The next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, due for beta release in September 2010, is being eagerly awaited by business partners and end-users alike. Officially named Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (previously it’s been referred to as version 5 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 5) the product will offer a whole range of new features, functions and enhancements. 

So what exactly has Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 got in store for us? Well, because the product is not quite in Beta yet, Microsoft is quite sensibly being fairly low key about the exact features and functions of the product.  However, here are some of the things we’re pretty sure it will include (and we’re extremely excited about!):

Advanced Customisation and Integration for Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM

At Concentrix, we’ve been offering hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM since early 2009 and had a great deal of success with it (particularly among smaller businesses using CRM for the first time). One of the drawbacks however is that, currently at least, it’s not easy to implement advanced customisations, integration, configuration and bespoke components to the hosted version of the software. This has meant we’ve had to recommend on-premise deployment for a variety of customers that needed more complex services. However, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 it will be possible for business partners to ‘code in the cloud’. In other words, we’ll be able to offer advanced customisation and integration to those businesses and organisations that prefer Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a hosted solution.

Role Tailored Functionality

Role tailored functionality is already part of products such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and is now being incorporated into Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. As the name suggests, it tailors each user’s experience to their role and therefore need, taking out  the features and functions they don’t use and tidying up their workspace. This helps users perform tasks more efficiently and effectively by removing any surplus on-screen ‘clutter’, while enabling them to quickly and easily find the information they need to perform their jobs.

Dashboards

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will provide a powerful, easy to use dashboard facility that can be role tailored or individually tailored and will be fully contextual. Many other CRM software applications provide dashboards. However, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 dashboards will offer near business intelligence level functionality and will be great for use in, for example, customer care, case management, marketing, lead and campaign management, monitoring sales pipelines, sales performance and much more.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 looks even more like Outlook!

A key advantage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is its seamless integration with Outlook. Also, because it has the look and feel of Outlook, things like user uptake, training and getting users up to speed are a lot quicker and easier than with some other CRM products that have less familiar interfaces. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has even more Outlook-type features, such as reading panes for CRM records, user customisations, “drag and drop”, flagging, categorisation and grouping of CRM records, and better communication tracking. Usability is always high on the list of considerations when businesses are choosing CRM software, and all these features will provide enhanced usability, increased user productivity and efficiency, and make the product a genuine pleasure to use.

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