Freitag, 23. März 2012

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Q4 2011 Update News


Since our earlier post about the updates we'll see next in Microsoft Dynamics CRM we've now received further information from Microsoft about the Q4 2011 release:

Improved Business Intelligence (for CRM Online & On-Premise users)

Following the addition of CRM dashboards earlier this year the Q4 update will extend CRM business intelligence reporting.

This will include multi-series charts where different sets of information can be overlaid on a single chart enabling comparisons to be more easily made.

As a result it'll be easier to make assessments on, Forecast vs Actual Revenue by Customer Account and other sales, service and marketing metrics using CRM dashboards.

The next CRM release will also include new chart types with options for stacked bar and column charts.

Activity Feeds (for CRM Online & On-Premise users)

The first of several waves of Social Media functionality in Dynamics CRM will be available in the Q4 2011 update.

The next release will feature Activity Feeds enabling users to follow activities around people, accounts, opportunities and any other important communication threads.

Activity feeds stimulate better user collaboration through micro-blogging so teams can supplement traditional communication channels by posting questions, status updates, comments and answers in CRM.

Feeds are rolled up for each user in their own CRM Wall that display updates on all followed activities.

Activity feed updates can be posted manually or automatically through workflow rules. For example, an automated status update can be posted when an opportunity reaches negotiation stage.

Feeds can even be applied by external applications through the Dynamics CRM programming interface (API).

All activity feeds utilise Microsoft Lync presence functions to check the availability of other people before making instant messaging and other communications.

Like all CRM functionality, Activity Feeds are subject to the same core security model that ensures information is only shared with the right people.

Enhanced Dialogs (for Microsoft CRM Online & On-Premise users)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 introduced Dialog call scripts that guide users through business processes including telemarketing and support handling.

Dialogs prompt a series of questions and include branching rules to guide users to an outcome, maintain process consistency and improve data quality.

For the Q4 2011 release dialogs will be extended to support look-ups and can generate dynamic links that guide users to contextual records and content in CRM and external applications.

Improved duplication detection (for CRM Online & On-Premise users)

The Q4 release creates more flexibility for the configuration and assessment of duplicate detection.

Rules can be set to ignore null values and ensure a higher proportion of possible duplicates are flagged for administrator or user attention.

Unified CRM & Office 365 Billing & Administration (for CRM Online users)

Microsoft CRM already works with Office 365 applications including Outlook for email tracking, Lync Online for instant messaging and availability status in CRM and Sharepoint Online for contextual links between document libraries and CRM records.

However, Microsoft's billing systems are fragmented with separate platforms for CRM and Office 365 and in the case of Microsoft CRM Online can prove frustrating.

The Q4 update starts the process to unify Microsoft's billing and administration by rolling out the platform that's used by Office 365 customers to simplify the admin of users, functionality and billing for all cloud services.

Unified Identity (for CRM Online cloud users)

The next CRM 2011 release features more options on how users can sign-on to their database.

This will create a single cloud sign-on to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online where active directory is used as the business directory service.

When users subscribe to Microsoft CRM Online and Office 365 all applications to be accessible from a single user log-in. For example, by logging into Sharepoint Online a user will be able to access CRM Online without the need for a separate log-in.

Enhanced Data Recovery (for CRM Online cloud users)

Microsoft are investing in additional data centre capacity and extending disaster recovery infrastructure for Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers in Europe.

From the Q4 2011 release Microsoft will offer system fail-over across regional data centres. In the unlikely event that any data centre interruption occurs, CRM data will still physically reside in another EU data center.

To read more about the CRM Q4 2011 update download the full Microsoft guide.

This update will be available later this year but at this stage we await a firm release date.

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