Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 - Top 15 Updates

Hierarchy graphic

Microsoft began releasing the next major release of Dynamics CRM in December 2014.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (previously code-named Vega) is an update for Dynamics CRM Online and CRM On-Premise editions. Here are 15 important updates to highlight!

If you aren't already using the latest edition of Dynamics CRM check out the earlier updates in the Spring'14 Wave and CRM 2013.

DEMONSTRATION: Watch a demonstration of the latest improvements in Dynamics CRM 2015.

1. Search Improvements

As a long requested user improvement we're delighted that Dynamics CRM 2015 enables global searches to be run from any screen.

Click the new magnifying glass icon in the main navigation bar to open a search display. Keywords and (*) wildcard characters can be used to find records across multiple entities using your specified fields.

To find records using more detailed search criteria a new Advanced Find icon is added to the CRM nav bar.

On the search results page filters can be applied to display only the matches for a specific entity type. Read more about search options in CRM 2015.

Search improvement

2. New Outlook Configuration Wizard

Dynamics CRM 2015 features a redesigned Outlook Configuration Wizard to simplify the process for setting-up CRM and Outlook Integration.

Please note, following the upgrade the CRM for Outlook connector will need to be reinstalled.

Click here for instructions to configure CRM 2015 for Outlook, or contact us if you need any assistance with this process.

3. Calculated Fields

Automated field calculations can now easily be run in CRM thanks to a new field type.

Previously, Dynamics field calculations could be applied using custom script but in CRM 2015 automatic calculations can now be set using inbuilt functions in the standard interface.

A sales team can use calculated fields to instantly:

• Check a weighted opportunity value based on probability
• Confirm the number of days an opportunity has been open
• Apply a % discount if a quote exceeds a defined value

Each of these field calculations can be performed automatically without users needing to first run an on-demand workflow.

Calculated fields can be configured for multiple CRM entities and will reference other fields in the same entity, or fields in related entities.

Find out more about CRM calculated fields

4. Improved Business Rules

First introduced in 2013, Business Rules get a makeover in Dynamics CRM 2015:

  • Set default values and use SHOW / HIDE field business rules to personalise displays when new records are created to prefill data, &/or remove selected fields
  • Apply AND/OR, IF...ELSE, IF...THEN logic to define more complex rule structures, for example if a lead is for more than 50 units, or referred by an existing customers then mark as a hot prospect
  • Server side execution

Read more about CRM 2015 Business Rules enhancements.

5. Branching Logic for Guided Processes

Dynamics CRM 2015 enhances the business process flow functions that were introduced in CRM 2013.

This resolves a restriction with the original release that did not allow branching logic.

CRM 2015 enables more complex flows to be defined including sales qualification processes which can split into two branches based on field values. For example, a sales process flow can be branched based on expected close time enabling a separate branch for opportunities due to close immediately. READ MORE

Branching logic

6. Client API for Business Flows

Another improvement to business flows in CRM 2015 is the introduction of a client API enabling complete programmable access.

Using JavaScript code, processes can be set to improve the transition between flow stages and ensure that users are working on the correct step.

For example, if a hot lead prospect is identified based on one or more field values JavaScript can be applied to accelerate this priority lead to a latter stage in the process flow thereby removing the need for CRM users to progress this lead through every defined step.

7. Sales Hierarchies

Users can now visualise a hierarchy of accounts, contacts, products or users from a new view in Dynamics CRM 2015.

The new hierarchical view groups associated records enabling CRM teams to explore and navigate these structures.

Sales hierarchy

8. Product Entity Enhancements

CRM 2015 features several improvements that improve the management of products in Microsoft Dynamics.

  • Bundle products with tailored price lists to simplify opportunity / quote creation
  • Increase cross-selling by getting recommendations for add-on & complimentary products / services on the opportunity form
  • Set product attributes to control how individual products are used by a sales team in opportunities, quotes & orders

Product entity

Read more about product families and product hierarchies in CRM 2015

9. Improved CRM App for Tablets

Two CRM 2015 improvements to call out for Dynamics on iPad, Windows 8 and Android tablets are:

• When working offline use drafts to create new CRM records & synchronise the changes
• Build an app home page personalised with pinned records & dashboard views

10. Rollup Fields

Do you ever need to know how many active cases a contact has?

Or, the total forecast opportunity revenue for an account across each active opportunity?

CRM 2015 introduces rollup fields that capture metrics at record level and aggregates these statistics across one-to-many relationships.

Values are rolled-up from child to parent records as an asynchronous job which can be set to run as a recurring or one-off process.

Rollup values on the parent record can be displayed a whole number, decimal, currency and date / time to summarise these values without the need to rely on a CRM plug-in.

11. Pause / Resume SLAs

Service Level Agreement entities were introduced in the Spring’14 update to help service teams resolve cases in line with agreed SLAs.

CRM 2015 adds further SLA capabilities including options to pause and resume SLA’s and associated timers, and track how long a case was on-hold or awaiting a customer response.

Enhanced SLA details shown on individual case records list a history of SLA status changes detailing when a case was paused.

12. Improve Sync Between CRM & Outlook or Exchange

CRM 2015 enables users working with Outlook / Exchange to sync more types of information including:

• Additional contacts & task fields
• Assigned tasks
• Appointment attachments

13. Field Level Security for Standard CRM Fields

In addition to custom fields, CRM 2015 includes options for database administrators to restrict access to out of the box fields.

Permissions to access sensitive data can be more tightly controlled by hiding or setting read-only permission to all CRM fields on all custom and standard entities.

Field Level Security

14. Nested Quick Create Forms

The CRM Quick Create Form is updated enabling users to create new multiple records from a single screen. For example, a new account and a new child contact can be created from within a single quick create display.

Read more about Nested Quick Create Forms

15. Changes to Supported Operating Software & Applications

As announced earlier in 2014, Microsoft has confirmed the following software is not supported with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015:

• Windows Server 2008 & 2008 R2
• SQL server 2008 & 2008 R2
• Windows Small Business Server (all versions)
• 2008 Series Terminal Servers
• Windows Vista
• SharePoint 2007
• Exchange 2007
• Internet Explorer 8 & 9
• Microsoft Office 2007

That's just 15 changes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015!

Contact Preact to learn more about the new version and how you can benefit from the new CRM features and processes.