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Next Dynamics CRM Update To Get Integration with Power BI, Office 365

Microsoft on Monday described the next major update to its Dynamics CRM product, which is expected to become generally available sometime in the second quarter.

The most recent version release of Dynamics CRM came last December with Dynamics CRM 2015. Microsoft has said that it plans to update Dynamics CRM every six months or so. To that end, the first planned update wave for Dynamics CRM 2015 will come in Q2 and is dubbed the "Spring '15" release.

Speaking at the kickoff of the 2015 Microsoft Convergence conference taking place this week in Atlanta, Ga., Kirill Tatarinov, executive vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Group, said the Spring '15 release "delivers amazing business-process innovation, performance, productivity [and] deep integration with Office."

Julia White, general manager of product marketing for Microsoft Office, took the stage to demonstrate several features coming in the release, including OneNote integration and the addition of numerical scores for sales leads. The scores, which are aimed at helping salespeople prioritize their leads, are generated using predictive intelligence technology from InsideSales.com, a "sales acceleration company," according to White.

Other new features in the Spring '15 release were outlined in a blog post on Monday by Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Dynamics CRM. He said the release will feature deeper integration with Microsoft's Office 365 and Power BI products. As an example of the Office 365 integration, the release will have "an immersive Excel experience, enabling a sales manager to perform 'what if' scenarios in Excel and update their forecasts right within CRM," Stutz said.

The Power BI integration will come via new Power BI Connectors for both the core Dynamics CRM product and its Dynamics Marketing component. "Sales, service and marketing professionals can analyze data with interactive dashboards and reports in Power BI, resulting in faster insights and decision-making for sales professionals," Stutz said.

Other enhancements coming with the Spring '15 release include "new mobility scenarios"; the launch of a mobile SDK; and a new "Social Engagement" tool (see image below) aimed at helping marketing and sales professionals track the activity of their products on various social media platforms, perform data analytics based on information from social media, and interact with customers on social media.

[Click on image for larger view.]

The upcoming Spring '15 Dynamics CRM release will work with the Spring '15 release of Parature, which became generally available back in January. Acquired by Microsoft in early 2014, Parature is a knowledgebase management product that includes tools for customer service-oriented functions.

"The Spring '15 release marks the start of Parature's integration with Dynamics CRM for knowledge management," Stutz wrote. "Customer service agents will have knowledge integrated into their daily service interactions out of the box."

In other Dynamics CRM news, Microsoft on Monday announced that the Dynamics CRM tablet app can be secured using container technology from Good Technology, a provider of enterprise mobility management solutions. In addition, the company said it has acquired intellectual property from U.K.-based Fusion Software that is aimed at helping organizations manage customer feedback.

More from Convergence 2015:

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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