Today Microsoft announced what’s going to be in their next service update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, codenamed “R8″, under the headline: CRM Anywhere.
The R8 service update is expected to be available Q2 2011 and is built on six broad themes: Mobility, Browser Flexibility, Social, Industry Templates, SQL Server 2012, Certifications.
Microsoft will be launching a new product, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile, which will enable CRM Online, partner-hosted and on-premise customers with Internet-facing deployments to use CRM on up to three devices per user.
There will be native clients, which means offline support, on all the main mobile platforms: Windows Phone 7.5, iPhone & iPad, Android, BlackBerry. I haven’t seen any of the licensing details yet, but I understand that this is a subscription service (even for on-premise customers) for $30 per user per month.
For years prospective customers have been crying out for multi-browser support and Microsoft has finally delivered! Once R8 hits your CRM server you’ll be able to access CRM using: Internet Explorer 7 or above on Windows 7, Vista and XP; Safari 5.1.1 or above on Mac OS-X or iOS5 ;Firefox 6 or above on Windows 7, Vista and XP or Mac OS-X or iOS5; Chrome 13 or above on Windows 7, Vista and XP.
Activity Feed Enhancements
In the Nov 2011 service update (codenamed “R7″) Microsoft released the new Activity Feeds feature which introduced some social enterprise features into CRM 2011. R8 introduces a series of enhancements to the Activity Feeds feature: like/dislike, enhanced filtering (e.g. @me, types of records I follow, record views), and an updated mobile activity feeds client for Windows Phone 7.5.
Building on the work of Microsoft partners and its own consulting team, the Dynamics Labs will be releasing several industry templates into the Dynamics Marketplace. The first few templates will be: Wealth Management, Non-Profit, Health Sales Plans
Relationship Management for Health.
The templates will include data model customizations, dashboards, workflows and sample data. They’re designed to help customers in those industries visualise how Dynamics CRM can help their business, and speed up an implementation without necessarily being a fully-packaged vertical industry product.
SQL Server 2012
Microsoft’s own data centers have already been upgraded to SQL Server 2012 and the R8 service update bring official support for partners and customers wanting to upgrade their own deployments to SQL Server 2012. Additionally, there will be some new CRM features that make use of SQL Server 2012 new capabilities. For example: performance improvements, enhanced database recovery, next generation business intelligence (“Crescent”) such as pre-defined Power Pivot models, Power View reports, and time-animated reports.
Certifications are critical to enterprise adoption and Microsoft has been working hard over the last year to ensure that its data centers and CRM Online service meets several important certification standards including: ISO27001, SAS 70 Type II, SOX, SSAE 16 SOC1, Safe Harbor, Data Processing Agreement, EU Model Clauses and HIPAA compliance (supported through Business Partner Agreements).
For More Information
Download the R8 Release Preview Guide from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM website: https://crmpublish.blob.core.windows.net/docs/ReleasePreviewGuide.pdf
Read the CRM Anywhere blog article by new CRM General Manager Dennis Michalis: https://community.dynamics.com/product/crm/crmnontechnical/b/crmconnection/archive/2012/02/06/crm-anywhere.aspx