What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013: New Features & Comparison of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 versus #CRM2013 #MSDynCRM

This post, What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, lists the main new features in Dynamics CRM 2013 and compares them to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 where applicable (Crm 2013 Vs. CRM 2011). At the bottom of the comparison table, you will find links for the most important Dynamics CRM 2013 resources which are the customer center, developer center and Tech IT Pro Center. You will also find some informational files about Dynamics CRM 2013 and which are published by Microsoft.

I will continue to update this table frequently. All comments & feedback is welcome. Please comment below.


Original CRM 2011 Feature CRM 2013 New Feature

CRM 2013 New Feature/Benefit Description

Interface Left Navigation Pane New Top Horizontal Navigation menu bar New menu bar replaces CRM 2011 Navigation pane and designed to ease user navigation, free up screen space and create a consistent look and feel across desktop and touch enabled mobile devices.
Interface Top Ribbon Commands bar 5 buttons Action bar & a More actions CRM 2011 ribbon has been replaced by a simpler single line action bar with a “more actions” drop down list freeing up screen space for more data, charts and information on forms. Commands are related to what you are working on and change based on data and record opened.
Interface Get started pane Removed in CRM 2013 Removed to provide further screen space for information.
Interface Workplace Area & Dashboards No Workplace area. Dashboards specific for each area The Workplace Area has been removed and Dashboards and Reports are now part of every Work Area: Sales, Marketing and Service giving more room for data specific to each CRM Work Area.
Interface Popups No Popups. Edit Data Inline. Inline Editing: In CRM 2013, you can now click or tap a field to update info for a record right inline. No flipping to another screen. There are no more pop ups in CRM 2013.
Interface Quick Create Form Create new records using the Quick Create Forms on the go.In the top Nav bar, click or tap Create, and then select the type of record you want. Enter data for a few fields, or more if you have it. You can come back and fill in the gaps later when you have more time.
Interface Prominent Records Headers & Quick View Forms Surfaces important Customer information and highlights key data (such as phone number, status, record owner) on related forms so users always have their customer data at their fingertips. .
Interface & Devices Seamless Interface Experience Across all devices CRM 2013 is delivering a CRM experience that is consistent across web, client and devices.  Native device capabilities provide familiar tools and actions to get things done.Always know where you are within your sales process, easily complete key tasks and advance the process to reveal what’s next. Embedded Skype calling allows you to stay connected with your Customers.
Devices Dynamics CRM Apps for Windows 8 PC & Tablets, iOS (iPhones & iPads) and Android phones. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM phone applications will complete the mobility story by providing a touch-enabled mobile phone application experience for Windows 8, Android and iPhones. Phone applications will be launched following the General Availability of CRM 2013.
Devices Tablet Optimised Web Browser Experience Users that access CRM from the web browser on their mobile device will be presented with a web browsing experience optimized for the device. The “liquid layout” optimises the viewing experience, adjusting for various screen shapes and resolutions (landscape, portrait, 1, 2, 3 column). This browsing experience adds flexibility in how the mobile employees access their CRM data and includes offline caching for offline viewing so users can still access key data if connectivity is lost.
Deployment Write once, Deploy Everywhere. Configuration changes to the interface will persist in the tablet application. CRM optimises your web forms for the tablet layout. Even client-side logic is supported on the mobile device to deliver rich experiences.
Social Enterprise Collaboration Yammer Integration including users without CRM licenses. Users can participate in social conversations directly within Microsoft Dynamics, through the Yammer web and desktop applications as well as apps running on Microsoft (Windows Phone), Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) mobile devices.
Process Excellence & Agility Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 gives users visual guidance to navigate processes that makes workflows more prescriptive and easier to follow.New process bar prompts users to follow next action steps in line with your mapped workflows to progress leads, opportunities, service cases and other tasks.

