One of the most talked about core changes to Dynamics CRM is coming this summer. User access will now no longer be limited to just Internet Explorer. Accessing CRM via ‘Small Screen’ Devices using the free Mobile Express or one of several third party applications for small screen devices will no longer be the only approach. Browser equality is coming to CRM 2011 in the form of CRM Anywhere.
This feature change will open the iPad floodgates for the Dynamics CRM community. Partners, Clients and producers of CRM packaged applications will all be impacted. For a while, I think it is going to raise more questions than answers as we all try to sort through them. It will certainly be the predominant CRM conversation in all parts of the industry.
Why? Take a look at the forecast numbers from eMarketer.com regarding users and market penetration.
The number of iPad users will rise by over 90% this year to 52.2 million. 3/4 of all tablet users in the USA will being using the Apple device.
What questions are being raised in the various environments?
End users –
- Do we buy iPads for our CRM users?
- If CRM users buy their own device will we let them access CRM?
- If I buy my users iPads will that solve my user adoption problem?
- The Microsoft Mobile Application requires enabling IFD Active Directory Authentication Services, which is not a trivial undertaking.
- What are the differences between Safari Browser access (free) and using the Microsoft Mobile Client that costs an additional $30 mo (estimated)
- Do users need offline access or is 3G and/or WiFi sufficient?
- How will I support these users – Remote Screen Share? Screen shot capture?
- Which managed solutions work on the iPad and which ones do not?
- Are we going to have to buy iPads for all our developers + customer facing personnel?
- Since the iPad is primarily an entertainment device, do employees get them as perk or as a necessary part of the job?
- How do I manage the conversation about online access vs offline access additional fee solutions?
- Is the Microsoft branded application the best or should I resell it directly from CWR or one of the ones from the other providers?
- Do I need to provide additional training to my clients?
- Will I need to install the mobile application in our production system?
- Will this be a new profit center for me?
- Will I need to also purchase tablets from other providers – Android, Surface when it comes out?
- How will my solution perform on the iPad?
- Do I have to make the entire application iPad functional or can I reserve certain ‘administrative’ type functions to IE on the desktop?
- Will the iPad use help me sell more solution licenses to more customers?
- Should I change my licensing model for the iPad?
- Do I now need to test every code change not just in IE but also on the iPad, on the PC in Safari, Firefox and Chrome, other slate devices?
What do you think? How will the iPad influence your CRM life?