Dynamics CRM 2013 wireframe model template, free to use

CRM 2013 Wireframe templateAlmost every single project I’ve been on requires some proof-of-concept visuals to help win acceptance from the client. It also helps generate some excitement about the end results.  Of course, new implementations based on the latest 2013 version of Dynamics CRM are no exception.

So, as a consultant or analyst, what are your options? Some say you can simply build a quick model in a trial or development CRM system. However, I will argue that there are significant disadvantages to this approach.

  • Should the client want to make frequent or significant changes to the forms, it’ll take time to re-build each iteration.
  • Due to the messy nature of modeling in the CRM system, the solution cannot be used for production. Rebuilding a new, clean solution adhering to best practices is necessary.
  • Generating sample data to populate the custom forms can be a time sink.

CRM 2013 Wireframe template - Nav BarMy solution? I built a wireframe model template in Visio that allows anyone to model the system with greater flexibility.

The features of this template include:

  • A cover sheet
  • Custom entity form template
  • Custom entity form template (125% zoom for readability)
  • Quick Create form template
  • Entity Views template
  • Navigation Bar template
  • Stencil for CRM 2013 forms
  • Stencil for CRM 2013 Navigation Bar buttons

Some advantages to using this template:

  • The ability to actively work with the client and make instant changes during design sessions, thereby reducing the number of cycles needed to get approval.
  • Leverage the included custom stencils to drag-and-drop components to the form you are designing.
  • Modify any text on the template form to match your vision of the entity.
  • Add notes on the wireframes to visibly highlight key information.  Some possible examples:
    • Field properties
    • Option set values
    • JavaScript functionality
    • Integration notes
    • View filtering conditions
  • Use the Visio template to complement your documentation.

Now, if you decide to download and use this template by clicking on the link below, my only request is that you give me credit for my hard work by helping to spread the word via a link to this very post.  It would be much appreciated!

This contribution represents a thank you to the Dynamics CRM Community.  I got to where I am now because you shared your knowledge and contributions over the years. :-)

In the future, I may add some Dashboard wireframing options to this document.  Please let me know if it proves useful for you, and I look forward to your feedback!

-Christian Espinoza

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The “definitive” CRM 2011 Update Rollup build list

Looking for a comprehensive list of CRM 2011 build versions? Look no further, Microsoft has graciously provided the list for all of us.

Bookmark the below link!

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 updates and hotfixes
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2555051

The build list, as of October 2013:

Article number Article title Release date Version
2434455 How to obtain the setup updates for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 May 13, 2011 Not applicable
2461081 An update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available January 30, 2011 5.0.9688.53
2461082 An update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Release Candidate is available February 22, 2011 5.0.9688.583
2461083 The March 2011 update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available March 22, 2011 5.0.9688.590
2466084 Update Rollup 1 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available April 4, 2011 5.0.9688.1045
2466086 Update Rollup 2 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available June 2, 2011 5.0.9688.1155
2547347 Update Rollup 3 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available July 28, 2011 5.0.9688.1244
2556167 Update Rollup 4 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available September 22, 2011 5.0.9688.1450
2567454 Update Rollup 5 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available November 8, 2011 5.0.9688.1533
2600640 Update Rollup 6 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available January 12, 2012 5.0.9690.1992
2600643 Update Rollup 7 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011 is available March 22, 2012 5.0.9690.2165
2600644 Update Rollup 8 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available May 3, 2012 5.0.9690.2243
2710577 Update Rollup 10 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available August 16, 2012 5.0. 9690.2730
2739504 Update Rollup 11 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available October 11, 2012 5.0.9690.2835
2795627 Update Rollup 12 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available January, 2013 5.0.9690.3236
2791312 Update Rollup 13 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available March, 2013 5.0.9690.3448
2849744 Update Rollup 14 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available July, 2013 5.0.9690.3557
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September update: CRM 2013 anticipation, and a fresh new look!

Peace, Love, and CRM

To the CRM community,

After a much lengthy hiatus from blogging, it feels good to be back!   :-)  To celebrate my homecoming, I decided to go with a very Microsoft-y look to this blog; let me know if it’s a keeper!  I hope to consistently bring great new content soon, so please check back regularly.

The siren call that brought me out of my semi-retirement from blogging was, of course, the recent announcements regarding Dynamics CRM 2013.  The information outlined in the CRM 2013 Release Preview Guide hint at a compelling new look and significant new features.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013's new UI design

Some key highlights:

  • A fresh and modern UI experience that focuses on usability and mobile device interaction.   This cleaner and flatter design aligns with the current look of Office 2013, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.  Virtually no popups compared to previous versions of Dynamics CRM, which is great for user adoption.
  • Simplified data entry with a new “Quick Create” form and inline editable grids.
  • A new Customer Summary feature that outlines the profile of customer records with images, mapping capabilities, and a new “Quick View” form for easy access to key data.
  • Enhanced Process functionality that, in my opinion, is the star of the new version.  New features include a point-and-click process designer interface, guided business processes, role-specific process assignments, and the ability for processes to span across multiple entities.  Truly empowering for the CRM Designer!
  • Embedded Skype integration to stay connected with customers.
  • Touch optimized UI interface as well as mobile phone and tablet applications for users on the go.

I’m currently evaluating the Dynamics CRM 2013 Beta version to get up to speed with these new features and share them in detail with you when the time is right.   Stay tuned!

-Christian

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Better together: Mobility, Windows 8 and Dynamics CRM

Note: this article was also published within the Avanade Blog community.  Check it out!

