Preparing for Orion: What Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers can do today

Orion, the next major version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is expected to be released in the second half of 2013. We don't yet have at our disposal a detailed list of changes to be expected, but based on the announcements made during recent Microsoft events we can already point out some key areas that existing Dynamics CRM customers should pay attention to when starting their upgrade preparations for this major new release.

Keep calm and prepare for Orion

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About Jukka Niiranen

Working at Digital Illustrated in Finland, Jukka helps users make sense of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and guiding organizations to make the most of their Microsoft platform investments. 10 years of CRM experience from the field, heavy user of Microsoft's CRM solution since 2005. In addition to my blog, you can follow my #MSDYNCRM posts on Twitter or add the Surviving CRM page to your circles on Google+.

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What the hell are they thinking?

This is going to not only slow-down and reduce user adoption of CRM in our company, it will undo 2 years of development and significant amounts of user training to get us where we are today. Ultimately, we now face a choice (1) stay on UR11 with outdated software running on-premise and accept the risk that we will get no rollups and patching support or (2) apply the release, encounter a reduction in functionality, incur a massive overhead cost in redesigning business processes, in-house development and training. Re-write tons of internal process guides. (3) shift to another product with a more stable development roadmap. ABSOLUTELY CRAZY MICROSOFT! You're taking a very good product suite and ruining it.

It's just natural progression

I think this is a natural progression of the software. Sure, there are fundamental changes that are being made, but every new version of software is the same - you have to make a choice as to when you upgrade, plan for it. It's better to see it as an opportunity to review the development work you have and take advantage of the new features so that you can improve your CRM system.

Keep calm and carry on?

Who's to say that staying with CRM 2011 (pre-Orion) is such a bad option?

Do we know if Microsoft will continue to support it (releasing roll-ups etc.), as planned, until July 2017?

If so, then what is there to worry about? If you want the new goodies then you will have to upgrade, but surely that's what you would expect.

We'll effectively have CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 running side-by-side for a few years, but that should only be worrying for people still on CRM v4.

Good article Jukka.

Yikes

Having worked with CRM since 1.0 there has always been a laundry list of new features and enhancements that one would want to see in the next version of CRM. While Orion may appear to have some nice features, there is too big of a leap to move from the "classic" UI to this new flow based, autosave UI. On-prem customers are one thing, they can stay put on CRM 2011. Will Online customers have this rammed down their throats? Will they need to invest in hundreds of hours of UI re-config work that they were completely currently satisfied with. That is not going sit well and who is expected to pay for that? Maybe I am being nervous over nothing, but every time I read about how wonderful Orion is, I shudder to think about how the many xRM solutions we built over the years will be adapted to that.

I don't mind taking a leap, but there needs to be a bridge!

Yikes

I am of the same mind. This is to dramatic a change given all of the adoption and subsequent design complexity of the "xRM" push and adoption over the last couple of years. Microsoft - give your head a shake, you run the risk of isolating and "pissing off" a lot of people who have invested a ton of time and money into CRM 2011 to make it a stable xRM platform for business operations - way beyond a sales process management tool !!