Microsoft have just announced that the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is set for release Q4 this year (2014).
Originally codenamed ‘Vega’ this major release will become CRM 2015, following on from the successful CRM 2013, released almost 2 years ago.
Microsoft are definitely ramping up the frequency and number of improvements in Dynamics CRM. While they have a commitment to one minor update in Spring and one major update in Autumn each year, this year alone will see a total of 8 updates, varying from this major CRM 2015 release through to smaller-scale updates, such as social enhancements.
What can we expect from CRM 2015?
CRM 2015 will be the next major update for both the Dynamics CRM Online and on-premise solutions. According to Microsoft this release will “deepen its interoperability with Microsoft’s leading productivity applications, including Microsoft Office 365, Yammer, Lync, Skype, SharePoint and Power BI for Office 365”. This means that Microsoft are bringing a tighter integration between Dynamics CRM and the Microsoft solutions listed above, allowing increased productivity through a single experience for users.
This major update is set to improve on CRM 2013’s core functionality, however the user experience and layout remains the same as Dynamics CRM 2013. You can read the preview guide at the bottom of this article for a more detailed overview of all the updates, however here is a simple summary of the key features coming to CRM 2015:
- New email editor to create email campaigns from templates, a simple drag and drop editor or from your own HTML
- Campaign management console with A/B split testing opportunities
Integrated social listening
- Sales Collaboration Panel to allows sales to have an input into marketing campaigns through a calendar display, as well as being able to set up interaction alerts
- Improved lead scoring (including multiple lead scoring models)
- New Marketing Calendar for effective management and tightly integrated with Lync
- Design approval processes and track statuses
For Social Listening (a stand-alone product or included free for Professional licenses):
- Create and manage location groups for location filters
- Users can now analyse news stories as well as social channels
- Sentiment analysis now available in Italian
- Listen to social conversation in 19 languages
- Branching logic built into business process flows for complex or multiple business processes
- Improved cross-sell and up-sell capabilities with product families through a display of suggested products, accessories or substitutes within the opportunity form
- Sales hierarchy visualisations in real-time to show how accounts, products or users are interlinked, with the ability to drill-down further. This is also available on mobile
- Ability to pause and resume SLA timers and to track these effectively
- Create drafts when working offline that can later be synced when internet connection becomes available
- Tablet enhancements with role tailored dashboards, personalised home pages and hierarchy navigation
Search – new search box in nav bar to search across all record types and with wildcard (*) capability (hurray!)
- Advanced Find icon now moved to the nav bar (another hurray!)
Improved Exchange/ Outlook synchronisation to CRM – appointment attachments, assigned tasks, additional contacts and tasks fields
- New Outlook configuration Wizard
- Business rule enhancements – If/Else logic and combination ability with And/Or for complex and rich business logic
- Business process flows access via client API
- Define calculated fields in CRM User Interface
- Field-level security: restriction and enabling capabilities
- Global expansion of Dynamics CRM online –available in over 65 markets globally, and will be increased to 130 markets by the end of this year
How does this affect Dynamics CRM users?
This next major update affects both on-premise and online (cloud) customers, but the difference being that Dynamics CRM Online customers will be automatically upgraded, whereas on-premise customers (and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing) will require a manual update.
The change in Microsoft CRM releases
Only a few years ago, releases were viewed on a more ‘major update’ basis, where every few years would see a large-scale update (i.e. from CRM 2011 onto CRM 2013, or even skipping from CRM 2011 onto CRM 2015). However this has changed and Microsoft are now committed to a rapid release cycle, which plays in favour of those using CRM Online where updates are automatically applied. Gartner states that more than 50% of CRM systems will be deployed as SaaS by 2015, which is set to continually increase in favour of cloud deployments.
However for some businesses, migrating to a SaaS solution is simply not possible when data is required to be kept on-site. This is something we will be addressing in our next article "Microsoft CRM: Change your Update Approach", which will outline the importance of staying on top of new releases and the change in mind-set that comes with this: watch this space!
In the meantime, for more detailed information on the CRM 2015 updates you can download the official Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 preview guide here.
If you have any questions regarding your CRM system and the effects of the new updates, then please contact us to help you make the most out of your CRM.