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Wow, is it release time already? The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta has been released, RTO is approaching, and I am really looking forward to getting these awesome features in front of users. In fact, I can’t wait, which is why I am going to show off some of my favorite things about the new, the improved, the unparalleled CRM 2011 Microsoft Outlook Client.

Recently, Nikhil and I had a chat where we talked about some of the major new things you’ll see in the new client:

Living in Outlook Video

http://bit.ly/bsEt9j

I’d like to go in to more detail, but covering all of those features is just too much for one blog post. Over the next week or so, I’ll have a series of posts covering some of my favorite features, and some tips and tricks to get the most out of the Outlook Client.

CRM Inside Your Outlook

That’s right, this is YOUR Outlook. After all, you decide which folders your email is stored in, how to categorize your contacts, even what color your calendar shows up in. Well, in the CRM Outlook Client, we adopted that same philosophy. It’s your Reading Pane. These are your categories and follow-ups. CRM, with the Outlook Client, is now personal. Here’s how I like mine arranged:

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But guess what? If you don’t like it this way, you can change it! Want to turn off charts? Or put the Reading Pane on the right? It’s as simple as clicking a button.

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What else can you do? How about rearrange the sections inside your Reading Pane: it’s as simple as drag and drop. Don’t want a section taking up space at all? No problem, just hide it. Not only do you get a reading pane custom made for your role in CRM, but you can personalize it however you want!

Your CRM Views

Of course you knew you could create your own views, but in the new CRM Outlook Client, you can keep them open for you all the time:

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Pinning those views will keep them open for you. So the next time you go to your Outlook, and want to peruse your Accounts, all your favorite views will be waiting, just the way you left them.

That’s cool, anything else?

Besides all this, you get conditional formatting (more on that in a future post), follow ups, and categories on your CRM views:

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And, of course, if you can categorize in Outlook, you can also Group By Categories! Just pin the view, and you’ll have all of the items in that view available to you locally. You’re only a right click away from seeing all the items in that view grouped by category, date, location, or anything else you can think of!

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OK, that has to be it, right?

Nope, I’ve saved the best for last. As part of Integrated with Outlook, we get to use all the latest features that the Outlook team has given us, including the Social Connector. What this means is that if you are connected on social networks likes LinkedIn or Facebook, for example, you can CRM Contact’s history right from within your CRM Views!

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So from my CRM View, not only can I glance at the Contact Information for CRM Contacts, if I have any connection to them on my social networks (or past emails, Communicator conversations, etc) I can see them all inside my CRM Folder, without ever leaving my Outlook. As long as that person has an email address defined for them, and you are connected to them over a social network, it just works. Pretty cool, right?

That’s it for today, but stay tuned for more posts about conditional formatting, CRM Email, Data Filters, and using multiple Organizations inside your Outlook.

Tripp Parker


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