Business Processes also have Stage-Gating feature that prevents users progressing any process to the next stage if one or more steps haven’t been completed

Business Rules Custom JavaScript Business Rules. Business rules in CRM 2013 now allows for native controls to be applied on forms instead of writing custom JavaScript as it was the case in previous version. These are client side enforced controls based on business conditions and allows for 5 actions:

  1. Set specific field value (including formulas & calculation),
  2. Set business required state for a CRM attribute,
  3. Set visibility of a field to visible or invisible (visible = false),
  4. lock and unlock Dynamics CRM fields / attributes, and
  5. Show an error message on a form if certain conditions are met.
Search Multiple Entity Search innew mobile client application. New mobile client application (MoCA) for Dynamics CRM 2013 will have multiple entity query (eg; a simple cross-entity search). The multiple entity search is configurable for up to ten entities and provides the capability in MoCA for mobile users to find the CRM data they need when working on their tablet
Customisation & Configuration Records Auto Save Users no longer need to click or tap Save when editing a record. By default, the system automatically saves any edited records every 30 seconds, or when users navigate to another record.
Customisation & Configuration Image Data Type Images are now First Class data type. Users can now associate images with CRM records including contacts and users
Customisation & Configuration Actions Developers can extend the functionality of the standard Microsoft Dynamics CRM system by creating custom messages, with associated request/response classes, known as actions. Actions are new type of processes to expand the vocabulary available for developers to express business processes. With core verbs like Create, Update, Delete, Retrieve, Associate and Assign provided by the system, an action uses those core verbs to create more expressive verbs like Escalate, Approve, Route, and Schedule. If the definition of the action needs to change due to changing business priorities, someone who is not a developer can edit the action using the application workflow designer. Since these actions are available through web service calls, they can be used from both inside the application using a command action or from external applications.
Customisation & Configuration Integrated Maps Integrated Bing Maps dynamically show the map for the primary record address.
Customisation & Configuration Skype & Lync Integration Skype & Lync integration enabling direct dialling from any phone number field in Dynamics CRM
Customisation & Configuration Workflows are Asynchronous. Real-time Synchronous Workflow The existing workflow execution model that supports asynchronous workflows has been extended to support real-time (synchronous) workflows. Real-time workflows are not queued, as was the case with asynchronous workflows, but execute immediately on-demand or in response to a message being processed by the execution pipeline. Real-time workflows participate in the database transaction and perform similar functionality to plug-ins, yet can be created by a non-developer through the web application workflow designer. Developers can still create real-time workflow through code.
Customisation & Configuration Role-Based Security (owner) Teams Only Role-Based Security Teams (owner Teams) and Access Teams Teams need to collaborate with a unique set of people within their organization for each record such as an Opportunity, order or important customer contact. CRM 2011 role-based security does not give users this level of flexibility. With a record-based access team, CRM users can be added to a specific record and give them access. The access team is a new type of team that doesn’t own records, but, has access to records. Unlike with owner teams, you can create one or more access teams to work on the same records and have team members with different levels of access rights to the record.
Customisation & Configuration Calculations and formulas via Business Rules Setting a field value in a business rule allows the use of formulas to do calculations for applicable fields such as fields of type “Money”. Addition, subtraction, multiplication & division are the calculation operations available and can be done between fields or values. So for example: set “Total Box Value” field value to “Price per item” field multiplied by “24”. (assuming every box has 24 identical items for instance).
Office 2013 Support for Office 2013 CRM 2013 for Outlook will be supported in Microsoft Outlook 2013 providing contextual capabilities directly within the Outlook experience. Word merge for documents and emails will be supported in Microsoft Word 2013, and the ability to export data to Microsoft Excel for analysis and reporting will be supported in Microsoft Excel 2013.
Web Services & Endpoints Support for Oauth protocol & enhancements to OData web service Endpoint. CRM 2013 includes several enhancements to provide flexibility to deliver powerful mobile applications. Added support for OAuth protocol that is RESTFUL and easier to support for Mobile/Tablet applications. These applications, once they are authenticated through OAuth, can then use either the SOAP endpoint or the REST OData endpoint. The OData web service endpoint has been enhanced with the addition of authentication support for external mobile and rich client applications. Previously, the OData web service endpoint supported only pre-authenticated client (script) code provided in web resources.
Web Services & Endpoints Support for CRM 4.0 2007 Endpoint & Legacy features CRM 4.0 Service Endpoints & Features removed in CRM 2013 CRM 4.0 2007 service endpoints, CRM 4.0 plugins, CRM 4.0 client-side scripting and CRM 4.0 custom workflow activities no longer supported & will not work in CRM 2013.
Duplicate Detection Duplicate Detection during Record Create and Update Removed in CRM 2013
Server Side Synch Server-Side Sync will be used to integrate emails, activities and tasks with CRM 2013.Server-Side Sync will be doing the same work as the Email Router and more. Currently, Server-Side Sync will only work in the following scenarios:

  1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online → Microsoft Office 365
  2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise → Microsoft Exchange On-Premise.

