So what are the best features of Dynamics CRM 4.0 Mobile Express?
(1) The price. It's free! In fact, it's included at no charge with the latest update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Server (update rollup 7). There are a lot of other mobile clients available for Dynamics CRM - and many of them offer superior functionality (such as offline syncing). But only one is free. And, if you don't need your data available on your mobile device while you're out of your network, then Mobile Express should more than meet your needs.
(2) It's all your data. Syncing with Outlook is nice, but this doesn't give you all of your data - only Contacts, Activities, Appointments ... what about those other things like Leads, Opportunities, Accounts, Cases and on and on? Ever away from the office and you need to lookup that Lead in CRM to get some more information? Or do you want to see your list of pending Phone Calls - with links to Contacts - so you can make a few calls from your mobile phone during your downtime between meetings? Want to update a few items on an Opportunity immediately after a sales call while they're fresh on your mind? You could use the Laptop/Offline CRM Client for Outlook to do this - but that can be awkward and time consuming. With Mobile Express, you can have all of this information at your fingertips for easy access.
(3) It's simple. Once it is setup, it is simply a matter of browsing to the appropriate URL on your mobile device, using your standard login credentials, and you're up and running. You have access to all the same views you're used to in CRM.
(4) Easy to navigate. Your mobile device probably isn't like your Windows desktop. It's hard (or impossible) to have multiple browser windows open at once like you do with CRM. In the screenshot, above, you can see that there is a "breadcrumb" that helps you to easily navigate back to where you came from so you can have one window open, but easily follow the breadcrumb back to where you came from. Nice.
(5) It's flexible and easy to configure. You probably don't want to access everything in CRM from your mobile device - it would take too long to navigate around. Mobile Express is configured right inside of CRM. And you can choose which entities you want to view; for each entity, you can choose the specific attributes you want to see in the mobile form. So you only see what you want to see on your mobile device.
The downsides? There are a few:
(1) Not available offline. Mobile Express only works if you have a live internet connection. So if you're in a location where your mobile phone does not have a signal (there's a map for that), you're out of luck. For some, this is not a big deal at all, for others who work in more out-of-the-way areas, it can be a serious issue.
(2) Tiny interface. There's not much you can do about this one - mobile devices are just small, so you won't have as much real estate to use to browse your information. This can mean that some records don't show any information in lists, etc. Generally not a big deal - but it may require you to create some custom views just for your CRM 4.0 Mobile Express users.
(4) Not so easy to navigate. Remember that "bread crumb" that I mentioned above? Well it has a dark secret. If you navigate away from a main record (for instance, if you are on a task and you click the contact the task is regarding to go to the contact record), the breadcrumb doesn't really work anymore. Instead of showing you [Tasks > Task Name > Contact Name] it shows you [Contacts > Contact Name]. To navigate back to the Task, use the back button in your browser. Mostly an annoyance - but hopefully Microsoft will make that update in the future.
(5) Installation. Installing Update Rollup 7 is not a big problem. However, for Mobile Express to be available to your users on their mobile device, you'll need to setup an Internet Facing Deployment (IFD). This generally requires the services of your friendly neighborhood Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Business Solutions (hope I got enough buzzwords in there for the search engines to like this posting). Hey, we all need some job security, right?
...but did I mention that it's FREE?
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