Dynamics CRM 2011 on a Roll: Team Eyes Branded Bundles with Hot Devices


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April 1, 2011 – The Dynamics CRM 2011 upgrade is a juggernaut, partly because it’s a great product at a significantly lower price point than its competitors, and partly because of solid, aggressive marketing. Apparently the marketing’s going to get cranked up another notch or two: I’ve learned recently of ongoing discussions (described as “advanced” by an unnamed source on the Dynamics CRM management team) to release branded client versions of Dynamics CRM on two of Microsoft’s hottest devices: the Windows Phone 7 (forecasted in a recent IDC report to pass iPhone into the number two spot by 2015), and the Kinect XBOX add-on (according to Guinness, the fastest selling consumer device of all time).

As my source explained it to me I began to appreciate the advantages of what at first sounded like a crazy idea. The basic idea is to create a great out-of-the-box device experience so that licensed users of Dynamics CRM can access – and interact with – their CRM leads and contacts “on any device, at any time, in any way they choose”.

Here’s how it would look on the CRM 2011-branded Windows Phone 7: a licensed Dynamics CRM user would purchase the phone for about the same price as anybody else, more or less like the Halo Edition of XBOX 360. (I paid more for it than the standard edition cost at the time, but most of that was because of the bundled game.) The CRM team plan is to sell at first to licensed users, and just like users of the Outlook client don’t pay anything extra for that client experience, neither would purchasers of the CRM Windows Phone. The phone would come with all CRM client software installed and configured, and my source kept coming back to their wanting to, and I quote, “bring back that great old-fashioned out-of-the-box experience – OOBE, wasn’t that what you used to call it?” I asked him if it would even record a call with a CRM contact as a completed phone call activity. His reply: “You think we’d release it without that? You’ll have your choice of activity only with an editable summary field, full voice recording, or voice-to-text conversion!”

As we walked by the Experience Lab, I spotted a couple prototypes. I slipped out my Android to take a picture, but there were too many apps running, so I had to start up Advanced Task Killer and kill them all. Fortunately, ATK is my most frequently used Android app so I have it right on my home screen and I can do it pretty quickly. I got a shot before anybody noticed. Here’s what they look like:

The CRM-branded Kinect client at first sounds like more of a stretch, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Same basic licensing model: licensed users of CRM pay the same amount for the CRM edition as everybody else does for the standard edition. It comes with all the CRM client software installed. Microsoft will integrate it with Lync, so if your CRM contacts leads and so forth have Lync, you can add IM and texting to voice as easy, CRM-trackable activities. But here’s the best part: if your CRM data (that is, leads, contacts, users…) also have Kinect, you can very naturally interact in a game of Ping Pong, or bowling, or even skiing or golf. And who wouldn’t want to do that! Double-or-nothing for that ten percent discount?

And of course, all these Kinect interactions would be trackable as CRM activities. (By default, voice recording will be turned off.)

I wondered, “How many of my CRM contacts have Kinects next to their PC?”. My source scoffed, “Are you kidding me? We sold 10 million in three months. 85% of the U.S. adult population are in somebody’s customer-relationship management system. Almost 60% of households own a video game console, and about half of those are XBOX’s. And our data suggest that Dynamics CRM usage is more widespread among households that own XBOX’s than other consoles. Plus, we think the CRM client for Kinect will be the corporate It-gift the holiday season it’s released. ” Good points, I thought.

I spotted a CRM-branded client for Kinect prototype a few minutes later, and by then there were only about 15 Android apps running again that I had to kill with ATK, so it was easy to get a shot:

Sign me up. If there’s anything that could keep me from making my next phone an iPhone 5, it would be the Dynamics CRM 2011 Windows Phone 7 Edition!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Knudson
Richard Knudson is a Dynamics CRM consultant and instructor, and has a special interest in cloud computing and helping organizations realize the potential of social CRM. His company, IMG, specializes in helping businesses implement and customize the Dynamics CRM platform.


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