By Valerie Miller, Contributing Writer
Partners, vendors and users have been clamoring for it,
and now Microsoft is giving them what they want: Microsoft Dynamics CRM browser
compatibility, as well as an HTML5
interface and mobile apps are on their way.
After some delays, Microsoft will be launching a
cross-browser compatible version of Dynamics CRM by the year's end in what is
now know as the "Polaris" release. It
will be followed by the "Orion" release in the second quarter of 2013. The
announcement was made Tuesday (October 2) at eXtremeCRM 2012 in Las Vegas.
An updated statement of direction will also be made
available next week, officials said. The news came during the Dynamics CRM product management
team's roadmap session today.
"One important highlight of the [Polaris] release is the
cross-browser (feature)," said Dynamics CRM product manager Craig Dewar. "We
will unveil cross-browser in an on-premise release because there has been such
as demand for it, in December, when the Polaris release comes out."
Dewar also explained that Microsoft will offer an update
roll-up, UR12, for existing customers soon after the initial release of
Microsoft had delayed a planned July announcement on a
new cross-browser compatible release of Dynamics CRM due at least in part, they
said at the time, to issues hitting the necessary level of quality across all
the planned browsers. Currently, Dynamics CRM software is supported on Internet
Just in time for the holidays, Dynamics CRM users will
find it easier to Skype with loved ones, as well as clients and business
contacts. The new "click to Skype" feature will be introduced in the Polaris
release, according to Dewar. Click-to-call will also be available for Lync.
Other selling points of the Polaris update include more and
better compatibility between online and on-premise CRM platforms. In addition,
CRM customers in the US federal government will be able to get the cloud
experience on federal premises.
The Orion release is planned for release in the second quarter
of 2013 and will take the HTML5
vision offered since WPC 2012 and bring it to users. "The Orion release
will have a very tailored look. We are building an HTML5 experience that can
cross multiple devices," said Dewar.
The HTML5 experience is intended to work across devices,
possibly even as an alternative to platform-specific mobile apps. And without outright naming Microsoft's
competitors' wildly popular mobile devices, Dewar assured the new HTML5 interface
would be good match for those, as well.
Another delayed item, mobile apps for Dynamics CRM from
Microsoft, will finally arrive with the Orion release, again in the second
quarter of next year.
In a demo for the Extreme CRM crowd at the Las Vegas
Hotel, Eric Boocock, senior technical product manager for Microsoft Dynamics
CRM, gave the audience a taste of what's to come in terms of Office integration
"In the Orion release, Agave will bring the applications
into Outlook. CRM is one of those," Boocock explained. Adopting the Agave technology has the
potential to effectively change the way Dynamics CRM users interact wtih the
product from Outlook, one of long-touted strengths of the Dynamics CRM
experience. But as Bill Patterson told a
packed room at WPC 2012 in Houston, Outlook integration's luster has diminished
in recent years as competitors have put out improved integrations of their own.
More developments in Dynamics CRM should make the users
and sellers happy. Another planned Microsoft
release will also introduce CRM software that would be compatible with
Microsoft Office 2013. That new software
will be available closer to the second quarter of next year, closer to the
Orion release, Dewar said.
"We will deliver Office compatibility with Office 2013.
That will happen in the Orion release's timeframe," Dewar said. "We are
delivering cross-browser and we are delivering all the user experiences."
And users of the Office 2013-compatible CRM product can
expect some welcome changes, Dewar added. Among those: fewer pop-ups, and a more-linear design.
"no pop ups; flat; touch optimized" #msdynccrm Orion release in 2013 looks like a winner. #eXtremeCRM
In a demo presented to Extreme CRM attendees Tuesday,
Microsoft Dynamics showed why the changes in the Polaris release will eliminate
the need for separate windows while using CRM. Fewer pop-up windows mean fewer
headaches for users, said Boocock.
With the new software, users can easily look at their
schedules and plan sales and service calls, he added.
"I just need to click on "qualify," Boocock said as he
demonstrated how to mine sales leads. He predicted that the ease of use will
entice customers. "They'll think: ‘It's kind of fun. I want to use this.'"