Important Dynamics CRM 2013 resources can be found here:
CRM Customer Center: http://www.crmcustomercenter.com
CRM Developer Center: http://www.crmdevelopercenter.com
CRM IT Pro Technical Center: http://www.crmtechcenter.com

You can find more information in below CRM PDF guides / informational files published by Microsoft:


What’s changing, removed and not supported in the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Orion

Microsoft has announced some significant changes in the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM (on-premises), also known as Dynamics CRM Orion release. These changes are confirmed as of 18/06/2013 but may change before the release date.

Changes include the end of support Internet Explorer 7 for both Online (already ended) and On-Premise Dynamics CRM implementations. Also, Windows XP is no longer supported.

Most importantly, the Dynamics CRM 4.0 endpoints (2007 endpoints) are no longer supported in the next major release and Online organisations migrating from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online platform to the Microsoft online services environment (Microsoft Office 365), will need to upgrade or remove those extensions that require the 2007 endpoint.


Full details can be found here:

What’s changing on the implementation side:



What’s changing on the SDK side:




Update: 31/07/2013:

Following today’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz day by Microsoft for Dynamics CRM partners, here is a list of the main new features and functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 (Fall 2013):

  • Revamped and completely re-designed User Experience in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
  • Flexible Business process and Process Agility in the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Mobile Client Applications available.
  • Social CRM with Microsoft Yammer Integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
  • Outlook Client and Exchange Sync in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
  • Microsoft Online Portal Administration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
  • Upgrade Process in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
  • Business Rules with Dynamics CRM
  • Client Extensibility in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
  • Extensibility on the Server and Cloud with Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a Platform for Business Apps


More Updates soon.

Dynamics CRM automated deployment using dynamics crm developer toolkit from the SDK

Microsoft Dynamcis CRM developer toolkit that comes with the CRM SDK provides a wide variety of useful features. If you have created a Dynamics CRM Solution in Visual Studio using the Developer toolkit add-on that gets installed onto your Visual Studio, you can easily deploy your Dynamics CRM code directly by right clicking on the CRMPackage project of the solution and clicking deploy. This Deploy command will build and deploy all your plugins, custom workflows, web resources, etc.

In a previous post, I wrote about automated deployment of Dynamcis CRM using MSBuild from Visual Studio to your Dynamics CRM Server. In this post though, I will cover how to use the deploy command of the developer toolkit to automate your deployment of Dynamics CRM Visual Studio solutions onto your Dynamics CRM organisation.

The deploy command can be easily accessed from the Visual Studio Command prompt. You can then call the deploy command in the command shell. To make it easier, you can create a batch file that calls Visual Studio command prompt, navigates to where your CRMPackage project is and then finally calls the deploy command. This batch file can then be scheduled to run using a Windows Scheduled Task to automate the deployment of your Solution at pre-scheduled times.

Sample code for the deployment automation batch file to deploy the CRMPackage project is below:

call "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\bin\vcvars32.bat"
cd C:\Users\YourUser\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\CRM-Solution-Folder
devenv crm-solution.sln /deploy "debug"  /project CrmPackage

Enjoy! Tried and Tested.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Deployment Automation and Scheduling Automated Deployments using MSBuild scripts, batch files and other tools

Automated Deployment during the development of Dynamics CRM projects implementation is a time, effort and cost saving approach. A combination of MSBuild (MS Build) scripts, batch files and custom built console applications can provide a fully automated Dynamics CRM deployment and development life cycle.

Additionally, Microsoft Developer Toolkit which is released as a free tool part of the Dynamics CRM SDK provides an excellent deployment functionality (amongst many other useful features) but this is the subject of another post about automated deployment using Dynamics CRM SDK developer toolkit : http://www.mohamedibrahim.net/blog/2012/08/09/dynamics-crm-automated-deployment-using-dynamics-crm-developer-toolkit-from-the-sdk/ .

