Dynamics CRM 2013 Spring Release Preview Guide

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Spring Release Preview Guide is now available.

You can download it from here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=395005

The CRM 2013 Spring Release Preview Guide highlights the new features and capabilities that will be released soon. The Spring Wave is one of the biggest updates?to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.?This is going to be HUGE! There are lots?of something for everyone in this release, including marketing, sales and service.


Microsoft Social Listening enables you to identify who’s having social conversations about your company, products, competitors or another topics. Track buzz, trends and sentiment related to things like your customers, campaigns and competitors.

Dynamics Social Listening

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, provides?email marketing, landing pages, social campaigns and more on par to most of the third party marketing automation systems available today. Quickly and easily deliver qualified leads to your?sales teams and measure the return on marketing investment. It also includes lead nurturing and scoring, improved dashboards and analytics, and an awesome campaign visual designer.

Dynamics Marketing Campaign Designer


Email Marketing

Send highly personalized E-mail messages to drive improved open rates. Personalize the content per sender, recipient, subject & content allowing you to send fewer emails with greater business results.

  • Deliver mass and transactional emails scalable to millions of emails to customers per day
  • Cross campaign rules to build sophisticated nurture and drip email campaigns.
  • Manage and control how many emails a contact can receive in a given time period to improve email performance.



For sales teams, there are enhancements to the CRM Tablet apps. We’ll see Social Insights right inside the mobile experience. Social Insights provides real-time company and contact information like financials, breaking news, social buzz and social connections. It’s very powerful for marketing, sales and account management professionals to help you engage more effectively to win more deals and spend less time spent researching and more time selling.

If you are an Android fan, the mobility updates will include a version for Android devices.?As before, the iPad is also supported.

Dynamics CRM Tablet Updates

The mobile experience will also be extended to include Customer Service capabilities optimized for people who want to?keep an eye on high priority Cases, monitor Queues?or route items across the queues to deliver amazing experiences no matter where you?are.

Customer Service

There’s lots of new “stuff” for customer service professionals?from the powerful self-service capabilities in the?recently acquired Parature, to the multi-channel capabilities coming in CRM including the Unified Service Desk to empower contact center agents to resolve customer issues with ease.

MIcrosoft Unified Service Desk


Parature includes lots of awesomeness including:

  • Parature Portal: a 24/7 customer support center that is seamlessly integrated into your?current website. It includes a searchable knowledge, submit help tickets, track its progress and receive automatic email notifications.
  • Parature Mobile Self-Service: Provides mobile friendly, responsive designs of the portal?that work?across desktop and mobile devices.?
  • Parature Facebook Portal: Seamlessly provides?FAQs and KB searches, or create help desk tickets from inside of Facebook.?
  • Parature Real-time Chat: provides instant live online support to provide?assisted support online. ?
  • Parature Knowledgebase: provides quick answers to common questions and support issues, plus essential downloads including forms, how-to videos, product manuals, knowledge base information updates and more.?


Server-side Synchronization Updates

Server-side synchronization allows administrators to easily manage the synchronization of email, tasks, appointments
and contacts between CRM and Exchange. No additional cost….unlike some other solutions out there!

The original release synchronized ?data?between Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Exchange on-premises deployments only. We will now see support for both?Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Exchange Online as well as the continued on-premise option. POP3/SMTP3 providers are also supported for sending and synchronization of Email.

SharePoint Integration Enhancements

Simplified integration between CRM Online and SharePoint Online will be managed inside of?Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. If you have?Dynamics CRM Online and SharePoint Online you will no longer need to install and configure the CRM List Component to enable the Document Management integration. Woo-hoo!

Sandbox Environments

A big request from larger customers and those that prefer dev/test and production environments. It will be point and click simple to configure isolated, non-production online environments. Administrators can make a copy of a CRM Online instance into a Sandbox Instance.

  • Minimal Copy only includes customizations & schema from source
  • Full Copy includes all application data, users, and customizations from source
  • Administrators can reset a Sandbox Instance back to factory settings (e.g. delete and re-provision)
  • Administrators can take/restore a snapshot of a Sandbox Instance??(only one snapshot per instance at any time)


And lots more good stuff!

Microsoft plans to deliver the Spring Wave features to CRM online customers as an automatic service update with the option to opt in for additional Customer Service capabilities, and to the on-premises customers as an installable service pack (SP1).

Market smarter. Sell effectively. Care everywhere.

Differences Between SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive

Yes, SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive are?confusing…thank you, Microsoft.?SkyDrive Logo

I’m not sure who is responsible for creating such exasperatingly confusing names, SKU’s and products within Microsoft. Please don’t get me started on the many different flavors of Office 365.?I sure wish they woud stop it. Until they do, I’ll try to shed a little light on the differences between SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive.

Here is the most clear Microsoft article I have been able to find:


SkyDrive ProRequires SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2003.?A personal file storage and synchronization service for business use. You store, access, and synchronize your files in SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2013 with your workstation or laptop.

