Microsoft Streamlines Dynamics CRM 2013 Workflows

Microsoft wants to help users get more done by staying put. New activity feed options help them manage their CRM activities more efficiently and with fewer screens.


Microsoft has given its customer relationship management (CRM) platform a makeover, and the changes go beyond prettier pixels.

Leading up to and following the Dynamics CRM 2013 launch, the company has been showcasing the many enhancements that the product has in store for sales and marketing organizations. This time around, Microsoft is turning the spotlight to time-saving features in the software's activity feed.

In a Nov. 11 blog post, Microsoft Dynamics CRM's Mukul Aggarwal noted that the activity feed acts as ground zero when it comes to interacting with customer data. "The activity feed is the first thing you see when you view records in CRM, whether it's an opportunity, lead, account, contact or service case," wrote Aggarwal. The newest features are aimed at helping users get more done with less screen switching.

Dynamics CRM 2013 now allows users to create appointments, emails and custom-created activities from the activity feed. Clicking the new ellipsis-like icon (…) exposes the new functionality. Upon inputting new details, users can save the activity, mark it as complete or send it in the case of an email.

As an example of Dynamics CRM's new streamlined approach, Aggarwal offered that "saving an activity lets you stay on the same page, so that you can take any action (like marking it complete, deleting, closing, or converting to opportunity or case)." Aggarwal added that users can press "the browser back button to go back to your activity feed at any time."

To further drive efficiency, the software offers new filters to help users better organize their activity feeds and take action on pressing tasks.

The new In Progress filter displays only those activities that are not complete or haven't been closed. "In-progress activities are also listed in order by the date they were modified, with the most recent at the top," noted Aggarwal. The Overdue filter, as its name suggest, shows items whose deadlines have come and gone, "with the earliest due date on the top."

The All filter "is actually not a filter," stated Aggarwal, and is the default view. Items are listed according to the date they were modified, with recent items floating to the top of the list.

Microsoft's efforts to simplify its Dynamics CRM platform extend to upgrades. "When you upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, we have taken care to not change customizations you have made to how people navigate to areas in the application," asserted the Dynamics CRM team in a separate blog post.

Despite major UI changes, and while "the navigation pane is now the navigation bar," the team claimed that users "should see the same navigation options you had before." To verify that customizations make the transition unscathed, Microsoft provided a support document that guides users to the areas, groups and sub-areas where their workspaces reside.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...