Examples of the most common deployment automation requirements in Dynamics CRM development projects:

1) Automated Deployment by getting the latest code from Visual Studio (via TFS – Team Foundaion Server) and deploying into a Dynamics CRM organisation on a server (local VM or a development/test server).

2) Export of Dynamics CRM default solution or a specific CRM solution package and importing the solution into another environment or Dynamics CRM server (or organisation). This is also known as Promotion: Promoting a CRM solution from one environemnt (such as Development environemtn) to another environment (such as test).

3) Export a CRM Solution from a CRM Server and then check in this exported solution file (the solution zip file) into TFS for backup or reusage.

These are the most commmon automated deployments used in projects but there could be many more based on projects requirements.

To achieve each on of these deployment automation setup there are a number of approaches and methods. I’ll try now to give some samples on how to do these automated deployments mentioned before:

You will need to create a batch file that calls an MSBuild file which in turn can do the operaton. The reason for using a batch file is that you can then setup a windows scheduled task to run the batch file at your chosen time for running the build. You can also add an auto numbering to the batch file if you want to increment the build number after every build. In this case, you will need to store the last build number in a separate text file.

The minimum that you will need in the batch file:

:: Check if Visual Studio command line is available. If not, then go to missing and end of file

if not exist “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\bin\vcvars32.bat” goto missing

:: Otherwise, call the Visual Studion Command shell.

call “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\bin\vcvars32.bat”

:: Call the msbuild file

msbuild myprojectbuild.msbuild /property:BuildVersion=%ver% /property:BuildDate=%builddate%>log\log_%builddate%_%ver%.txt

goto :eof


echo Visual Studio command prompt is missing


goto :eof


Your MSBuild file that will get the latest code Visual Studio code from TFS can be too long but I’ll try to give you below the main commands that you will need to perform:

 <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″ ?>

<!– All rights reserved for Mohamed Ibrahim Mostafa. www.mohamedibrahim.net Please leave this copyright notice if you use this file. –>

<Project xmlns=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003” InitialTargets=”Release”>


<!– Build version – alternatively these vallues can be passed from the batch file–>







<Target Name=”Get”>

<!– get latest source code from tfs –>

<Exec Command=”tf get Clinet.Name/MySolutionName /force /recursive /noprompt /login:$(TFSUser),$(TFSPassword)” />


<!– Build my visual studio CRM solution output binaries

<Target Name=”Build” DependsOnTargets=”Clean”>

<Message Text=”Building CRM solution code…” />

<!– Build all CRM-related outputs including plugins, scheduled tasks and user interface components –>

<MSBuild Projects=”Clinet.Name\MySolutionName\MyVisualStudio.sln” Properties=”Configuration=$(BuildConfiguration)”/>


<!– now you have the visual studio solution built. use a console application to deploy it into CRM server as follows –>

<!– Use plugin registeration developer console application (available in SDK) to deploy plugins and workflows –>

<!– or alternatively use the deploy command of the microsoft dynamics crm developer toolkit (from the SDK) to deploy the whole solution into your CRM server organisation–>

<!– using the deploy command of the developer toolkit will be covered in a separate post –>

<!– The following command uses a custom console application that I have built to export Dynamics CRM solutions –>

<Target Name=”Package” DependsOnTargets=”Build”>

<Exec Command=”MyCustomDeploymentTool.exe export solution=Default outputdir=myfolder\CRM discoveryurl=$(DiscoveryUrl) orgname=$(OrganizationName)” />

<!– parameteres discovery url and organisation name are parameters in the property group –>


<!–Now check in TFS and label your code using MSBuild commands –>

<Target Name=”Versioning” DependsOnTargets=”Package”>

<Exec Command=”tf add  /login:$(TFSUser),$(TFSPassword)” />

<Exec Command=”tf checkin MyProjectName\CRM_SolutionName_$(BuildDate)_$(BuildVersion).zip /login:$(TFSUser),$(TFSPassword)” />

<!– label TFS with the build number –>

<Exec Command=”tf label $(BuildVersion) MyProjectName/* /recursive /comment:&quot;Automatically labelled by Mohamed Mostafa build script.&quot; /login:$(TFSUser),$(TFSPassword)” />


<Target Name=”Release” DependsOnTargets=”Versioning”>

<Message Text=”Completed..”/>    </Target>


<!– All rights reserved for Mohamed Ibrahim Mostafa: www.mohamedibrahim.net –>

The console application that you can use to import or export a CRM solution will be the subject of another post. I think this post is too long already and I have spent good few hours writing it.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, ideas or feedback please write them in a comment below.

