There are a huge number of new features that are scheduled to be made available in CRM 2011.  You'll find auditing functionality that will allow you to more easily track what changes have been made to records in CRM, all the way to a rich SharePoint document management integration within CRM.

In this blog, I'm going to take a few minutes to cover some of the new end user focused improvements that should be available to you when CRM 2011 is officially released.  Many of the key investments made in CRM 2011 were around making life easier for our users.....less clicks, more appealing forms & views, and other brand new features that users have been clamoring for.  There is certainly more 2011 functionality that end users will enjoy that I haven't specifically listed here.  Please take some time to review this information and then install the CRM 2011 beta that is available now.  You can find the beta at:  

User Interface Features - Navigation

  • Recently Visited
    • Have you ever gone through the day and had a hard time remembering what exactly you worked on within CRM? There is now a drop-down located in the Navigation pane that contains a list of recently viewed records and views for each user (up to the maximum number of recently viewed items). To prevent items from falling off of the list, items can be pinned to ensure that they stay in the recently visited section. The CRM Outlook client has similar functionality that allows you to see recently viewed results.


  • Default Views
    • You can now make any view (system or personal) your default view. Previously, all users had the same default view that was determined by your CRM administrator. If you'd like to create personal view that shows you the exact data that you want to see, using advanced find, you can now set this as your default view so that you see the same data every time you access that entity. As in CRM 4.0, you'll still be able to share your personal views out with other CRM users.


  •  Shortcut Menu for View and Records
    • Most CRM entities (Accounts, Contacts, etc.) provide you with multiple views to choose from. You can use the default view, or select another view from the view list. It's also now possible to select a view to open directly instead of having to click on the entity first. The shortcut menu lists all System views and personal views for the user. It also lists the last six recently visited records by entity type.


  •  Record Set Navigation
    • When you have record open, such as a contact, you're no longer limited to seeing just that record. You can use the record set navigation feature to quickly navigate through a list of records without leaving the form. Just another feature that reduces clicks and improves the overall satisfaction of the user!


  •  Sticky Views
    • When a user selects to use a non-default CRM view for a specific entity, that view will "stick" during the user's active session. Whenever the user comes back to the view during the session, the most recent view will show rather than the default view
  • Ribbon
    • There is now a contextual ribbon across the top of each CRM page to allow for easier access to CRM commands. The more that you use the pane, the more you'll appreciate how much of a time saver it can be.


Form Additions

  • Side Tabs
    • In previous versions, tabs were listed across the top of your forms. The tabs have now been moved to the left-hand side of the form. We feel that this allows for a more inline user experience. Again.....less clicks! This change allows our forms to flow in a very smooth manner.


  •  Header/Footer
    • Forms now have a header at the top of the page and a footer at the bottom. The header and footer each contain CRM information (customizable). You can scroll down your form and the header and footer will stay visible.


  •  Sub-grids
    • Entity grids can be added to a form to display related information to the record you are displaying in the form. For example, when working with a specific account record, you can add the related contact grid to the main form rather than accessing the related contact information from the sidebar.



Making Views Even Better

  • Record Counts
    • We heard your feedback. When you look at a view, you want to know the exact count of the records returned at the bottom of the page. The total record count of each view is now shown towards the bottom of each view.


  •  Column Filtering
    • In CRM 2011, you can still sort most columns listed in views. You're now also able to filter columns. This allows you to incorporate functionality that was previously only available through an advanced find.


  •  Associated Views
    • Associated views in CRM 4.0 were views that were presented when accessing a related entity. Let's say that you were looking at a specific account. If you navigated to the Contacts sidebar, you'd see the contact associated view within the account entity. In CRM 2011 you are able to select whichever view you'd like in this scenario. Rather than using the default "contacts associated view" in the above example, you could now use whichever view you'd like.


  •  Lookup Views
    • Lookups now have access to all the entity grid views for the entity. You are no longer limited to just using the lookup view when using the lookup. Lookups can also be filtered to display a subset of records.


  •  Personal Views
    • There is now a "Create Personal View" option that more clearly explains to end users that they can create their own views. Selecting this option will open the Advanced Find form for you to create your view.



Some Exciting Core Features

  • Dashboards
    • We're happy to say that dashboards have been included into CRM 2011. These dashboards will allow your group to construct multiple sets of charts and grids that make the most sense for your business. Several dashboards are shipped out of the box.


  •  Charts
    • You'll find the ability to view charts all through the application. These charts can be created and customized with the appropriate security roles.


  •  Attachments & Bulk Emails
    • I've heard many customers comment in the past how nice it would be to include attachments when sending CRM bulk email. The wait is over! It's now possible to include attachments when sending bulk email. Only one actual attachment will be stored in the database when sending out multiple bulk emails with an attachment.


  •  Data Import Wizard (and reimport)
    • The Import Wizard facilitates a smooth data import process by providing an easy way to migrate your legacy data into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM System. Several new features in CRM 2011 are:
      • Support for CSV, TXT, XML, or ZIP file types
      • Support for Option Value Mapping (aka picklists)
      • Support for Lookup Mapping
      • Support for a single source file with multiple entities (Account & Contacts)
      • Support for Bulk Update of records via Import Wizard


  • Get Started Pane
    • It's best that CRM users be given some training before setting them lose on the application. The system does have a great Help feature that will answer many of your CRM questions. New in CRM 2011 is the "Get started pane". The pane provides your users with relevant information for the grids they are viewing.