This week Microsoft announced the general availability of the latest update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM; version 2015. This article describes the enhancements made in this version.
There are a number of compatibility considerations you should be aware of in version 2015. The 2011 CRM Outlook client is not compatible and would need to be upgraded to function in version 2015. Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is also not compatible but the most significant compatibility issue I see is with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer versions 7, 8 and 9 are not compatible, you must upgrade all users Internet Explorer to version 10 or 11 to work with CRM 2015. The full compatibility matrix can be viewed here.
New Functionality in version 2015
There are a number of enhancements and new functionality being delivered in version 2015 to both Microsoft CRM and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM). If you are not familiar with MDM it is a marketing module that joined the Microsoft family through an acquisition of MarketingPilot. MDM is a marketing management solution that offers marketers the ability to plan, execute and measure marketing campaign performance. It is a stand-alone service that is integrated with Microsoft CRM. For more information on MDM, click here.
- Create product families: Offers the ability to bundle products and recommend related products for cross-selling/up-selling opportunities.
- Use sales hierarchies: Manage and report on your sales data in a way that maps to your business. New hierarchical visualizations and roll-ups bring real-time territory and forecasting capabilities to Microsoft CRM.
- Mobile sales improvements: Improvements have been made to the in-built mobile client including role tailored dashboards and analytics, personalized home pages and the ability to navigate by hierarchy. This version of the tablet app also includes improved support for disconnected scenarios. These are significant enhancements to the mobile client.
- Voice activation: Cortana is now part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Cortana was born in the popular Microsoft Xbox video game Halo. Microsoft has created a voice recognition system and is embedding it in Windows Phone, the Microsoft Band, Windows 10 and CRM. For customers with a Windows Phone 8.1, you can now use conversational voice commands to seamlessly create follow-up appointments, tasks, and phone calls; quickly find information; view your customer lists; and more. I see this
- Enhanced sales processes: The business process flow released in version 2013 now offers enhanced branching logic allowing a process to build as the user works through it.
- Expanded case management functionality: Service Level Agreements are now offered on service cases in CRM. This allows you to define and manage SLA’s to assure agents are meeting response times
- Microsoft Social Listening availability: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers with a minimum of 10 Professional users automatically have access to Social Listening as part of their subscription at no additional charge. Customers who have an Enterprise subscription also have access to Social Listening but with no minimum user requirement. You can add Microsoft Social Listening subscriptions from through your Office 365 subscription. Social Listening allows you to monitor what people are saying about your company or brand on social media and provides sentiment monitoring (positive, negative or neutral). Social Listening allows you to discover when someone mentions your company or brand on social media, you are alerted to this mention and can review it and engage with the person.
- Microsoft Social Listening for on-premises CRM customers: Social Listening will also be offered in the on premise version of CRM 2015 - and may also be eligible for a discounted rate.
- Improvements in CRM for Outlook: Set up CRM for Outlook quickly and easily with the completely redesigned Configuration Wizard. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 for Outlook, users can sync assigned tasks and appointment attachments. Admins can control synchronization between pairs of fields, which provides confidence about where data is coming from and how it's shared.
- Customizable help: Personalize the user assistance by tailoring the in-product Help content to match the specifics of your Dynamics CRM implementation. You can modify what displays under the Help question-mark icon at either an entity-specific or organization-wide level.
The full release preview guide is available here.
Microsoft has delivered another feature packed release in version 2015. If you would like to discuss upgrading your system to version 2015 or to evaluate Microsoft CRM please contact us.