Windows 8 and Dynamics CRM UI Refresh

These are thrilling times for technology.  With the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 and the debut of new hardware like the Surface tablet, Microsoft is taking a very calculated leap of faith in the mobility trend. The effect of Windows 8 on the average consumer will be interesting to watch but the real question is the impact of this technology on the business world. More specifically, I’m excited to see how Windows 8 will enable new mobile CRM options and impact how businesses manage customer relationships with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In my last post, I’ve outlined a clear case for the mobile CRM trend in the enterprise.  It would make quite an impression to customers if your salesperson schedules an appointment, creates an order, and automatically e-mails an invoice on the spot – all on their tablet PC.  This sample scenario highlights two of the most evident advantages to mobile CRM: improving productivity for on-the-go users and enhancing customer relationships.

So, as we look ahead regarding Windows 8 and Dynamics CRM, what do we know now, and what can we expect to come?

 

Choose Your OS: Windows 8 RT vs. Pro

Before contemplating the future of Dynamics CRM, it pays to review the hardware and OS options at hand.  Organizations must first decide which of the existing two versions of Windows 8 to focus on: the tablet-oriented RT version and the full true version of the OS –Windows 8 Pro.  The essential difference between the two boils down to one question: will your organization ever need to run legacy Windows applications?

New hardware releases like the Microsoft Surface RT permit a lower cost mobile hardware solution for your organization, but can’t run legacy applications designed for Windows 7 or older versions.  In contrast, the soon to be released Windows Surface Pro and other similar PC’s running the Pro version are true laptop replacements. Although a costlier option, it can provide tablet mobility and legacy app support without the cost of remaking your current business application environment.  Both have their pros and cons, and a review of your organization’s existing architecture should be considered before any Windows 8 implementation is begun.

 

Dynamics CRM Refresh: Now More Mobile Friendly

For years, Dynamics CRM 2011 has made positive waves across the business world, but Microsoft decided a “refresh” is in order to align the software with the recent release of Windows 8 and Office 2013.  So far, Dynamics CRM insiders are aware of two future releases in the pipeline.

The first and upcoming December 2012 Service Update for Dynamics CRM 2011 is no slouch.  Highlights include cross-browser support, touch optimized interface, a new “Flow” user experience to enhance workflows, native integration with social and communication apps like Skype and Yammer, a refreshed Office 2003 design user experience, and an enhanced API for developers. These forthcoming features are exciting to contemplate and they immediately prepare your Dynamics CRM deployment for the mobile future.

The next release, code name ‘Orion,’ is the second known future release of Dynamics CRM.  Not many details are currently available, but what we do know is that it is the next major release version for Dynamics CRM and is planned for the second half of 2013.  We can predict that Orion will be similar in style to the December update but powered by its own unique code base, along with expanded customization and development tools for a better mobile experience.

 

Better together: Mobility, Windows 8 and Dynamics CRM

In the past, Dynamics CRM offered a mobile solution but with a limited deployment and utility.  Its best experience resided primarily on the desktop.  With Windows 8, the future is a new open frontier for mobile CRM applications.  Immediately available in the Windows Store are powerful Windows 8 apps like Power8CRM, Resco Mobile CRM and Dynamics CRM KPI, which leverage all the latest features in Windows 8 to deliver compelling mobile CRM solutions.  More are sure to be available very soon in 2013.

Ultimately, the best experience for your mobile users lies in application solution tailored the way you do business. With the latest in mobile PC hardware, CRM ecosystem and infrastructure, the keys to a successful mobile CRM implementation are in place.  Microsoft Windows 8 and Dynamics CRM are now poised to bring all this technology together into an ideal solution to meet your mobile requirements and support your mobile users.

 

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Personal update, and the latest news roundup on Dynamics CRM 2011

I jumped like this guy, but I strained something bad.

To the Dynamics CRM community,

My apologies for not being as faithful to this blog as of late; there have been big changes!  After five awesome years at Emerging Solutions, I’ve decided to move on and sign up with Avanade.  I’m leaving not just talented colleagues at Emerging Solutions, but great friends as well.  Due to our combined efforts, the Microsoft practice and especially the Dynamics CRM team has grown tremendously in recent years, and I wish them continued success!

Onwards to the future.  After several weeks at Avanade, they continue to impress.  I really could not ask for more regarding the resources they provide in my role as a Consultant.  They’ve invested in the CRM team by having me attend a CRM Boot Camp with @coloradojules and @davidyack, showing their solid commitment to their employees.  Additionally, their international presence demands a new level of consulting, and I hope to quickly get up to speed and make waves.  Undoubtedly, my goal is to be the best while learning from the best.  Many thanks to the Avanade team for making me feel welcome!

Finally, as many of you already know, the Dynamics CRM Team has been feverishly busy making CRM 2011 even more awesome.  Check out my news roundup below for the latest.

  • The Dynamics CRM 2011 Roadmap announced that Service Update R8 is coming soon with big changes this end of Q2.   Download the Release Preview Guide here!  A quick summary below.
    • Mobility:  a new cloud subscription service called Dynamics CRM Mobile will provide rich native apps to several mobile devices.  CRM, anywhere.
    • Browser Flexibility:  this is a big one.  Dynamics CRM will soon run on any modern browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) on various platforms.  Non-Windows users should be pleased (you know who they are).
    • Social:  updates to the popular Activity Feeds will be added, with features such as a Like button and filtered views.
    • Industry Templates:  new verticals like Life Annuity Insurance, Non-Profit, Health Plan Sales, and Wealth Management continue to address customer needs.
    • SQL Server 2012:  the latest version of SQL also is supported for CRM 2011, with significant performance boosts.
    • Certifications:  Microsoft data centers and extension Dynamics CRM Online achieved compliance on important certifications regarding cloud computing standards.
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