Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is sensational! It's exciting because there are many new enhancements and advancements that will improve user experience and clarify business processes. CRM 2013 also improves usability across multiple browsers and devices. Here are the top 10 features new features of CRM 2013 that will surely profit your organization for years to come!
1. Command Bar
The left navigation used in previous versions is gone, replaced by the touch-friendly, yet mouse-friendly Command Bar. Each command features a down arrow to the right indicating there is a menu below it. The commands are layered, so selecting a command reveals additional options.
In the screenshot below, you can see that when you select Sales from the main navigation, you are presented with the sales functions. Selecting the arrow next to Accounts displays the recently viewed Accounts.
The Command Bar drops down from the top when you run your mouse over it or touch it with a touch screen.
2. Simplified Navigation
Rather than using a ribbon displaying every option to the user, the navigation is streamlined to a few commands. The user can select the ellipses called the MORE COMMANDS button to find relevant commands for the records in context.
In addition, small icons such as the pin icon above replace buttons on the ribbon in previous versions. The screen capture below shows how commands relevant to the chart appear as icons on the chart rather than buttons on the ribbon.
The filter on the view is also shown as a small icon to the top right of the view.
3. Flat User Interface
While navigating CRM 2013, you will notice the absence of pop-up windows. Similar to a website, clicking an item in the navigation replaces your current view with the new page. You can use the back button to take you to your previous page.
Therefore, as show in the Account image below, a record opens up right within the same window—NOT a new window or tab. To navigate out of the record, you do not *close* the record, but rather you just select where you want to go on the top navigation.
You may like to use pop-out windows periodically to compare two records or to multitask. In that case you may click an icon in the top right corner to pop the window out.
As you might imagine with the flat navigation, it's easy to exit records in CRM 2013 without giving it much thought. That is why Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 now has the ability to auto-save records as you edit them. While editing a record, CRM saves the record every 30 seconds. And when you leave the record, it is auto-saved. While this feature can be disabled in the Settings, having an auto-save will significantly reduce clicks for power users who had to save and close ever record in previous versions.
5. Business Process Flow
The concept of Business Processes was introduced in the December 2012 Update of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, but it was limited to the Lead, Opportunity, and Case entities. With the release of CRM 2013, organizations can now create processes for any entity, as well as processes that go across entities. (Think Opportunity that turns into an Order or a Project). In addition, multiple processes can be created for the same record type and made available to users through security roles.
The method of creating Processes in CRM is just like creating workflows or dialogs. For the intermediate level technical person who has mastered the toolset, modifying and adding processes will be fairly straight forward.
6. Social Pane
Referred to as the "Record Wall" in previous versions, the social pane appeared first in the December 2012 release of CRM Online on the Lead, Opportunity, and Case. It allows you to view and create social posts right on the record. You can see posts automatically generated, such as when the record is created. The social pane also allows the users to create notes and activities in a simplified form—making it much easier for users to see and record what is going on with this record.
In CRM 2013, the social pane has now been extended to most other types of records. Also included is the ability to add all types of activities in addition to the Task and Phone Call.
Using the buttons in the top right of the newly created activity, the user can expand the activity to see all the notes or open the activity to view, edit, or complete it.
7. Quick Create Forms
Whenever the user clicks create on the top right of the screen, the form that is displayed is called the Quick Create form. This allows users to fill out a subset of fields needed to create the record. What's neat about this is that it does not disturb the record you are on. The Quick Create allows you to multitask should you get a phone call or want to make a note while you are working on something else.
Administrators can modify the Quick Create forms through the customizations area in CRM 2013.
8. Portable Business Logic
OKAY, it's techie time!! Completely new to CRM 2013, portable business logic is a wizard that allows you to create logical functions on the form including hiding and showing fields, enabling or disabling fields, showing a message, or setting the requirement level on fields.
9. Quick View Forms
For a long time, organizations using Microsoft Dynamics CRM have wanted the ability to show fields from another record on a form. Well, it's finally here! With Quick View forms, you create a form on one entity, and then add it to another entity. The fields are read-only, but phone number and Email fields are active.
In the example below, a Quick View form has been added to the Opportunity showing the contact information for the primary contact. Therefore, the user can quickly call or email the contact without leaving the opportunity.
Administrators can create multiple Quick View forms, as well as modify the layout for these read-only forms through the customizations area.
10. Real-Time Workflows
What will they think of next!? The ability to run workflows right on the screen? Yes! Real-time workflows in CRM 2013 have an amazing potential to streamline processes. Not only can you automate processes, but you can do it right in front of the users without slowing them down. This might mean creating records, creating activities, or updating fields on the screen.
In the example below, when an opportunity is over $25,000, the Size of the opportunity is set to strategic.
As you can see from the list above, the CHANGE in user experience is greater than in past releases. There are MANY more features to discover with CRM 2013 beyond this post. One thing is sure—it will be critical for organizations moving from previous versions to provide hands-on instructions and training materials for end-users.
For more information, read out our blog on Preparing for the CRM 2013 Upgrade. You can also check our Dynamics CRM 2013 page, where we'll be posting the latest news, info and events regarding the new release!