SkyDrive -?A personal file storage service linked with your Microsoft (Live) account. This is similar to Box, DropBox, iCloud, and related storage services. SkyDrive has no relationship to SharePoint Online/SharePoint Server 2013. If you install Office 2013 and then open Windows Explorer, you will see a?SkyDrive?folder in the Favorites section. This folder synchronizes with your?personal file storage, not your SkyDrive Pro storage. You can download and install the SkyDrive synchronization application to synchronize your SkyDrive (personal file storage) with the?SkyDrive?folder in Windows Explorer, without installing Office 2013.

And yes, it is possible to have BOTH on your laptop or desktop and both can sync files (to different areas).

SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro

The following table provides more information about the differences and how synchronization works.

SkyDrive Pro Synchronization (using the Windows Sync client) SkyDrive Pro document library SkyDrive
How do I access it? To use SkyDrive Pro Synchronization, the user must have:

In SharePoint Server 2013, a user clicks the Sync button in a document library to start the synchronization of files between the document library and the client workstation. On the client workstation, when the SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client runs, it is available from the notification area. The SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client creates shortcuts in Windows Explorer in Favorites.

On a user’s My Site in SharePoint Server 2013, or on a My Site in SharePoint Online Go to the SkyDrive logon page.
Who uses this product? Business users Business users Consumers or individuals
Is this a document library? No, but the SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client performs synchronization with document libraries. Yes Yes
Is this installed with Office 2013? Yes, the SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client is installed.You may also download the stand-alone SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client, which can be used with earlier versions of Office (Office 2010, Office 2007, and so on). No, this is a document library on a user’s My Site in SharePoint Server 2013. Yes, the Microsoft SkyDrive client is installed, a shortcut named SkyDrive is created in Favorites in Windows Explorer, and an open and save location is created in the Backstage view in Office 2013.
Which folder used in Windows Explorer under Favorites? SkyDrive Pro Windows Sync client synchronizes files in the following Windows folders:

  • SkyDrive @ Contoso, where Contoso is a SharePoint Online tenancy name
  • SkyDrive Pro
  • SharePoint
SkyDrive Pro folder SkyDrive folder

Hope this helps.

This just in, found a PowerPoint deck on SkyDrive Pro and sharing it below.

Microsoft Convergence 2012?Notes from Houston?Day 3

All good things must come to an end and so it is for Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2012. The excitement and enthusiasm continued on the final day. This has been the best Convergence for content, attendance and audience. Adding to all this great event was the closing keynote by General Colin Powel (Ret.).

Closing Keynote

Doug Kennedy, VP of Microsoft Dynamics Partners and Support Services, started the closing keynote. Doug started with a summary of the event and a recap of the volunteer and community service efforts that attendees performed while in Houston. Doug mentioned there were 10,225 attendees and 268 sponsors at this year?s event, the largest Dynamics event ever.

General Colin Powell (Ret) on stage at #Microsoft #conv12, techy at heart, COBOL programmer! transformations is constant. Loves #Corvette

Gen. Colin Powell (Ret), provided the overall closing keynote. I was looking forward to this and was not disappointed! Gen Powell has had an impressive career and delivered a great speech. He was actually a funny guy and shared some very interesting stories. Interesting note for the techies, he?s started out as a Cobol programmer! He has also been busy lately giving back with a focus on America?s Promise Alliance and GradNation.? The overall themes of his talk were:

  • Loves speaking with audiences
  • Currently a partner at Kleiner Perkins
  • He?s on Facebook!
  • Love?s Corvette’s but recently sold it for Fisker Karma (great taste in muscle cars!)
  • Where you came from doesn’t matter, only where you end up
  • Your past is not your future
  • Key to success is execution

He also shared insights on how to maintain focus, take responsibility and constantly work towards improving processes, organizations and people. Thank you Microsoft for helping make this happen with such a great leader possible. Loved it!

Developers Guide to Integrating Dynamics CRM with SharePoint

This session was presented by Girish Raja who always provides great content and presentations. He shared some great insights and tips for integrating Dynamics CRM and SharePoint beyond the out of box capabilities. Girish covered:

  • Document and data collaboration
  • User Experience (UX) options
  • Web parts (with BCS rarely needed anymore with SP2010)
  • Works great with Office 365 as well.

Future releases (end of year and 2013) will have better, more automatic integration. It will also go beyond the current Out of Box (OOB) and take advantage of document sets, workflow, versioning, and approvals.

Solutions Management in Dynamics CRM

This session was geared to those that are responsible for creating configuration and customization in Dynamics CRM and packaging them into Solutions. This could be as simple as creating some new functionality in your development or QA instance and porting them over to production. Also covered was more complex scenarios for Enterprise customers that might have multiple environments with multiple developers and heavy source code management needs. Some of the topics covered were:

  • Managed and Unmanaged Solutions and when to use each
  • Using the API for Solution packaging and deployment
  • Tips and tricks for team-based development
  • Considerations for on-premise and online deployments
  • Review of what?s happening behind the scenes

Well that?s a wrap for me at this year?s Convergence. I really wish I had more time and could tele-transport and attend different sessions at the same time. There was that much great content.

As mentioned in a previous blog, in the coming days and weeks we?ll be posting following up content and examples to help you with your learning needs as well. Stay tuned!