Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is now available for public release and contains a large amount of new features designed to make the user’s experience more friendly and efficient. Previously codenamed ‘Orion’, the latest release introduces a brand new interface previously seen across Sales and Marketing seen in the Polaris release for CRM 2011.

We’ve summarised some of the key features below to help you understand why Dynamics CRM 2013 is a significant step forward.

1. A new way to navigate:

  • Navigation across CRM 2013 appears at the top of the screen, opposed to on the left side of the screen, freeing up real estate which is now used to display more of a record’s information.
  • From the new navigation bar you can access all of the areas you could in 2011, but in a hierarchical fashion from left to right.

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2. A brand new interface:

  • All areas of CRM 2013 have a brand new interface and have extremely limited use of pop-up windows, with the exception of the Settings area. This means records open in the same window as the record or view that you were previously on, meaning less windows to manage whilst working.

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3. Companion apps for Windows, iOS and Android – The following entities are usable via the app:

  • Account
  • Appointment
  • Case (Read Only)
  • Competitor
  • Connection
  • Contact
  • Email (Read Only)
  • Email Attachment (Read Only)
  • Lead
  • Note
  • Opportunity
  • Opportunity Product
  • Phone Call
  • Product (Read Only)
  • Task
  • Team (Read Only)
  • User (Read Only)
  • Custom Entities – Just tick ‘CRM for Tablets’ before publishing your entity.

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4. Business Rule Processes:

  • Business Rules in CRM 2013 allow you to define rules against individual entities that previously may have required custom code to implement. There are some extremely useful tools in this area, which we see as a tool that will be heavily relied on in the future. Two of the most important features here allow you to show custom errors or allow you to lock and unlock fields depending on data and inputs on a record.

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  • Business Process Flows, first introduced in Polaris for Marketing, is a new concept that allows you to create visual flows for multiple entities that help to represent where in the Sales, Marketing or Service process the record currently stands. Business Process Flows can be customised from the same ‘Processes’ screen found in Customizations > Solutions, and gives a great structure for you to map out your process flow for use on your entity’s record form.

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5. Access Teams

  • With the introduction of CRM 2013 a new level of access has been made available following the introduction of team ownership in the last major release of CRM. Access Teams allow you to assign access to a particular record level opposed to the entity level. Access Teams can be easily added to and from the record form, as the screenshot below shows.

6. Skype Integration

  • Also seen in Polaris, Skype integration is a great way to easily contact individuals held in the system at a click of a button. Activities can be automatically generated based on the call for easy data entry.

As you may already know, the rollout has already begun for cloud users and many are taking advantage of CRM 2013’s advantages and you’ll be glad to discover that the upgrade from 2011 is considered relatively pain free. Just remember that in preparation for upgrade you should always check your JavaScript to make sure the environment continues to work in the same way, and make sure you look out for any updates from any external suppliers that you may have obtained solutions from.