With the “ink” barely dry on the release of CRM 2015 in the fourth quarter of 2014, and with many CRM Online customers still waiting for their scheduled update sometime in Q1, it might seem like it’s too early to start looking forward to some of the changes coming in calendar year 2015 for Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM application. However, the same way business development never rests, neither does Microsoft and their CRM team (and of course their partners)!
With that said, here are a few things we at eLogic will be looking for in 2015.
1. A Continued Focus on Cloud
As we wait (more or less) patiently for CRM Online to begin leveraging Microsoft’s powerful Azure platform, we continue to see Microsoft encouraging more and more customers to take advantage of their current online offerings through aggressive pricing and promotions ($65 per user per month for CRM Professional + PowerBI + Office365), the promise of reduced infrastructure complexity and cost, and of course improved integration with some of Microsoft’s cloud-only offerings like Social Listening and Dynamics Marketing.
While Microsoft recognizes that some customers, due to any number of business reasons, simply must stay on-premises, they are working hard to make the case that the time to break free of your data center is now. Expect to see Microsoft continue this push and further incentivize new customers to leverage the power of the platform by using the Microsoft cloud to host their Office, CRM and other productivity apps.
2. New Releases for Spring Wave
With a new year of course comes new software versions. Details remain sparse, but we do have rumored code-names a few other tidbits.
CRM “Carina” will likely be released in the Q2 / Q3 timeframe as an update to both on-premises and online versions of the CRM 2015 application, and will be the first major update to CRM 2015. Most likely released as a service pack, it remains to be seen what features or enhancements Microsoft will include in this release.
Social Listening “Corvus,” Dynamics Marketing “Spica,” and Parature “Taurus” will also all be likely released in 2015 as updates to these cloud-only apps. Despite some swirling rumors, we have not heard anything about on-premises versions of these applications, further supporting Microsoft’s expected continued cloud-focus.
3. Improved Mobile Apps with Improved Support
CRM 2015 finally brought with it support for Android 4.4 “Kit Kat,” and fans of the extremely popular open-source Google platform rejoiced. Although Android 5.0 Lollipop support has not been announced, the currently small user-base for that version of the OS doesn't merit any extreme concern at this point.
Of course Microsoft continues to tweak its iOS and Windows Phone apps, and we expect these to improve incrementally in 2015 and potentially integrate some of the improvements the tablet app has seen in recent months, such as the ability to easily switch between Dynamics organizations and improved support for more form types (for instance, Quotes).
The Microsoft native application is still a little tricky to set up for on-premises customers due to the need for an Internet Facing Deployment (IFD) and a requirement for Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), both of which require assistance and specific configurations by the customer’s Information Technology department. Of course, Microsoft-hosted Online customers don’t face these challenges and enjoy native mobile functionality out of the box; something we’d love to see for on-premises customers (and something third party apps have managed to accommodate).