If you want the various MSBuild files, batch files, etc then please comment below and I’ll email them to you (I tend to collect requests and send the files to a whole group in bulk).

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 extensions, ideas, functionality and features

I have just finished a multi-million pound Microsoft CRM 2011 implementation that saw the team building and using every single extension and enhancement that you can do in CRM 2011. It was a pretty large project, with very tight timelines and for a very important client. I even talked to Brad Wilson, Microsoft CRM Product Manager, about the project and what we achieved during his visit to our offices in London. I am now aiming to deliver a series of posts about CRM 2011 that explains and describes some of the functionality, ideas and extensions we delivered for CRM 2011. This will be in a way to give back to the Microsoft dynamics CRM community and also a way to say sorry for being late in posting on my blog recently.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Full production version (RTM) launch release date (Release to Manufacturing)


Microsoft has announced that the launch of the new version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 release date (full production launch release to manufacturing) will be on the 20th January 2011 (20/01/2011).

Please click on register now to register free for the event and watch from anywhere in the world.

The source of this information is: http://crm.dynamics.com/online/flash/dynamicswidget.swf

CRM 2011 new features highlights: What’s new and Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 new Productivity functionality, Web Client & development enhancements (part 2)

 This post is a continuation of a series of posts about what’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and introduction to new features in CRM 2011. This series focuses on highlights and general list (bullet points) of new productivity and UI enhancements (UX) in CRM 2011 and it is not aimed as a detailed step by step guide to all dynamics CRM 2011 features. I’m hoping to write in the future more detailed posts about each and every Dynamics CRM feature but at this stage I’m focusing on the main new additions and improvements. Please read the previous post here for the full list of features.

  • Charting & Graphs: CRM 2011 comes with loads of charting capabilities and features. You can create a chart or a graphical representation of your data in few minutes and against any entity or group of records. You can then drill into the data represented inside this chart or graph. Drilling into data in charts is another way of navigation in itself. Business users can create charts and graphs themselves and can have their own dashboards without the need of development or developers involvement. Out of these charts, CRM 2011 users can create their own dashboards that would be then made of a group a charts and can have multiple dashboards with a variety of information.

  • Navigation enhancement in CRM 2011 include the new Home button which gets you to your homepage from any screen and anywhere you are on the system. There is also the recently visited button next to your home button which has links to all your recently used views and items including recently opened records. You can also pin items in this recently used menu so it will always be in the menu in the future and you can quickly jump to it whenever you need. This is useful when you have an account record for example that you use daily or you will extensively use over a period of time. You pin it to this menu and quickly go to it whenever you want. You also have your most used views so you can jump to them directly with one click.


  • Views selection: Another time saving navigation enhancement: You can now select which entity view you want to see before you actually click to open the open the entity. For example, you can click on the arrow next to the Contact entity–> select which view to open as in screen shot below:

  • Filtered Views: CRM 2011 now allows filtering of views similar to how excel filters work so you can filter what records to see within the view.
  • You have a graph & charting tool next to every view where you can view your records in a form of a chart, graph or any graphical representation you choose. You can also drill into the records in each section of the chart.
  • CRM 2011 Ribbon: The new ribbon now allows you to qualify a list of leads (multiple leads) via a button on the ribbon. You can also assign, merge, add to a queue and do a variety of other things to a selection of records of any entity type.

