Microsoft Dynamics CRM fall 2013 release.jpg
Microsoft has just announced that it will release the next version of its Dynamics CRM on-premises and online products in the fall, although it hasn’t given a precise date. According to Microsoft, the new release will offer better customer experience management with customer insight and information accessible through a wide range of devices.

Precise details of what will actually be available in the fall have not been released, but it has outlined, in general terms, where it intends to offer improvements.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap

The fact that Microsoft is flagging the next Dynamics CRM release so far in advance is not really surprising firstly because these it fits in with Microsoft's previously announced intention of providing regular upgrades, but also because it is releasing the products into a highly competitive market and needs to keep market momentum around Dynamics CRM going.

In fact Microsoft has said from early days that the Dynamics CRM release cycle would consist of two big releases per year, and at this point a new release is now due.

Microsoft has also been clear in the past about where it is taking the Dynamics CRM application so, again generally speaking, there are no surprises.

Its long term vision statement for the product says:

Microsoft continues to see strong momentum and growth with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. We continue to lead with our strengths of productivity, flexibility and scalability to help businesses around the world drive results through our products and services …”

So what are we likely to see in the fall? Bob Stutz, Dynamics CRM VP outlined the thinking behind the fall release as follows:

Customers don’t want to be sold to anymore. They are knowledgeable and are interacting with their social and professional networks to make their buying decisions. They expect businesses to help them make the most informed choice … Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps people connect with these customers in a way that is personal -- giving them the information they need to choose the right solutions, engage to drive sales and nurture relationships to deliver amazing experiences.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM investment areas.jpg

Dynamics CRM principal investment areas 

Microsoft Marketing Automation, Processes

The result will be enhanced social collaboration capabilities that connects people and information. Specifically this means tighter integration with MarketingPilot, Microsoft’s marketing automation solution.

This will enable businesses automate the process of managing products, budgets and resources while monitoring marketing campaigns across all the social and digital channels used by the enterprise.

Overall, it helps enterprises understand the digital footprint of its customers and convert those footprints into leads, and ultimately sales.

A core part of this is the management of processes and, in particular, the ability to change processes as quickly as possible and according to needs.

We have seen in the past that "agile" technologies -- technologies that can respond immediately to changing marketing conditions -- will continue to dominate market demand in technologies.

This upcoming release of Dynamics CRM will offer  "agility" through the ability to change business processes like sales, services, invoking or any of the processes around marketing, keeping it agile not just in the online version, but also in the on-premises version.

Dynamics Interface, Mobile Clients

This will all be driven from a new interface based on what Microsoft describes as “industry-leading best practices” although what those practices are it doesn’t actually say.

However, we do know that it will be easier to move from lead creation and development to deal creation and deal closing quicker than it has been to date.

As part of the new, improved customer experience it has also said that it will introduce new mobile client applications for iPad and Windows 8 tablets with new touch-optimized mobile functionality for Windows 8 phones, iPhones and Android phones making Dynamics CRM accessible on just about any device available on the market.

Yammer, Lync and Skype were all made accessible from within Dynamics CRM last year and this functionality will be upgraded.

Finally, it has also announced that a limited beta version of the social monitoring and analytics solution Netbreeze, which it acquired recently will also be available in the fall. More on Dynamics CRM when it is finally released.