We recently published a series of blogs on the most important upgrades to consider when moving from CRM 2011 to CRM 2015.

In the subsequent days, we’ve received a number of inquiries about the best features in newest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Update Rollup 1, or, the Spring 2015 Release).  Here they are in top 10 countdown format.

If you want the high-level overview, here is a SlideShare with the same content:


#10 More Than CRM

Microsoft has rolled out a lot of new applications that extend and enhance Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Included are Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (click here for a recorded webinar discussing this), Parature (for omni-channel customer service), Social Engagement (for social media marketing and listening), and Unified Service Desk.  Each of these integrates tightly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM right out of the box.  WIth the exception of Unified Service Desk, each are also independent applications that can be used with or without Microsoft CRM.

#9 Integration Evolution

Integration one of the most important factors that drives CRM success.  With the Spring UR1 release, Microsoft has made significant updates to the Dynamics CRM integration capabilities.  Now other systems can integrate with CRM faster than ever before.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring Release UR1 Mobility#8 Mobile Made Better

CRM on all mobile devices and types is now the same software.  No more designing different forms for mobile.  No more stripped-down capabilities.  In fact, mobile CRM now supports customizations including JavaScript and guided processes.  So now you can deploy virtually all of your CRM functionality – and custom application functionality – on mobile devices.

#7 Creative Collaboration

CRM integrates with Office 365 groups, with Exchange folders (so non-CRM users can track emails in CRM), and SharePoint integration has received some important back-end updates.  We’re finding that the out-of-the-box SharePoint integration is only sufficient for the smallest of businesses.  The new integration means you can write fairly simple JavaScript code that creates new sites, document libraries and updates metadata (sorry for some technical terms here) into SharePoint whenever new accounts, opportunities, cases or other records are created or updated in CRM.

#6 Deeper Dashboards

Integration with Excel has received a significant makeover and, since many use Excel to generate some reports and dashboards, these benefit from the updates.  Among the more important updates are the ability to export up to 100,000 records (the previous limit was 10,000), and the ability to export – in one click – to Excel Online.

Using Excel for dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Spring UR1 Release

#5 Big Data with Power BI

Power BI could have been listed along with the other external applications in #10.  But big data is a big enough deal, that it deserves its own heading.  Power BI is a business intelligence and analytical reporting tool from Microsoft.  It integrates directly into Microsoft Excel and can produce impressive dashboards by combining data from multiple sources.  Microsoft published a template to use for sales data with CRM, but it can consume data from any CRM entity.

#4 OneNote Integration

A lot of business people have discovered OneNote (or 1N as we refer to it internally).  It’s a great app for capturing all sorts of information, and it syncs across all devices.  But until now, it was painful to link OneNote notes to CRM.  Dynamics CRM 2015 UR1 addresses this.  You can now click through to your notes directly from records inside of CRM.

#3 Outlook … but Without Outlook

Many of our clients use Apple devices, so they don’t have the benefit of Outlook integration.  Microsoft just released an Outlook App that works with Outlook Online.  So now anyone can get the most important benefits of Outlook integration.  Track emails, quickly view details about contacts, etc.  It’s not quite as robust as CRM for Outlook (the desktop version of Outlook), but it will get the most important parts of the job done for most people.

#2 Faster Data Entry

In #6 we talked about exporting data to Excel Online.  That’s nice.  But what’s much nicer is the ability to import data back in – with just one click of a button. 

Ever ground your teeth when updating your opportunities before the weekly meeting as you: open record, edit record, save record, exit record, repeat process for all opportunities?

Here’s how it works now: view opportunities, click Open in Excel Online, edit in grid format, click Save to CRM. Done.  Here’s a video demo.

Excel data entry in Microsoft Dynamics CRM UR1 Spring Release

#1 Improved Navigation

Drum roll please …. and the #1 most important improvement.  Well, it’s kind-of anti-climactic.  It fixes a frustration that was introduced with CRM 2013 – the new navigation system.  While it freed up a lot of screen space, it also took a lot more effort to scroll around to find what you were looking for.  Well, that’s all over now.  You get a nice one or two click pull down menu, navigation to tabs on forms is back, and you can “pin” frequent records and views for fast access.


There’s more, but those are my top 10.  How about you?  How are you getting more productive with the updates in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Spring UR1?