Microsoft Convergence 2013 – Polaris and Orion

When Update Rollup 12 (UR 12), codename “Polaris”, was released for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 in January, it included a new Process Driven User Interface. This is still only available for CRM Online customers, it does provide an glimpse into the changes coming in the Dynamics CRM user experience (UX). If you want an idea of where this new UI/UX is going, take a look at, the former Hotmail browser based email. User Interface and User Experience - Coming to Dynamics CRM

The single window paradigm, Polaris, signficantly reduces the amount of pop-up forms in Dynamics CRM,  (whic is a good thing). The Polaris release provided this new experience for just a few forms, think if it as a preview, including Account, Contact, Opportunity, Case and Lead detail forms. Orion, scheduled for Q2 2013 has a goal of replacing all forms with this new experience. Below is an example of that new experience.

Dynamics CRM - Polaris UI / UX - Coming to all of CRM

In the new UX, opening an individual record form, all editing and updates takes place in the same window. Even the lookups no longer popup another form, rather, they provide an "inline" lookup. The same goes for grids in the main window, no more popups, just a nice clean, in-grid editing experience…nice!

Michael McCormack, Senior Program Manager Lead for the user experience team within Microsoft Dynamics CRM said “The whole purpose of Orion is to get rid of that window problem we’ve had for so long.”  Yeah!!!

Polaris also provides cross browser support! See supported browsers and OS's here:

In addition, the commitment to cross-browser support was emphasized multiple times. Mr. McCormack even said he doesn’t currently use Dynamics CRM on Internet Explorer at all and neither does most of his team. He said this helps ensure they provide an excellent non-IE user experience. Double Yeah!!! (PS – the new release actually runs faster on Chrome….go figure 🙂 )

Dynamics CRM on Chrome

Dynamics CRM on Google Chrome

Dynamics CRM on Mac OSX Safari

Dynamics CRM on Mac OSX Safari

Microsoft Convergence 2013 – Summary


Microsoft Convergence 2013 was held in wonderful New Orleans (NOLA), LA, March 18th-21st.

NOLA - New Orlease - Microsoft Convergence 2013 - Dynamics CRM

If you would like to see my tweets from New Orleans, go here:

The following are a few highlights from Convergence 2013:

  1. Let’s start with growth. Microsoft announced at Convergence 2013 the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM adoption numbers, with more than 3 million users and more than 39,000 customers.
  2. The opening had some great customer stories. I found it curious the vast majority were B2C customers. Just a coincidence? The posted case studies can be found on the Microsoft website here.
  3. The Marketing Pilot Announcement & Netbreeze AnnouncementAcquisitions.
  4. The new User Interface (UI) recently released with Polaris and the continued direction and new features for Orion. I will include some screenshots soon.
  5. The new cross browser and mobile experiences available across devices

There were a lot of good sessions. In fact it’s often hard to choose which session to go, there are so many good ones! There are a few below that cover the some of the highlights above. In addition you can see the changes coming in the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). You may need to register herebefore viewing these videos.

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM: The New Era in CRM.
    • Includes Dynamics CRM vision, the changing role of CRM in the Era of the Customer and what that means for sales, marketing and customer care. Overview of new UI, Marketing Pilot and Netbreeze. Shows a couple of short product demonstrations. Link to video.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Recap & Roadmap Primer.
    • Details of the roadmap, including mobile, for the future of Microsoft Dynamics CRM over the next 6-24 months. Link to video.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Reimagining the User Experience.
    • This session covered to see how users today work with CRM across different browsers, mobile devices and Microsoft Office. Previews the great new innovations in user experiences (UX) and design coming in future releases. Link to video.
  • Advanced Analytics for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
    • Covers reporting and analytics capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. New and updated analysis capabilities available in Microsoft Excel 2013, PowerPivot, PowerView, Office Apps and other tools with SQL Server 2012. Link to video.
  • The New Microsoft Office 365: Your New Office – Social Productivity at Work
    • Overview of the new Office and Microsoft’s vision for enterprise social. New updates for cloud, social, and mobile. Link to video.
    • I you aren’t familiar with Office 365, go now and check it out. The 2013 updates are amazing. I think a whole new level of productivity is available. Awesome stuff, really!