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Convergence 2015 – What’s new for CRM?

As usual, Microsoft Convergence was a popular event this year, attended by over 11,000 people from across the globe, and full of great sessions spanning four days. If you couldn’t make it, this blog is for you. Here are some key points from the sessions that I attended.

Some key highlights from a Dynamics CRM perspective:

  • The focus themes for Dynamics CRM this year have been around Customer Engagement and insight-driven, relationship-centric, data-driven decisions.
  • Just like last year, the roadmap for Dynamics CRM is full, with another flurry of updates planned for Q2 and Q4 this year. They span social, customer care, sales, marketing and power BI.
  • The Q2 release will see the following updates:
    • Social Listening becomes Social Engagement. It will include the ability to create search terms, engage with customers via direct posting, create watch streams, identify authors by location and post location and integration of social profiles within CRM (that is, create case, create contact).
    • Dynamics CRM Social Listening becomes Social Engagement

    • Immersive productivity improvements include OneNote integration, inline Excel (open a view in Excel within Dynamics CRM and make bulk updates), the ability to track emails anywhere using Outlook folders, and visibility of CRM data from within Outlook online via CRM App for Outlook.
    • Dynamics CRM productivity improvements include OneNote integration, inline Excel, email tracking using Outlook folders.

    • Role-Tailored Dashboards with Power BI with templates that use the standard configuration of Dynamics CRM. This will be agreat starting point for developing your own specific reports.
    • Mobility improvements with a completely re-imagined phone client, mobile SDK, and enterprise-ready security with integration with GOOD.
    • Customer Care enhancements with first integration with Parature to support Knowledge anywhere and integration of case entities.
    • Voice of Customer developments via a third-party tool built on Dynamics CRM. This will enable flexible surveys to be created out of the box with Dynamics CRM.
    • New data centres that are expected to result in a 2-3 times increase in form performance
    • Integration and SDK improvements across the board, including improvements around data import staging
  • Note that the Q2 release is online only, with no enhancements to on-premise deployments.
  • Looking to the Q4 release, likely focus areas are mobile (with better offline support), predictive analytics using machine learning, improvements to the office App and One Drive for Business, and investments in platform around search and XRM as a service offering.>
  • Dynamics CRM focus areas are mobile, predictive analytics with machine learning, improvement to Office App and OneDrive for Business

  • The most notable other themes were definitely around big data and the use of Power BI and Power View. Major enhancements in these areas will make it much easier to connect to the Dynamics CRM database and create rich natural language search-capable reports.
  • Dynamic Marketing is definitely a focus area for the Dynamics team, with significant improvements on the way around integration and functionality. I would expect that for our customers in New Zealand and Australia this is becoming a more viable solution and the expected improvements coming in Q4 will make it a competitor product for some add-ons in the market.
  • Unified Service Desk continues to see investment as a platform for the larger contact centre. New controls internal to the Microsoft eco-system that are being provided by third parties include Parature and knowledge base.

For more information, see my blog nakedcrm.com where I’ll explore some of these topics in more depth soon.

Posted by: Steven Foster, Client Director | 20 April 2015

Tags: CRM, ERP, Microsoft Dynamics, enterprise resource planning, Social Enterprise, Customer Relationship Management, Convergence 2015

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