Here I have highlighted the new features on offer and what benefits they will bring to businesses.
New user interface – The new user interface in CRM is clean and minimalistic. This should help staff be more productive and effective, using the latest form enhancements such as new layouts, replacement of the Ribbon with a minimalist command bar, auto-save, quick-create records, touch-friendly navigation, mapping integration, enterprise social integration and the reduced number of pop-ups.
Process Agility –The Process Agility feature can be used to model any number of business processes so that CRM is tailored specifically for your organisation. For example, new insurance policies versus insurance policy renewals, or a technical issue versus a customer complaint issue. At each stage, you can enforce that certain mandatory fields must be completed before staff can progress to the next stage. All of this functionality is available through an easy-to-use process modelling tool, reducing the dependency on custom development work.
Mobile Apps – The new mobile app allows access to CRM from a Windows 8 tablet or iPad. No additional training for the app is required as the reimagined interface, process agility and business rules are integrated seamlessly across web and mobile devices.
Server side synchronisation of Contacts, Tasks, Phone Calls and Appointments – Staff can directly synchronise information between CRM and Exchange using mobile devices to stay up-to-date at all times without the need for a third-party product or laptop. For example, staff will now see calendar appointments in their phone if they are scheduled to work on a service activity.
Enterprise social integration – Both CRM and non-CRM users can access key CRM information through Yammer. For example, businesses can automatically post to Yammer when an opportunity is opened with an existing customer. Using the Yammer app for mobile and tablet devices, staff can keep track of CRM and other enterprise wide conversations within the context of a social news feed.
Licensing changes – New licensing models offer more granular flexibility for how organisations license the staff who use CRM. Rather than having to purchase the same license for all users, organisations can now also purchase a lower cost license with reduced functionality to suit their staffing needs.
Inline editing of grids – Productivity will be improved by the ability to quickly and easily edit and update product information for opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices directly into the grid layout.
Click-to-call functionality – Lync or Skype click-to-call integration means staff can call customers directly from CRM. A phone call activity will automatically pop-up so that you can record the details of the call without having to click anywhere else in CRM. This will help with staff productivity and ensuring key information is being recorded in your CRM.
Access Teams – Businesses can quickly share and collaborate on CRM information outside of the standard security model using pre-defined Access Teams. For example, you can share an Opportunity record if the required products or services span multiple business units within your organisation. This ensures your security model is robust yet flexible at the same time.
Workflow Actions – Standard workflow actions can be combined to create powerful functionality for use in different areas of the application. For example, submission of an opportunity for approval can be created as a custom action using a combination of Update and Assign workflow actions. This custom action can then be called from another workflow, from the command bar via a Web Resource or externally via a web service call. This enables CRM to be integrated with other line-of-business applications more efficiently than before.
Staged upgrade path from CRM 2011 – For organisations moving from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013, there are a number of different upgrade paths to suit different change management and training requirements. Any supported customisations in CRM 2011 will have a supported upgrade path to CRM 2013.