In March, Microsoft announced new mobile capabilities for Dynamics CRM as part of a planned upgrade scheduled for Q2 2012. There’s been a lot of excitement generated by this new mobile feature, which will support native MS CRM apps on all your favorite devices, including iPhone, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, and Android. We’ve gone through the pre-release Microsoft roadmaps, and put together some key points on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile.
Overall, this is a vote of confidence by Microsoft in the BYOD revolution–it’s not too strong a word–in the business world. With this upgrade, on-the-go sales and marketing staff will have access to Microsoft CRM data on the gadgets that they’re most comfortable with. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Users will be required to separately subscribe to the Dynamics Customer Relationship Management Mobile Service, regardless of their current deployment. Mobile CRM will connect to either premises- or cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics CRM systems.
- A Dynamics CRM Mobile Service subscription covers three mobile devices per user. Other vendors typically charge per user, per device.
- There will be offline access, except by Windows Phone 7, to CRM data, which then can be synchronized when the network becomes available again. Windows Phone 7 sync capability is in the roadmap.
- Microsoft will continue to support 3rd-party mobile solutions.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile will support true native applications, not just generic browser capability, for IOS, Android, and Windows 7 systems.
- But there will be comprehensive cross-browser access for Dynamic CRM Mobile. Users will be able to view CRM end-user pages from Safari (version 5.11+, Apple only), Chrome (version 13x, Microsoft only), Firefox (version 6+), and IE (7.x+, Microsoft only). Access to admin functions will be through IE only.
While cross-browser capability on multiple devices is powerful, Microsoft has focused on the native apps, making sure that users will get the best possible experience. The idea here is to preserve screen real-estate and just provide the CRM records, forms, and CRM navigation capabilities that are needed for specific roles— a unique iPad interface for Marketing, and another for Sales. Admins can configure these profiles from the Setting area, and once changed they will be reflected on everyone’s device.
Before we forget, there will be access to unique device capabilities, such as GPS. In the iPad demo we viewed, it was possible to quickly generate a direction map from a current location to the address of a client found in an Account record within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.