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Upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Microsoft is releasing the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 product from October 2013. There are some significant improvements in the user interface and some fantastic new features so it is an exciting release for Microsoft CRM users.

However, the change will have significant impact on everyone who upgrades or migrates to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. On-premise customers can take their time and decide their own upgrade timings but Online users will start being upgraded automatically from October. This could perhaps be a daunting prospect for some but we are here to help guide you and provide advice – please contact our team with your questions.

As a Microsoft partner we have been busy learning about the changes and new features to understand what impact it will have for existing users and customisations. We are also discovering the new features for our clients to make sure we can maximise the potential benefits from upgrading to CRM 2013.


How does the upgrade to CRM 2013 affects you?

There is a lot that is changing so it is imperative that you understand how it will affect your business. We’ll help you understand what is changing and when you need to be ready for the change.

The main questions and facts that you have to consider are:

When will the changes affect your system?
Technical, users and performance
What is new or has changed in CRM 2013 – get the most out of the new features of CRM 2013


When will it affect your system?

Probably the most important question so that you can start planning for the change. This could be as early as October 2013 if your system is using CRM Online.


Scheduled upgrades for Online organisations will begin in October 2013.

You may have seen an email or a warning message when you sign into CRM notifying you of your scheduled upgrade time. While you are able to delay your upgrade for up to 90 days giving you some more time to review upgrade steps, this time is not expected to be extended any further and you will have no choice but to move to CRM 2013.

Provided your customisations are done with the guidelines set by Microsoft and you don’t have any legacy CRM 4 code your CRM should upgrade without any technical problems, and your focus should be on the changes affecting users.

If you are concerned about how your CRM 2011 system will upgrade please contact us and we’ll be able to help.


When you are On-Premise you have time

You don’t have the time pressures that are imposed by the Online users (in fact CRM 2011 will have official mainstream support until mid 2016 ), however there are so many new features and enhancements that you will be denying your users and organisation the benefits CRM 2013 brings.

We can help you review your current system and guide you with your planning to ensure your transition to CRM 2013 gets you the best possible outcome. Please contact us to find out more.


Things you need to consider

  • Technical considerations
  • User considerations
  • Get the most out of CRM 2013


Technical considerations

Legacy features will NOT be supported in CRM 2013:

 

  • Dynamics CRM 4.0 plug-in
  • Dynamics CRM 4.0 client-side scripting
  • Dynamics CRM 4.0 custom workflow activities
  • 2007 web service endpoint
  • ISV folder support for custom web applications (for on-premise)

Support is discontinued for:


  • Windows Server 2003 (for on-premise)
  • Windows XP
  • IE 7

Important - The upgrade is ONE WAY road, there’s no turning back!

CRM 2011 Solutions will import to CRM 2013:

  • Solution Files will be converted to new format on Import
  • Solution Content will be upgraded into CRM 2013 Forms and Data engine updates
  • Both Managed and Unmanaged solutions will be supported

Forms

  • Forms stay as-is with all the existing customizations and layout and continue to work

  • Post-upgrade, you will be able to manually select to upgrade/switch to CRM 2013 forms, basic tooling to help the migration process built in

Plugins

  • With the new autosave feature your plugins may fire at unintended times causing your business logic to fail, or put unnecessary strain on the system. Plugins will need to be reviewed and modified to ensure they only fire when they need to. You may also consider removing some of your plugins and replacing them with the new synchronous workflow capability in CRM 2013, enabling your power users to control business logic that only developers could support in the past.

Unsupported customisations


  • "Unsupported" customisations are unlikely to work post upgrade so these will need to be identified and addressed as part of the upgrade process


User Considerations

Microsoft designed the new user experience to focus on how to increase user adoption and successful Customer Relationship Management. This radically different user interface is going to have the biggest impact on users and some planning is needed accordingly.

You will need to educate your users on the upcoming changes and what it means for them.
They will need to be trained on how to use the new interface and take advantage of the new features.


The User Experience

The user interface has been completely redesigned to provide a “flat” experience for users. Pop-up windows have all but been eliminated and you are now able to configure forms so that information from multiple related entities can be displayed in a single window. Some of the highlights are:

 

  • The ribbon has been removed and replaced with a top level navigation bar
  • The left hand entity navigation area has been removed
  • Forms by default auto save every 15 seconds (this can be turned off)
  • A visual business process bar can be shown on the entity form to help guide users through standard procedures – these processes can span multiple entities (up to 5)
  • You can now add an image to a record
  • A new “Phone” field type which enables click-to-call launching Skype/Lync
  • New “Quick Create” form type for creating new records – only display important fields to capture at initial creation
  • New “Preview” form type for displaying record information on a related record, for example Account information on a Contact form


Mobile Devices Capabilities

CRM 2013 comes with new mobile capabilities for the iPad and Windows 8 tablets, with the the primary goal - increased productivity for the salesperson on the go

 

  • Mobile optimised dashboard Charts (when online only)
  • Form design based on ‘re-flowing’ desktop form into mobile design – this means only have to configure forms once.
  • Tabs and sub-grids shown as columns in the mobile client
  • Personalization – Tiles can be pinned to Window 8 Start and Dashboard, can resize the dashboard, change column widths
  • Limited offline capability – read only, records visited will be cached and visible when disconnected
  • Business Process capability supported Multiple entity search – up to 10 entities can be configured for searching when using the mobile client


Outlook Client and server-side synchronization

  • The Outlook client has had many performance and stability improvements.
  • New “Server Side Synchronization” capability which enables server to server sync of email, tasks, appointments, via integration with Exchange Server. This alleviates the need for using the email router or Outlook Client to work with emails in CRM.
  • Exchange Online is supported or alternatively SMTP/POP3 (Gmail / Hotmail / Yahoo / MSN / Live / Outlook.com).


Other new features and functionality

  • Real time workflows – a very powerful feature that can minimise the need for plugin development. This type of workflow executes immediately and provides feedback to the user in real-time.
  • Actions – power uses can create custom actions (e.g. Escalate Case) which can be called in the client via web resources and via the API in custom code.
  • Data encryption options for data stored in the SQL database
  • New “Access Teams” security option – useful for assigning a group of people to a specific record (opportunity, case etc.)
  • Importing Solutions – Enhanced import performance and version specific imports instead of any version imports


Licensing

New licence options (online and on-premise):

 

  • Essential: Access to system entities, custom entitles, SDK access, activities and activity feeds.
  • Basic: Essential + Access to accounts, contacts, cases, leads, reporting personal dashboards and visualizations.
  • Professional: Basic + Access customizations and all other features.

New storage model for online: Additonal 2.5GB storage included for every 20 users up to a max of 50GB (default baseline storage is 5GB).

 

  • Additional instance add-ons for online.
  • Add production and non-production instances that existing users associated with the same Microsoft Online Service tenant can use.
  • One non-production instance is included with your subscription if you have 25 or more Professional Users.


Upgrading

  • Online customers should have been notified about any scheduled upgrades to the CRM software and/or the billing platform.
  • Support Discontinued for: Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and IE 7 CRM 2011
  • Solutions will import to CRM 2013, both Managed and unmanaged solutions will be supported; Solution files will be converted to new a format on import.
  • All supported CRM 2011 customizations (including custom scripts) will continue to work in CRM 2013. Because of the new auto-saving forms plug-ins may need some re-work to ensure they don’t fire unintentionally

 

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