Product Team provides Interactive Roadmap for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Team has released an interactive roadmap to provide deeper insight to the future of the development of the product.  The roadmap is segmented into product areas for Dynamics Marketing, Microsoft Social Engagement, Dynamics CRM On-Premise and Online.  Each product area has sub categories to provide additional detail within its respective roadmap.  For example, in the screenshot below, Dynamics CRM Online is the product area, with sub categories of Sales, Service, Social, Mobile, Intelligence, and App Platform.

Items within each of these sub categories are segmented by Release Stage as follows:

  • What’s New
    • Items recently completed and released within the product, such as CRM App for Outlook for Dynamics CRM Online
  • In Preview
    • Items which are available within the product, but under a public preview term and not fully supported by Microsoft as a result, such as Cortana Integration for Dynamics CRM Online
  • In Development
    • Items currently underway which will either move next to “In Preview” or “What’s New”
  • Postponed
    • Items which were previously planned for development, but were postponed and possibly no longer to be developed by the product team.
  • Previously Released
    • Summary of items completed within the roadmap, such as Embedded OneNote for Dynamics CRM Online

roadmap

It is my hope that this will provide greater insight to customers and partners alike for the future of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.  Download the Release Preview Guide to review all of the details of the most recent release.

Microsoft Surface: How will it fare with the Enterprise user?

With the announcement of the new Surface tablet, Microsoft is on the verge of going head to head with the Apple iPad and relegating Android to third place in the tablet market. While this is interesting purely from an Apple v Microsoft competition standpoint, it also could provide Dynamics CRM with a mobility game changer for the Enterprise space. As everyone already knows, the tablet of choice is the Apple iPad for home and business users. It is the business user segment that upon which this blog post will focus.

Market Share
According to the latest numbers from Netmarketshare.com, iOS dominated the Mobile/Tablet space with a resounding 66% of total market share, Android with 20% and Windows Phone (7, 7.5) only had one percent overall share. Safari had the largest browser market share for the Mobile/Tablet space, also at 67%, with the Android browser coming in second with 20%. Again, Microsoft Internet Explorer was poorly represented with only a one percent share.

Figure 1: Total Market Share – Mobile/Tablet OS (www.Netmarketshare.com)

Figure 2: Total Market Share – Mobile/Tablet Internet Browser (www.Netmarketshare.com)

Enterprise Acceptance – Usability
Noted in the numbers above, Microsoft Surface will have to come out of the gates strong in not only functionality/usability but pricing to supplant the iPad or Android.

Enterprise iPad and Android users do not typically view the devices capabilities the same as they would enjoy on a standard notebook or ultrabook.  Applications built for iOS and Android allow users to remote control or emulate their desktop experience for those functions that are not yet tablet capable.  Microsoft is wagering that the Surface tablet will provide the best of both worlds.  Tablet ease of use and the power and capabilities of a Ultrabook.

Windows 8 does offer the enterprise user a unique “touch” experience, incorporating all of the core Microsoft programs (Windows, Office, etc.), but may cause some users to struggle to get back to a more “classic” experience such as Windows 7.  ZDNet had a less than stellar usability review of Windows 8 Pro on the Surface tablet.

While Microsoft Windows, Office and Dynamics products are moving toward the new “Windows 8 Style UI” (…ahem code name “Metro”), it will take some time for non-Microsoft programs to catch up.  How this will translate into early adopters from the Financial Services, Technology and Healthcare industries, which are key iPad/tablet user populations, remains to be seen.

Lastly, the announced Microsoft cover/keyboard/mouse must work well and avoid the version 1 glitches as much as possible.

Enterprise Acceptance – Pricing

Microsoft has not yet revealed the pricing for the Windows 8 Pro model, which will be most prevalent within Enterprises.  In order to compete with iOS and Android devices, the 64GB Pro model will have to be in the $800 – $900 price point at its highest.  If pricing comes closer to similar ultrabook pricing of $1000 – $1300.

What does Surface tablet success mean to Dynamics CRM?

Microsoft CRM has opportunity to significantly improve its mobile options with the “Metro” UI interface for CRM, which will have its optimal experience on the Surface tablet (and other Windows 8 tablets, when available).  The convergence of Windows 8, Office ’13, Dynamics CRM and Yammer could definitely prove to be a game changer against Salesforce.com and others in the CRM space.  If Surface does not prove successful, Microsoft will have to revisit and bolster its mobile options for the on-premise customers, or continue to count on the partner community for innovation in the mobile solution.

What do you think?