I had the opportunity to attend the eXtreme CRM conference this week in Las Vegas, NV. This is the second of a series of blog posts, I will recap my activities and observations from Day 2 of the conference, focusing on the keynote presentation focusing on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap. You can also take a look at my quasi-live tweeting of my conference experience at http://twitter.com/crmhobbit.
Day 2 started with a keynote session that was on the minds of all of the attendees on day one…the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap. What would we see? Would they disappoint? Craig Dewar and Eric Boocock provided the keynote to an anxious audience.
Craig Dewar began the keynote with an announcement that an updated Statement of Direction from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product team would be forthcoming as soon as the week of 10/11/12. It was indicated that this statement would have more specificity than prior statement of direction deliverables from the product team. Driving the direction were the strengths of the platform, technology trends, forces shaping the market and of course, the competition (Salesforce, Oracle and SAP).
Strengths of the Platform
- Cloud on your terms
- Modern application architecture
- Business productivity
- One Microsoft customer experience (Web, Mobile, PC)
- Consumeration of IT
- BIG DATA
Forces Shaping the Market
- Geopolitics (worldwide regulatory pressures, for example)
- Salesforce “Social Enterprise”
- Oracle “Forced March to Fusion”
- SAP “Hana is the future”
The discussion then moved to what everyone was waiting to hear about, the release plans for the upcoming Q4 release, code-named “Polaris” and the Q2 ’13 release “Orion”. The Microsoft CRM roadmap was focused on creating compelling apps, providing tailored experiences and leveraging the already open and extensible platform.
Microsoft CRM Online customers will receive twice yearly releases, and On-premise customers will have a yearly release cadence. Each yearly release for on-premise customers will include a rollup of functionality released to CRM Online customers to create a sync point between the two offerings. It was also announced that the existing Update Rollup process and cadence would remain unchanged.
Polaris (Q4 Release)
The Polaris release will be available to Microsoft CRM Online customers, with the exception of the highly anticipated cross browser support, which will be available to both CRM Online and CRM On-premise customers. In addition, new “flat” UI will be released that, as demonstrated by Eric Boocock, will eliminate pop-up windows and begin the move to touch optimization. Additional features of the release include:
- Office 2013 compatibility
- Skype and Yammer integration
- Native Bing maps integration
- Custom Assembly and Custom Workflow availability for CRM Online
- Additional certifications for CRM Online to support Public Sector Government customers
Orion (Q2 ’13 release)
The Orion release will be available to both CRM Online and CRM On-premise customers. It was mentioned that the release is currently planned to provide the following features:
- Windows 8 UI (HTML5 experience)
- Exchange Sync (improvement to the CRM Outlook capability without the existing add-in, OWA support)
- Office 2013 “Productivity” (taking full advantage of the capabilities of Office 2013, as opposed to compatibility in Polaris release)
- Social collaboration with Yammer (enhancement from Activity Feeds)
Day 2 continued with “Advanced Topics in Business Processes” with Richard Knudson. Much of the information shared in this session can be found in Richard’s book, Building Business with CRM. However, the session was entertaining and informational…no simple feat when talking about Processes within CRM. One of the coolest functions that he discussed was how to use SQL statements as custom workflows. I strongly recommend getting his book, it has a ton of great tips, tricks and gotchas that everyone that uses processes should know. For my previous blog post regarding Richard’s book, click here.
My last session of Day 2 was “Ask the Experts – Thriving in the Social World”. Among the experts were Marc Wolenik, CEO at WebFortis Nikhil Hasija, Product Strategist at azuqua. The tone set with Paul Greenberg’s opening keynote continued during this discussion as we discussed the importance of a multichannel approach, the importance of implementing a social strategy and the emerging communication revolution. Great insight by the experts and a collaborative discussion between the attendees.
In the next and final post in the series, I will review Day 3 and assess the overall conference experience. Did you attend eXtremeCRM? If so, leave a comment and let me know what you thought about your experience at the conference and any sessions attended!