Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Q2 2012 release misfires

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As of Friday, Microsoft’s new agile six monthly development schedule looked to be in some disarray.

Twelve months ago the arrival of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 seemed to signal a new dawn for Microsoft. Not only were there an array of functional enhancements, but the software was now available as a Microsoft hosted service, in addition to its traditional on-premise model.

The move to a software as a service (SaaS) model put it in more direct competition with Salesforce.com, and other established SaaS vendors, whose development approach was based around a programme of frequent product updates.

Presumably in response to the changing competitive landscape Microsoft announced a shift away from its traditional development approach. In a statement of direction published in 2011 the company announced a new agile approach to development:

‘Moving forward, new capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (both Online and On-premises) will be delivered approximately twice yearly with releases targeted for Spring (Q2) and Fall (Q4) of each calendar year’.

For a company that was used to a two to three year development cycle this always looked something of a challenge. As of Friday it’s become apparent that it’s one the Microsoft team are struggling with. A blog post from Microsoft CRM Dynamics General Manager, Dennis Michalis, stated:

‘On July 19th, as we committed, our Q2 release will include Microsoft SQL Server 2012 support, Industry templates and certifications for our online service. After listening to the feedback from our customers and partners we are delaying availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile and cross-browser support. These were previously scheduled to be delivered in the Q2 2012 Service Update, and we now plan to deliver them in the service update scheduled for Q4 2012.’

Since the new mobile capabilities and cross-bowser support were the showcase features of its release preview guide published in February, it must be more than a bit embarrassing for them to be pulled at the last moment.

Presumably partners and customers will also be wondering why it took until July 6th for the company to reveal the change of plan on a Q2 release that they might reasonably have expected to arrive sometime between April 1 and June 30. And, given Microsoft’s divergence from the traditional interpretation of the Gregorian calendar, what ‘Q4 2012’ actually means in terms of a real delivery date.

With Microsoft’s worldwide partner conference kicking off this week, attendees will presumably be looking for answers. With the company’s CRM credibility on the line, they will need to be good ones.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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