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Dynamics CRM 2013 Coming This Fall, Along With New Online Offerings

Microsoft's newest customer relationship management (CRM) product, Dynamics CRM 2013, is scheduled for release this fall.

Dynamics CRM 2013 is the on-premises version of the release, but Microsoft also will offer an updated online version, called "Dynamics CRM Online Fall '13," Microsoft indicated in an announcement last week. Three new licensing options will be available in the fall for those buying the online product that will be "equivalent" to the three licensing options for the premises-based product, Microsoft announced today.

New Dynamics CRM 2013 Capabilities
In a phone briefing, Fred Studer, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics marketing, outlined some of the changes coming in Dynamics CRM 2013. He said the upcoming release is aimed at meeting the needs of increasingly savvy customers that expect greater collaboration and social networking capabilities, as well as increased support for mobility.

"We need to make this release personal," Studer said, referring to Microsoft's overarching design principle for Dynamics CRM 2013. "We need to make it personal for people that will use it. We also need to provide this release in a personal way so that our customers can provide personal experiences to their customers. And as we built [Dynamics CRM 2013], we thought there's got to be a few areas of focus that we can deliver on. And that really formulated the release."

The improvements coming in Dynamics CRM 2013 are intended to achieve three basic goals, according to Studer. The first goal is to match customers to the products they need through more effective marketing. To that end, Dynamics CRM 2013 will have deeper integration with MarketingPilot, a marketing automation firm that Microsoft acquired last fall.

"We have broadened the connection to MarketingPilot to all of our users, both online and on-prem," Studer said.

The new release also will feature new flexible business-process capabilities "that allow people to adapt their processes to match whatever their customers' needs are," he added. "We offer many of these out of the box. We allow people to modify them, to change them for very specific roles to make it very easy. But we also have the capability to make your own processes."

The second goal of Dynamics CRM 2013 was to enable customers and prospects to "engage at the right level," according to Studer. "Many customers these days are 60 to 70 percent into the sales cycle before they even touch a salesperson, another human being. So their expectation is that the company who is marketing and selling to them already knows where they are and can engage with them in the right way."

[Click on image for larger view.] Screenshot of the new Dynamics CRM 2013 user interface. (Source: Microsoft)

To that end, Dynamics CRM 2013 will have a "reimagined" user experience that is easier and more intuitive.

Dynamics CRM 2013 will have expanded mobile-device support. The new release will have touch capabilities and support running on Apple's iPad tablets, as well as on Windows 8 tablets and PCs. Microsoft also plans to deliver smartphone apps for Windows Phone 8, Apple iOS and Google Android devices. That smartphone support will arrive "shortly after" Dynamics CRM 2013's release in the fall, Studer said.

Microsoft's third goal with Dynamics CRM 2013 is to nurture customer relationships via increased social networking and collaboration capabilities. Microsoft is integrating its Lync, Skype and Yammer technologies into the upcoming product. It will also launch an early-access beta program for its Netbreeze technology with the new product. Microsoft acquired social analytics company Netbreeze in March.

New Dynamics CRM Online Licenses
The next version of Microsoft's Dynamics CRM Online product will include a new licensing scheme, Microsoft announced on Monday. The Microsoft-hosted product is scheduled for release this fall with three licensing options. Each option will include the ability to access Dynamics CRM via a mobile device at no added cost.

The Professional level will cost $65 per user per month, and will let users access the full capabilities of Dynamics CRM. "We believe most users will find this license best fits their needs," Microsoft stated in its announcement.

The next level, Basic, will cost $30 per user per month. This level is aimed at "sales, service and marketing users who need to manage accounts, contacts, leads, cases and access custom applications as well as for business analysts who require reporting capabilities," according to Microsoft.

The last level is Essential, and is designed for light Dynamics CRM Online users. It will cost $15 per user per month.

Microsoft noted that the pricing can vary depending on other services that may be used, including extra storage, testing and production instances.

Users will be able to mix and match between the three licensing levels, Microsoft indicated. Additionally, the licensing schemes for both the online version and on-premises version of Dynamics CRM 2013 will have parity.

"Equivalent offerings between on-premises, online and hosted by partners also make it easier for customers to compare and decide," Microsoft stated.

The company also plans to expand its support options beyond Basic and Premier "in the upcoming months."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the site editor of RCPmag.com.

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