I was spending a little more time in the R8 beta release today (not to be confused with Update Rollup 8, UR 8), and thought I would list out some of the exciting features we can look forward to.  So here goes:

Business Intelligence

For CRM OnPremise installations (CRM Online coming later) we will be able to download PowerPivot workbooks from the Dynamics Marketplace.

  • This puts Business Intelligence directly into the hands of the end users
  • Ability to upload the workbook to SharePoint and build new workbooks on top of it
  • Leverage the SharePoint reporting capabilities to include animated reporting with some simple drag and drop technology
    • Yes, that’s correct, animated reported!
  • PowerView will also become more of a player in this release to include the ability to surface the SharePoint Reports in CRM leveraging a custom entity
  • Some features will require SQL 2012

Process Improvements

  • Custom Workflows in CRM Online
    • Requirements will be the same as those that exist today in relationship to CRM Online Plug-ins
  • Ability to call out to external web sites and back into the SDK
  • Use Plug-in registration tool to register custom workflows

Vertical Templates

  • Insurance & HealthCare
  • Use for demos, starter solutions for vertical markets, validate CRM for the vertical
  • Includes Vertical relevant sample data, dashboards, entities, demo scripts, demo videos and more

Performance Enhancements

  • Platform
    • Quick Find and Retrieve Multiple
    • Upgrade Performance
      • 2011 already had significant improvement in this area as compared to the 3.0 to 4.0 upgrade.
      • Additionally improvements to this area should make this impressive
    • Improved Performance for Published Metadata
  • Client
    • Network related enhancements
    • Scale or Large Data enhancements
    • Ability to disable caching per machine
    • Smarter meta data caching
    • Enhanced Outlook stability
    • Improved folder load times

Read Optimized Forms (RO Form)

  • Changes required for cross browser support
  • Visibility for Images
  • Activity Feeds
  • More intelligent script detection
  • Open Note attachments

Cross Browser Support

  • Does not mean all features and functions will work in all browsers
  • Browser functionality will be dependent on not only browser version but also the Operating System
    • In most cases, the Settings & Admin areas are only supported in IE browsers.

and in the event that was not enough..

  • A new browser agnostic Mobile CRM (CWR feature set)
  • Activity Feed Enhancements
    • Ability to Like and Unlike posts and create filters
  • SQL Server 2012 Support
  • CRM Online Data Center Certifications
  • Portal Framework Enhancements

Hopefully this is enough to get you excited about the feature set included in the upcoming release.  I’m sure we will all be quite busy in the very near future taking it all in.

Cheers