Microsoft releases CRM 2013 – should I care?

Category: IT Training Blog

Today’s guest blog comes to you from Peter Clements of CRMKnowlege.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is a step-change in this leading CRM application now used by millions worldwide to automate sales, service and marketing process. The global launch is November 4th but the technology is out there now and there is a lot of excited discussion about the impact of CRM 2013.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Take online users for a start – the people who get CRM as a hosted service from Microsoft. They will get upgraded from CRM 2011 anytime between November and February (according to current plans) and so will have to adopt the changes.

For clients with their own CRM server resources they can choose when to upgrade to CRM 2013 – but there are many compelling reasons why they should. This article looks at just one – the user interface.

CRM 2011 looked and felt like an Office 2010 product with its ribbon of related functionality. The CRM 2013 interface is cleaner, less cluttered and much more web like. The ribbon has gone, to be replaced with the command bar and much more functionality can be performed inline without opening a new window (something that most CRM 2011 users found difficult).

The interface has changed for two reasons. Firstly, Microsoft got mixed feedback from users using CRM 2011 – a common theme is that it is too complex and there is far too much activity on the screen and too many windows being opened. Secondly, Microsoft needed to go mobile with this release and so needed to support tablet functionality on its own Surface range and of course the iPad. Users of tablets do not expect to be opening multiple windows and do not expect to be using a lot of clicks within each windows – they expect a smooth seamless transition and have a clean easy to use interface. So, Microsoft’s UX team got hold of the product and basically started again with the form structure.

Will users like it? Well, current users will experience a time of adjusting to the new form and of course any change in technology is usually unwelcome. For example, CRM 2013 forms can auto-save and it isn’t obvious how to save the form manually and no doubt some will struggle with this initially. On the other hand, the addition of related records like phone calls and contacts is now much more intuitive and faster – once users get the hang of this they will not want to go back to the older version.

Lastly, all the mobile users of CRM now have the ability to use CRM through apps on the iPad and the Surface tablets – the display is clean and easy to use. In some cases there will be extra features for these tablet users, for example, they can search across multiple entities for a contact. Outlook and browser users will not get this feature out of the box – talk about favouritism!

All in all, the changes to the interface are good and will help CRM users be more productive in their dealings with customers and clients. Yes, change is always disruptive but with some good training intervention early on, there will be a lot of very happy CRM 2013 users out there.

CRMKnowledge is a specialist Training and Support Company dedicated to developing Microsoft Dynamics CRM skills for Microsoft partners, individual consultants and end user organisations and is headed up by Peter Clements, an experienced Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant, Trainer and Project Manager. CRMKnowledge delivers Dynamics CRM training in the classroom, online and provides skills mentoring to individuals and project team.  More details can be found at www.crmknowledge.co.uk.

If you or your organisation need to find out more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM or any other Microsoft Office product, then do get in touch. Give us a call on 020 8203 1774 or email us enquiries@theittrainingsurgery.com

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