This fall, Microsoft will be releasing version 2013 of Dynamics CRM, code-named Orion. A new version means brand new features aimed at improving every aspect of the application. In this series of articles, we will take you from user experience and new functionality through technical improvements to the upgrade process to demonstrate that the wide range of transformations make this release notably compelling.

In this article, we will show you how the new user interface is simple, useable, modern and fast.

New User Interface

Instead of having a permanent navigation pane on the left hand side the new model will appear on top, switch tiles as options are selected and disappear when not used to allow for more screen real estate. As you navigate down a path, the top line on the screen will keep a breadcrumb trail instead of opening up a new window at each navigation step.

New navigation model

Instead of a ribbon with multitude of buttons there is now a command bar with up to 7 items so it is easier to remember. Additional items are exposed from the ellipsis.

New command bar

Each module (Sales, Marketing, and Service) has its own home page where each can have its own dashboard.

Custom dashboards are available

The record form has been redesigned so that all the necessary information is visible or quickly accessible.

The structure of the form

A new Quick Create function allows you to add relevant related data in a more intuitive fashion.

Enter data with Quick Create

The interface will reformat the layout across window sizes and device types; desktops, tablets and phones. CRM is now cross browser compatible and integrates to Yammer, Skype, Lync and Bing Maps.

Reimagined user experience in CRM 2013

It has an auto-save feature, global search and in-line grid editing for Opportunity Products.

Mobile Client Application

There is a new Windows 8 and iPad tablet app for sales module and custom entity functionality.  Unlike all other CRM tablet applications, the user experience is very close to the one on the desktop. The new process functionality is there, global search and also quick create. Access is granted through CRM security and home page configuration is done as a CRM dashboard.

Functional Overview

One difference from the desktop app is it has an added communication card for contacts and users that will display for opportunities, accounts, leads, contacts and users to quickly engage with people. Another difference is it does not have full off-line functionality. Instead it caches data you visited while online and lets you read it while the tablet is occasionally disconnected.

A new phone app is also available for Windows, Safari, Android and Blackberry phones. Besides the usual functionality you can make phone calls from contact information, map addresses and work offline. On Windows phones you can also view activity feeds.

Other articles in this series:

Adam Jenkins

Author Adam Jenkins

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