  • Connections: A new feature in CRM 2011 where records of different entities can now be connected to each other. So for example, you can now create a connection between a contact and an opportunity, a contact and a user, an account and a competitor. Basically any combination of two records from any two custom or system (customisable) entities can have a connection created between them. So you can now have a grid that shows all records of all entities that have a connection (i.e. related) to a specific record. Almost like a social networking capability for your CRM 2011 records.
  • Goals & Goals Managementin CRM 2011: MS Dynamics CRM 2011 now comes with out of the box built-in goal management feature. You can find this in the Sales section, Goals, Goals Metrics and Rollup queries. You can have a parent (main) goal for a department for example and child goals for individuals. You can also aggregate all CRM 2011 goals by individuals into the parent goal to see whether or not you are approaching your goal. Very useful feature for reaching sales targets and managing sales personals targets.
  • Queues: Now you can have each and every record in CRM added to a queue. You can add leads to any queue or any other entity. Previously in Dynamics CRM 4.0 you can only add cases to queues but now you can add any entity record to any queue you create.
  • Filters: Filters in views are built in CRM 2011 so that you can create a personal/shared view (similar to advanced find) out of a filtered view! Simply, add your filters –> Save this view —> Create a personal view (Advanced find) —> edit filters and add/remove columns —> Save personal view —-> Share the view with your colleagues.
  • Process automation and control: Workflows(process) and Dialogs. Workflows in CRM 2011 are now part of Processes. When you go and create a new process you decide which category your process falls under: Workflow or Dialog. Workflows are the standard Dynamics CRM workflows as in CRM 4.0. Dialogs are a completely new addition to CRM 2011. Dialogs are in effect UI scripts or a scripting tool that allows you to create a script with questions (prompts) and allow you to store the answers of these questions. It also allows branching where your dialog process or script changes its direction based on the answers you get from the customer. This is ideal for call centres where you need a structured process and scripts for call centre representatives. It can be used in a variety of other things as well including data entry for example. Responses to questions and answers are stored during the dialog and can be re-used further on in the process (as if they are variables in code), or they can be used to to update a record field value. At the end of your script, you can create, update & assign a record amongst many other steps that you can do.
  • Solutions Management: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has a new concept called solutions management. This is a totally new and unique way to build your own solutions. You can create and save your customisations and then share them with other users and clients. You can create a solution or import a solution created by another company and add it to your organisation. This is ideal for companies and partners who want to produce solutions and sell them on or re-use them as packaged solutions for other projects, sell them on the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM marketplace and so on. There are 2 types of solutions: Managed and unmanaged. A managed solution can be edited only by specific users and if exported and imported at nother organisation, users of the other organisation will not be able to edit or modify your solution. Managed solutions are fully secured and cannot be edited. An unmanaged solution can be edited by any user with an appropriate user role. A solution can have version number, It includes entities customisations, relationships with entities and other components, and security features based on user roles.
  • Import and export data: You can now create new entities while importing and you can dynamically create fields to map against source fields in the source data file such as an excel sheet.
  • SharePoint integrationbetween CRM 2011 and SharePoint comes now out of the box as a built in feature in CRM 2011 with no development or custom code needed.
  • SDK: The new powerful SDK for CRM 2011 has all full support for all the new features in CRM 2011 including Auditing, Security, charts (3D charts by Fetch xml) and much more.

Previous posts is this series:

CRM 2011 Outlook client

CRM 2011 Productivity enhancements (Web client, customisations, etc.) (part 1)

I hope this post was of some benefit for some of you. Please feel free to correct any possible mistakes in this post. As always, the post and information in this blog are all provided as is with no warranties and confers no rights.

New Features in Microsoft dynamics CRM 2011. Introduction to CRM 2011 new Customizations & Productivity functionality, Web Client & development enhancements

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011 & International worldwide Europe and United Kingdom (UK) CRM Dynamics Online launch. This post tries to answer these questions. The post is the next one in the series and collection of posts that discuss Microsoft dynamics CRM 2011 new features, changes, additions, add-ons and improvements. We discussed in our previous post CRM Outlook client for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 New features, changes, additions and improvements & gave a fairly quick introduction to the CRM Outlook client  (you can read the previous post here). This post is focusing on what’s new in Dynamics CRM 2011 Web Client (IE) and CRM 2011 Customizations, configuration and development o f the new Microsoft CRM 2011 version.

The number of additions, enhancements, improvements in CRM 2011 are estimated to be over 500 new features at least. Some new features are fundamental and others are minor changes that are aimed at making the lives of Microsoft CRM Architects, consultants and developers easier, much easier I would say.

