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Latest Release from Microsoft for Dynamics CRM (Polaris)

Now that the December 2012 release for CRM Online has been applied and the Update Rollup 12 for CRM On-Premises has been re-released  (kind-of), I wanted to share my most recent thoughts after spending some time with the product.  If you want details on what was to be included please review one of my recent blog articles to get some ideas. To clarify, the Update Rollup 12 applies to On-Premises environments of CRM 2011 and will only have two main features: multiple browser support and the bulk data API. That being said, the server-side components were released last week and then pulled again due to some issues. Continue to check the link above for the latest updates as it should be re-released (for the third time) in the next week or so. That being said, I would give it thirty days to test it and make sure everything works properly.
By now all CRM Online environments should be updated with the Polaris release. That being said, each CRM administrator will need to go and enable the functionality themselves. To do this, go to Settings, Administration, Product Updates (if you do not have Product Updates, then your instance is not available to be upgraded yet).
Then just walk through the wizard and you are all set. In a few minutes you will have all the new functionality available to you, including:
–          Enhanced Forms and Process Driven UI (this is only applicable to the core entities (Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities and Cases)
–          Yammer Integration and Embedded Skype Support (click to dial- with new functionality to help a user quickly log a call in the system
–          Bing Map Integration– on the addresses for Accounts, Contacts and Leads only (though those are the main places you should be keeping addresses)
–          Multiple Browser Support– I tested with Chrome and works very nicely- this will require a lot of testing as you enhance the system to make sure everything is working properly
–          Custom Workflow Activities – this has been available for on-premises deployments but now available for Online as well
–          New SDK Features– take a look for yourself here but a few new items that may be useful
Just today some online training videos have been made available that are definitely worth checking out. Updated Training Videos
So what is next for Microsoft Dynamics CRM coming in February 2013:
–          Yammer social scenarios
–          iPad sales experience
Let me know your thoughts and experiences with the upgrade process and the new release. Very exciting!

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Robert Fitzer

As part of Perficient's Microsoft National team I manage our CRM practice. As part of the Microsoft practice senior leadership team I am focused on the stewardship of our Microsoft xRM/CRM Practice. The primary objectives of our Microsoft Practices are to drive consistent and successful sales and delivery of solutions within the CRM solution space across all Perficient business units. Areas of responsibility include: partner management, sales and marketing and delivery & staff enablement.

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