May 26 Blog Review

The week of May 26th had a few different topics on the blogosphere. There were several articles about Gamification (or with mentions of it) as well as several new articles about Polaris/Orion features. Finally, I will tell you a bit about the Meet The Experts webinar hosted by Dynamics Café featuring Bob Stutz and Connor Marsden.

Gamification is a hot topic in the CRM world right now. Everyone wants to know how to make their employees more productive at work. The answer of course is, employees work harder if they enjoy the work they are doing. What do people enjoy doing? Playing games. How can we make their work seem more like a game?

Here are the specific related articles I am referring to:
Forbes: When Work Resembles A Video Game, Millennials Thrive – This is not just a CRM topic. This is something employers everywhere are working on. This is especially prevalent in call centers where the employees are young people who grew up playing games and immersed in technology. Plus, these places are trying to reduce turnover.
Microsoft Dynamics World: MBS president Kirill Tatarinove Sees future of Microsoft Dynamics in more large enterprises – This relates to gamification in some of the research Microsoft is working on. The article mentions they are working on more immersive experiences with unified communication. They are investigating machine learning and artificial intelligence. However, this is the most interesting quote:

“We’ll be tracking eyeball movements, going to motion-based user experiences with Kinect and touch,” he said. “Almost everyone will have access to technology. Just 10 years ago, people couldn’t use computers because they required programming skills and technical knowledge. Today anyone can access that power.”

One day, we will be managing our CRM contacts through our Xbox Kinect. Definitely some interesting times coming.
Microsoft Reports profit growth, beats earnings estimates – Of course they are investigating how to make CRM more like Xbox. Xbox LIVE has over 46 million members worldwide. This is an 18% increase.

Ok enough playing around.

In regards to the new features introduced in Polaris and continuing in Orion, there were two articles that stood out.
Explanation of Auto Save – Auto save is a new feature that comes with the process-centric forms. This means it is only included with the process forms, so no need to re-evaluate code/script/WFs, etc. until you plan to begin using these forms. However, when you do begin using these process forms it will affect things that are called when a save occurs: Plugins, workflows, auditing of records. The Auto Save will save the form 30 seconds after the first edit is made and when the form is closed but this only occurs for updates. New forms will only be saved when they are created. The auto save does not reload the form but it will grab and display any updated data from the server. In Polaris the auto save is no be default and the timer (30 seconds) is not configurable.
Side Effects of the Polaris UI – When upgrading to Polaris there are several things to keep in mind. This article summarizes some of the side effects to keep in mind.
Upgrade vs. Re-implementation – This is not related to the Polaris upgrade but to upgrading between 4.0 and 2011. It discusses the challenges of Upgrading along with the problems of re-implementation. There is a very handy chart that describes which way is easier for each area of CRM (Data migration, Data integrity, code, etc.).

Finally, there was also the Meet the Experts Webinar hosted by Dynamics Café. It featured a Q&A style conversation between Connor Marsden, Microsoft Dynamics Directory US CRM, and Bob Stutz, Microsoft Dynamics Corporate VP CRM. A major topic of the discussion was social components. Today, customers decide how they interact with businesses. So every interaction has to take into account social.

The Process driven forms are meant to make it easier for people to work, do job better and interact better. Also the goal is to allow people to collaborate easier. Individual applications need collaboration tools. People are already using Microsoft products to collaborate (Lync, SharePoint) so they are working on bringing these together.

Also everything needs to be mobile. It needs to be available on any device and allow people to work how they want to. Users need the right data at their fingertips. Microsoft is working towards location specific information so when you arrive at a location you will see all the information about that account without needing to search for it.

Marketing is quickly becoming integrated with everything. Marketing used to be a separate department but now it plays an important piece in everything a company does. Marketing is a very broad topic it is not just sending emails, it is not just marketing automation. MarketingPilot is a full Marketing Suite, it should allow users to do everything related to marketing from buying media time, to building and executing sophisticated campaigns.

Orion will bring the social components, marketing components and process-driven forms all together. For the future, they will continue looking towards how customers interact on the web, how they use Xbox and apply these principles to CRM. The goal is a fully collaborative system that helps people in their lives and that has an emotional connection with users. They want users who love the system and are happy to use it.

Schedule discussion indicated that Orion will be out this summer; Leo will arrive 6 months later. There will be some incremental releases in between, especially for Online. There will be no change for social or mobile, these will just be features of CRM.

That’s all I have for today. Soon I will have an update on the happenings of the week of May 3rd.

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