Let’s now go through some of the enhancements in CRM 2011 without too much details and I will aim to do more detailed posts in the future on how to work on each main new feature.

  • Dashboards: CRM 2011 now has the big, major change which is the Dashboards. You can now build out of the box standard dashboards, graphical dashboards, charts, etc in CRM 2011. Building dashboards has been made easy enough so that business users can build dashboards for themselves without the need of CRM consultants or developers to build them unless they are advanced dashboards. Gone are the days (or at least I hope so) when CRM Consultants had to build dashboards for clients using Asp.net page, user controls a.k. widgets, etc. We can now very easily configure (can’t really call it develop) a dashboard in quick few steps. I think I will have to do a separate blog post to go through CRM 2011 Dashboards in detail.

Dashboards in CRM 2011

  • Records Navigation: CRM 2011 now has full records navigation in the web clients, so CRM users can just click on the next record or previous record buttons to navigate easily between CRM records especially in case they want to do a specific task on all records one by one. They no longer now need to double click a record, edit it, save it, close and then go back and open the next one. There is simply one button to get you to the next one.

CRM 2011 new Records Navigation feature snapshot

  • Headers & Footers: Every form for every entity record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 now can have footers and headers. Here is a screenshot:

CRM 2011 Headers & Footers screenshot

  • Sub Grids:You can now build sub grids in CRM web client for drilling further into CRM data.
  • Customise Tab: To customise (or customize for my American friends!), you now have a tab on ever entity that allows you to customise it without having to go to the settings –> customisations area as in Dynamics CRM 4.0. Obviously only users who have the relative security roles that allows them to customize entities can see this tab. Normal CRM users will not see this tab if they do not have the related security role.
  • Form editor: Forms customisation and editors are now much much simpler really. No more going between several screens to add fields and then go back to the main form to add the field. It is now as simple as drag and drop fields on the form, and as easy as creating a new field while customising the form, there and then. This will definitely lower down the time required for customisations as everything is handled from one screen.
  • Multiple Forms per entity: Every CRM 2011 entity now can have one or more forms. Each form can have different security roles associated, so you can basically have a form for each security role or in other words each group of users. So if you want not to display certain data to specific CRM user, you can just create a form that only has the data they need to see. Don’t confuse this with field level security which is also a new feature in CRM 2011. You can also add parameters to be passed to the Form from within the Form properties. This data from the parameters can be accessed in scripts for form and field event handlers.
  • Global Picklist – Option set: CRM 2011 now has a new field type which is Option set. An option set is in effect a picklist (or dropdown) field type but which is global to all CRM entities. So any entity form can add the same option set. This is quite useful when you have something like countries list or job types, etc. You can now create one global option set and then all entities can reference this option set.
  • Entity Forms left navigation: You can now edit every entity’s left navigation graphically (no JavaScript is needed). You can move (drag and drop) left nav items up and down, from one group to another group (for example from sales to marketing, etc) for each form. You can also remove specific left navigation links on any form. You can even hide all left nav items for a specific form for a specific entity. You can also rename any section (such as sales, etc..) and you can rename every left nav item using their properties dialog window. Again, no scripting required. You can add a new navigation item which can be pointing to a URL or to any web resource and you can choose an icon for it.
  • Publish within the customisation screen: Do all your customisation changes then click Publish button without the need to close or open any windows (horrayyy).
  • Auditing: CRM 2011 now comes with an auditing module included. You can enable and disable auditing for every entity. If auditing is enabled on an entity, all its fields become audited as well. You can then go through each field in this entity and disable auditing for it if required.
  • Field Level Security: You can now enable and disable field level security for every custom field (not customizable ones). If a field security is enabled, you can then go to Settings –> Administration –> Field security profiles and change the field level security for each field for as many profiles as you want. For example you can create a profile for temp employees and set certain fields as: Read, Update and/or Create. If you don’t tick any of these 3 options, Teams and users in this profile will not see this profile’s fields on the related entities’ forms. You can add teams and users for each field level security profile.
  • Form level Security: Every CRM 2011 form now can be secured against each security role. When you edit every form in CRM 2011, you will have an option on the CRM 2011 ribbon at the top that allows you to assign security roles to this form. So, you can either choose the option to display this form to everyone or you can select what security roles can see this form. Anyone who does not have the security roles assigned to this form, will not be able to view it.
  • Excel Import and Export CRM Data: CRM 2011 allows for the import and export of data to and from CRM and an Excel sheet. You can now add information in the excel sheet and import to CRM and vice versa. When you open excel spreadsheets with CRM data exported from CRM, you will be able to see all values for each picklist to change the values in the excel sheet and then import back to CRM. This is excellent for Sales and field employees who can work disconnectedly on excel sheets and then import to CRM at the end of the day. This is also very useful for data cleansing where you can export data, do a data cleansing exercise (wash it thoroughly) and then import back.


