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Microsoft Preps Dynamics CRM Update for December

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Posted November 1, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

New Dynamics CRM features to loosely coincide with Microsoft's sweeping Windows OS and Office 2013 revamps.

Capitalizing on the wave of new product releases that have swept over the company, Microsoft announced today that its Dynamics CRM suite is getting some big updates before the end of the year. The service update encompasses a wide range of enhancements, from new social enterprise features to improved cloud integration.

Last month, following the release of Windows Server 2012 in September, Microsoft officially launched Windows 8 and the Surface tablet. Meanwhile, Office 2013 has crossed the critical release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone.

Next month, it's Dynamics CRM's turn.

Microsoft is promising wide-ranging improvements to its customer relationship management (CRM) platform in a bid to continue Dynamic's upward trajectory in the market and brisk upgrade schedule. According to the software giant, Dynamics CRM has enjoyed 33 consecutive quarters of double-digit revenue growth and is closing in on its 3 millionth seat.

In a nod to the rise of the social enterprise, the December update features deeper integration with Yammer and Skype for enhanced, social-enabled collaboration. For example, "With Skype, users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM can now initiate voice and video communications directly from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, enabling businesses to open communication channels and connect with individuals inside or outside of their organization," says Microsoft.

The service update is a bid to move away "from the traditional data-centric approach," says Microsoft. Dynamics CRM will chart a more visual course in helping users navigate business processes, a signal that new UI experiences await. Also new are configurable best-practice sales and service business process definitions.

Other features include Office 2013 support, embedded Bing Maps and improved cross-browser compatibility. Microsoft is also addressing mobility and cross-platform support in an effort to ensure that Dynamics plays well with PCs, smartphones and tablets -- even if they run rival browsers and operating systems.

The update supports Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome on Windows PCs while Mac users can access Dynamics CRM on Firefox and Safari. Microsoft is even targeting the iOS flavor of Safari, keeping iPad users in the fold.

A Windows 8 app is also on the way. The company previewed a tablet-friendly version of the software which is set for a mid-2013 release.

New cloud features include support for custom Microsoft .NET Workflow Services and new bulk data APIs which, according to Microsoft, will add flexibility and large data set support to Dynamics CRM Online deployments. Finally, Microsoft is stepping up security with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS 140-2) support.

All told, the Dynamics CRM updates were developed with mobile sales and customer service professionals in mind, says Microsoft Dynamics CRM corporate vice president, Bob Stutz.

"We've re-imagined the business process and infused new communication and collaboration capabilities powered by Skype and Yammer. We continue to help sales and customer service professionals drive new levels of productivity on the browser of their choice, and across a wide range of devices," said Stutz in a company statement.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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