Upgrading from CRM 2011 to CRM 2015We are on the eve of the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015.  There are a lot of exciting new innovations on the way with this release - and many old "gaps" in the software that Microsoft has finally addressed.  

Focus: Upgrading from CRM 2011 to CRM 2015

As odd as it may seem to the early adopters out there, many of our clients are still on CRM 2011.

So, to help you understand the full impact of upgrading to CRM 2015, I am going to go over all of the most significant upgrades from CRM 2011 through CRM 2015 in a 6 part series.  For each upgrade, we will let  you know if this is CRM 2013, CRM 2015 or (if it was introduced in 2013, but upgraded in 2015) both.


Advice for Those on Earlier Versions of CRM

"But wait," some are saying, "I am not even on CRM 2011 yet.  Can you tell me all of the upgrades available to me?"  

In a word, "No."  In a few more words, "It would take far too much space."  And in a whole lot of additional words and unsolicited advice, here are some thoughts for those of you who are not on CRM 2011 yet:


  1. If you are on Dynamics CRM 4.0 or earlier, and CRM is a helpful tool in your business, then the upgrade to the latest version of CRM is a virtual "no brainer."  There are so many game changing benefits available to you that you need to upgrade.  Now.  Seriously.  With that said, you should also develop a plan before the upgrade.  Most features won't automatically appear, your users will need training, and there are a number of pitfalls to be aware of.  2015 is the year to plan your upgrade - put plan on investing in a plan first!

  2. If you are on Dynamics CRM 4.0 or earlier and you are not yet certain that CRM justifies the cost you are paying for it then there is a very good chance that you are doing it wrong.  You were expecting me to say that upgrading would make all of your woes go away?  Sorry - that's almost never the case.  CRM projects fail frequently and we recently completed a bit of research that indicates the problem is rarely the technology (click here to download the executive summary).  Upgrading without seriously rethinking your approach is likely to lead to at least as much cost and frustration as your initial project.  My advice: backup, rethink your goals, establish a new vision, and set out on a bolder course to make CRM a game changer and not just a really nice rolodex.


Series Overview

Here what to look forward to over the next 6, or so, weeks.

  • Part 1: Introduction (this blog)
  • Part 2: The User Experience (we will look at changes to forms, navigation, business process flows, and the other components that are most visible to the user)
  • Part 3: Sales, Service, and Marketing (here we will look at the functional areas of CRM and how those have been upgraded to make users more efficient)
  • Part 4: 9 New Forms Features (forms have experienced vast changes, in this blog we will dive into those)
  • Part 5: Administration / Development (we will only be able to scratch the surface here - and we will focus mostly on those administration features that make it possible to deliver a game changing user experience faster or with greater flexibility)
  • Part 6: Multi-Device and Integration (the way that integrates with mobile, desktop, Outlook, Office and SharePoint have all been upgraded)

Competitive Comparison

Several months ago, I wrote a blog discussing the partnership announced between Salesforce.com and Microsoft (click to visit).  The blog included a list of many of the gaps that exist between Microsoft and Salesforce - with the suggestion that Microsoft address these in order to remain competitive with Salesforce.  I'm pleased to report that 3 of the 7 most significant gaps are addressed in CRM 2015.  I will publish a separate blog outlining the most significant gaps between the two systems early next year to provide a side-by-side comparison.

The Next Step

See you in about a week when we continue the series with "From CRM 2011 to CRM 2015: The User Experience."  In the meantime, if there is a gap you're experiencing with CRM, or a new feature you want to be sure that I cover, put it into a comment and I'll be sure to make sure it is discussed.