That’s it for this post. More blog posts are coming with more CRM 2011 features and capabilities. Next blog post will be a continuation of the productivity enhancements that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has.

The next post will be published very soon so, please watch this space.

// Update 1 November 2010——————————————

The new post, in continuation of this series can has been published and can be viewed by clicking here.

Hope this post was helpful. Please feel free to comment with your feedback and input.


Mohamed Mostafa

Disclaimer: No Warranty or Liability on this post:
As always, this post, like all other posts on this blog are presented as is without any guarantee or warranty and I’m not responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect information mentioned in this blog nor decisions made based on this post. Myself, Microsoft and my employer can not be held responsible for any of this post content or information.

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011? Introduction to CRM Outlook client for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 New features, changes, additons and improvements

This post and the following collection of posts will be discussing Microsoft dynamics CRM 2011 new features, changes, additions, add-ons and improvements. The post is based on a collection of quick notes that I have taken from a recent Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners event called Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Global Readiness Tour event that happened just 2 days before Microsoft Dynamics Convergence event in London. I attended this GRT and took these notes which might I must warn that the may potentially be not fully accurate, wrong or contains incorrect information. Further checks are advised in regards to the content of this post, related posts and all posts on the blog (you know I have to say that!)


The speaker on the technical session was Reuben Kippner and with all honesty, I think it was a brilliant session(s), straight to the point and most event delegates I spoke with liked his presentation and the way he puts information across. So well done Reuben.

One more thing before we delve into the details: I always try not to put my opinion or views in my blog posts as I prefer to put facts and straight forward information, so I’ll try to do this in this post as well but apologies in advance if I end up putting my views in some cases.

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Outlook client:

  • Now in CRM 2011, you can go and create a new email and then you will have the option of inserting resources from CRM records such as: Templates, Sales literature and Articles.
  • You can now have more than one organisation added to your Outlook. So you will have one organisation that you can set to synchronise with, and as many more as you want where you can view and access their CRM data in Outlook but do not synchronise with. Obviously you will only be able to synchronise with one of them only as you can sync with more than one and end up with data such as contacts and appointments from multiple organisations in your outlook.
  • CRM 2011 outlook client has been fully re-written and is not based on CRM 4 outlook client.
  • CRM 2011 outlook client is now native to Outlook which means you can do all your usual outlook configuration and settings to your CRM data in outlook.
  • For example you can now use outlook categories for your CRM records, etc.
  • Go to the View tab in outlook –> View settings –> Conditional formatting -> then all your Outlook formatting there can be applied to your CRM records in Outlook.
  • You also have reading pane for CRM 2011 data similar to how outlook emails are displayed. It is no longer a window to CRM data in outlook, it is actually displaying and using CRM data in Outlook based on Outlook native features and display settings.
  • You can now have multiple views in Outlook. So you can see all CRM views in your Outlook.
  • Please see below a screen shot of a CRM 2011 contact in outlook with the available views

The next post will be available soon, so watch this space.

Please comment below to let me know your views on the new additions in CRM Outlook client for CRM 2011 and all new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 in general.

Please also comment with any corrections to this post or any features that I haven’t listed (which I’m sure they are many).

Hope you like it!


//———————–Update on 21 October 2010—————-

The next post is now live. It discusses Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 & Online development and customisation enhancements and productivity functionlity in CRM 2011. Click here to go to the new Post

No Warranty or Liability on this post:
As always, this post, like all other posts on this blog are presented as is without any guarantee or warranty and I’m not responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect information mentioned in this blog nor decisions made based on this post. Myself, Microsoft and my employer can not be held responsible for any of this post content or information.