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Consistent and repeatable business processes for everyone…and a whole lot more!

Consistent and repeatable business processes for everyone…and a whole lot more!

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta is here! That means it’s time to start telling the story behind all of the great new features. This week we will focus on how Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 helps organizations work more intelligently by helping create and implement repeatable processes.

What does this all mean? Nikhil and I had a chat where we talked about some of the major new things you’ll see in the Beta:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ5GIQP3LAY

See all your business processes in one place with the Process Center.

For those of you who have been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the “Workflows” area is gone in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Where did it go? The functionality is still there, but it now lives in a new area called “Process Center.”

The Process Center is where you can manage all of your business processes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In the past this just meant Workflows, however, it now means both Workflows and the brand new Dialogs feature. While workflows are good for long-running asynchronous business processes like the Opportunity Lifecycle, Dialogs allow you to create interactive, wizard-like processes that step end-users through a series of questions related to the completion of a task or activity - anything from a customer service person placing a follow-up call to a sales person giving feedback on a recent client meeting.

Work management is improved with advanced queues and activity modeling

In addition to the Process Center there are some other great work management features that, when combined with workflows and dialogs, really make things come to life. Queues have been beefed up with support for making any entity queue-able, a more complete set of actions for routing, working and releasing items and the introduction of both user & team owned queues. In addition, when your process assigns out work we’ve made this a whole lot more flexible by enabling you to create your own custom activity types for representing things like approvals or special follow-up activities.

Powered by the .NET 4.0 WF engine

We wanted to ensure that these great new scenarios were being built on a robust infrastructure. We have worked very closely with the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) team to build our workflow using the latest and greatest .NET technology. In addition to all the great new end-user scenarios we’ve introduced, WF 4.0 brings improved run-time performance, faster upgrades, and a developer extensibility story that revolves around the latest XAML & WF Activity authoring.

And it’s all part of solutions management…

Heard about Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solutions Management? Well everything I’ve mentioned has been made “Solution aware”. This means that you as a developer are able build, distribute and support business processes as part of your CRM application – along with all of your other components.

We’re super excited about the great new business process features being delivered in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Please watch Nikhil and I discussing & demoing some of these great new scenarios and sign up for the Beta today at http://www.crm2011beta.com!

Wanna learn more? Stay tuned for a follow-up post where, Sandhya Vankamamidi will do a deep dive on using Dialogs, Queues and Custom activities in a customer service organization.

Cheers,

Steve Kaplan

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