Microsoft CRM – 6 Thoughts Six Months After CRM 2013

Posted on: May 5, 2014 | By: Jim Bertler | Microsoft Dynamics CRM

It has been nearly 6 months since Microsoft released Microsoft CRM 2013. Logan Consulting is a Microsoft CRM Partner based in Chicago and we have performed many Microsoft CRM upgrades including online conversions, and several on premise upgrades. There are a number of new features that are beginning to shine, and there are some items that require some polish to make them more usable.

Here are six thoughts, six months after Microsoft CRM 2013.  

The Social Pane – With the advent of Microsoft CRM 2013, Microsoft introduced a new user interface form that is named after each entity. For example, under accounts, there is a new form named “Accounts”, and the legacy form from CRM 2011 has been named “Information”. The social pane (or perhaps some users would now call it the social “pain”) is an updated version of the “Wall” activity feeds introduced in CRM 2011. It is now located smack in the middle of the new form.


  • Shows all notes & activities right in front of you
  • Can Create Activities right from this control


  • The “Quick” Phone Call button that can’t be removed, confusing long-time Microsoft CRM users
  • The Social Pane can’t be customized- it’s take it or leave it.

If you performed a Microsoft CRM upgrade from 2011, you will quickly realize that the “Post” button is missing and will have to edit the underlying xml to put it back on the control. Ditto for the setting of default view to activity, note, or post.

Quick View Forms – This is a hidden gem that is very helpful. In short, it allows you to display data on a related entity form. How is this different from a sub-grid? It allows inline display of data. For example, if you have a case form, you can show all of the pertinent address & phone data for the regarding customer without coding. The only down side is that this data can’t be shown directly on a view from the form. Users have been asking for this feature for years!

Business Rules – This is another new feature in Microsoft CRM 2013 that has great potential. It essentially allows a form to be customized with certain rules through an easy to use interface, without writing JavaScript. In practice, it has some nice abilities, but is very limited in capabilities. Don’t throw out the JavaScript manuals yet! Perhaps Microsoft will add some interesting capabilities in this area in the next updates.

Tablet Access – Yes folks, Microsoft CRM 2013 is officially tablet accessible. Microsoft even supplies Apps for the Ipad and Surface Pro tablets free of charge! If you have an on premise install, you must have IFD (Internet Facing Deployment) installed for Tablets to work. Sorry, no app for Android tablet yet, but we have seen Microsoft CRM 2013 running in chrome on an Android tablet.

Auto-save – You either love this feature or you hate it. Auto Save is turned on automatically in Microsoft CRM 2013. It runs in the background every 30 seconds to “auto-save” your data. Unfortunately, it does not refresh the screen. Many clients are asking to turn-off auto-save once they are upgraded. Microsoft seems to be having second thoughts, as they added back the “Save & Close” button in Rollup 2. I think the jury is still out on this feature.

Duplicate detection –  The good news is that Duplicate detection is still there. The bad news is that you can create a lot of duplicates before you realize it. How can this be so? It seems that the new “auto-save” function prevented Microsoft from popping up the instant notification about a duplicate when you go to save a record, so they turned it off. The only way around this is to turn off auto-save, and use the manual “Save” and Save & Close” buttons the way it worked in CRM 2011, along with the installation of a third party duplicate detection tool to give back the instant duplicate detection notification.

Microsoft CRM 2013 has added many new features that we have not covered here. We are somewhat surprised at all of the “bugginess” in the initial rollout. Microsoft seems to have resolved most issues with the late March 2014 release of Roll-up 2 which made IE11 officially supported for CRM 2013, and fixed a number of other annoying issues. As always, proper planning and a sound test process is important for a successful upgrade to Microsoft CRM Upgrade to 2013.

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