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 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.