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The New Year is always an exciting time – a chance to start fresh, update and upgrade the old, and move on to bigger and better things – and for administrators of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, 2015 is starting off with a bang! The release of the highly-anticipated Dynamics CRM 2015 online and on-premises is finally here!

Dynamics CRM users were treated to a more intuitive, user-friendly experience in the upgrade from Dynamics CRM 2011 to Dynamics CRM 2013; and now with the Dynamics CRM 2015 release, Microsoft is providing both users and administrators with a number of enhancements and new features.

So what can we look forward to with Dynamics CRM 2015? Here are our picks for the top 5 changes to look forward to:

1.       Define more complex Business Rules and Business Process Flows

The release of CRM 2013 included the new features of Business Rules and Business Process Flows and with CRM 2015, the ability to define more complex rules and flows is now available. A major change to the Business Process Flows is the new “branching” capability. Not only can you add an “If-Else-Or” scenario to your Process Flows, you can also include multiple expressions within each branch containing a combination of “And” and “Or” operators; customizing your sales, marketing, and service processes is more robust than ever before.

Changes to the Business Rules also include the newly-available “And” and “Or” operators while still maintaining the user-friendly point-and-click method of building the rule. CRM 2015 now offers support for default values and behaviors without the necessity of creating a business condition around it.

2.       Security Enhancements

Dynamics CRM 2015 contains two major security enhancements that CRM administrators will love… one related to the new sales hierarchies and the other for field-level security.

CRM 2015 now offers two hierarchy security models: manager hierarchy and position hierarchy. The manager hierarchy follows a direct reporting structure, or management chain. The manager has access to any records owned by users or teams who report to him; however, in this security model, the manager must be in the same business unit as the users who report to him.

The position hierarchy model allows you to configure security based on “positions”, you, as the admin, define, regardless of the business unit. Additionally, a position can be used for multiple users, but a user can only be in one position. Similar to the manager hierarchy, users can see any data owned by those lower than him on the hierarchy.

Another security bonus with CRM 2015 is that field-level security is now available for both custom and several out-of-the-box fields.

3.       Increase Your Product Catalog Capabilities

The Product Catalog in CRM 2015 is tailored to help your company sell your products more efficiently. The easy-to-configure Product Catalog now allows you to create bundles of products and/or services, and define up-sell as well as cross-sell products which your users will see as product suggestions in their CRM screens. Additionally, Products now include attributes such as “read-only”, “required”, and more, to make customizing the product sales experience even easier.

As an added bonus, the Product Catalog can now be exported and imported across CRM servers – no more re-creating data in multiple environments!

4.       “Roll-Up” Your Metrics

You know you have a ton of valuable data spread throughout all the records in your system, but your business is interested in how it all comes together at the top level – and now you have a simple way to show those key metrics! Roll-up fields in CRM 2015 allow you to “roll-up” data using one-to-many relationships between parent and child records. You can define up to 100 roll-up fields within your organization and up to 10 roll-up fields on a specific entity. With the ability to define roll-up fields as decimals, whole numbers, currency, and date/time, you’ll be able to quickly tell your sales team how many leads they have, let management know how much revenue has been generated (or could be generated) for an account based on the open opportunities.  And there is so much more!

In addition to roll-up fields, CRM 2015 now allows you to define calculated fields directly in the user interface – the conditions and formulas are listed directly in the field definition. These fields can reference values within the same entity or from related entities, and utilize most common calculations.

5.       Improve the way you “Help” your users

You can’t always be on-hand to answer every question your users have; that’s what the “Help” button is for, right? But what happens when the “Help” information isn’t all that…helpful? With CRM 2015 you can now customize Help to give your users the information they are really looking for. There are two levels of customization: global (organizational) or per entity. The global customization level allows you to override the out-of-the-box Help link on all of the customizable entities in your system – just add your own URL to redirect users to a Help page you design. Or if your organization’s needs are a bit more granular, you can use the entity-specific override. Again, you provide the URL, but this time, the override is specific to the grids and forms on the entity selected.

 

This list is just a few of our favorites from the now-available Dynamics CRM 2015, but there are a number of enhancements and new features that are making 2015 a year to look forward to!

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