improving User Experience across all devices and introducing process guidance with this release. Below are just some of my favorite new features and improvements that have been added. There are a lot of great features that will make it well worth the upgrade:
1. Improved performance
There is a new version of Dynamics CRM 2013 for on-premise, but also for online. Microsoft is merging the entity base tables and the extension base tables for entities going forward. This should greatly improve performance as there will be a lot fewer joins, locks and overhead.
2. Revamped UI and Navigation experience
CRM 2013 is going to fundamentally change the way the entity forms have functioned since the product began. In 2011 and previous versions you would open a new popup window whenever you would click anything. This gets cumbersome and is a terrible experience for mobile users. Microsoft has shown with CRM 2013 that they understand this annoyance by creating the flow of the CRM 2013 UI in such a way that there is almost no popups. This greatly enhances the touch enabled experience and keeps you from having to hung through windows.
Microsoft also took the Left Nav and threw it out the window and replaced it with a touch optimized version that will make it great for mobile experience.
3. Synchronous Workflow
Synchronous workflow is a huge enhancement that will empower the CRM consultant and users with the ability to do a lot of things through standard workflow that were only available via plugin. Workflow has always been powerful, but if you needed something to be happen at the time synchronously, you previously had no choice but to use jscript or a .NET plugin. Some examples might be decrementing inventory levels when orders are processed, or generating a confirmation or order number at the moment a sales is processed.
4. Access Teams
The introduction of access teams is another neat feature of 2013, it will allow you to include a team of users, at a record level, to be able to work with a given record in CRM, regardless of their current roles in the system. These people could be a pursuit team on an Opportunity that crosses business units, or some sort of sales group working on an account. This is similar to sharing in some ways. One scenario this feature seems to lend itself to is the concept of having multiple record owners, or with a little development, automatic rule based-sharing with a group.
5. Form Business Rules
This new rule-based wizard on all forms lets you specify, at a form attribute level, business logic that will allow you to calculate fields and perform simple data validation logic on field. This does not replace the classic jscript on-save or on-load events, but it does empower non-coders to create logic to address some of the simpler validation and calculated field scenarios that were typically done with jscript in an on-change event.
6. Server Side Synchronization
This has been a long-awaited feature that is very similar to what you can get from third-party providers like Riva now. It allows you to move the synchronization mechanism for CRM to the mail server. Your CRM entities and structure now become a folder structure that will be completely mail client agnostic. This means people who might not have access to the Outlook client because they are using Apple OSX or Linux to have a high level of integration with Dynamics CRM in their mail clients as well.
7. New Windows 8 Tablet App
This CRM release is not only going to see a better mobile browser experience in general, but they will also be providing mobile OS specific tablet application. They plan to start with IOS and Windows 8 and then also move to Android in the future. These tablet apps will be extensible by pulling down the customizations from the normal browser forms, making it a truly ubiquitous experience.
All in all this is shaping up to be a pivotal new direction for the product that should take us to exciting new places in the future.