Spring Forward with the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

The Spring 2014 release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SP1 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional includes several enhancements and add-ons worth mentioning.
For Dynamics CRM users responsible for marketing, the new Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (formerly MarketingPilot) is now an Azure cloud service that provides a very nice drag-n-drop visual Campaign Designer tool, social media management with automated posts to Facebook and Twitter, digital advertising integration with Google Adwords, and a scalable e-mail marketing engine.  Sales and Marketing Managers will enjoy the enhanced Lead Life Cycle Management capabilities from import and acquisition, through scoring, distribution and segmentation.  The Marketer Dashboard and available Power BI toolset streamline the organization, analysis and presentation of key marketing performance measures.
Cold callers and seasoned sales professionals alike will find the real-time intelligence that Social Insights can provide about companies and contacts from over 30,000 InsideView sources extremely valuable.
Brand watchers will appreciate the new Microsoft Social Listening service that gathers and helps measure the social impact of mentions on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for tracking competitor, client and employer brands.
Organizations that want to leverage their Dynamics CRM investment to positively impact Customer Service will be interested to know that Microsoft is adding Unified Service Desk and Enterprise Case Management add-ons that include SLA and Service Entitlement definition and several feature enhancements, including:

  • Automatic ticket creation;
  • Dynamic ticket routing, queuing, escalation and notifications;
  • Call scripting;
  • Case Merge and Parent/Child tools;
  • Define Status reasons;  and,
  • Service Configuration and Management consoles.

Microsoft built these new cloud services on the Parature web-based customer care solution it acquired last year and integrated with Dynamics CRM.
The Spring 2014 Dynamics CRM update also includes a number of SharePoint Integration Enhancements for managing documents stored in SharePoint from within Dynamics CRM.
There is a new CRM Online Admin Center for administrators that is comparable to the Office 365, Exchange, Lync and SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business Admin Centers.
Dynamics CRM Online and Dynamics Marketing can now be purchased with Office 365 and share the identity management, Single Sign-On and available multi-factor authentication services provided via Microsoft Azure Active Directory services.
Microsoft’s recent launch of Office Mobile on iPhone and mobile versions of Excel, OneDrive for Business, PowerPoint and Word that deliver Office for iPad nicely complement the Lync 2013, OneNote and OWA mobile apps already available to Office 365 subscribers.
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM tablets app provides a consistent user experience for Windows 8, iPad and Android tablets, as well as, a local data cache for offline viewing.
Perhaps the most impactful part of the Spring 2014 update is the addition of cloud support for Server-side Synchronization of emails, tasks, calendar appointments and contacts between Dynamics CRM Online and Exchange Online for Office 365 subscribers (i.e., Outlook).  It sounds technical and it is, but what organizations that deploy CRM and struggle with user adoption (and they all do) need to understand is that it “AUTOMAGICALLY“ synchronizes CRM with Outlook AND users’ mobile devices via ActiveSync which allows users to continue to work in their “Outlook comfort zone” on the PC, as well as, lookup, view and interact with Dynamics CRM using the native messages, contacts and calendar apps on their mobile devices – instead of having to install, learn and launch a separate mobile CRM app.  Thus helping achieve the “enter it once, use it anywhere” functionality that users demand with much greater ease of use and a lower learning curve.
Use the links below to explore on your own or contact me at [email protected] or 301.960.0477 if you want to learn more about how you, your team or your entire company can leverage the Microsoft Cloud to achieve unprecedented levels of collaboration, integration and productivity!
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Release Preview Guide
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Service Description
Microsoft News Center – Microsoft unveils new marketing, customer care and social listening capabilities