Accessing CRM

Part of the user adoption strategy for any business application is making sure it is accessible to the users in a way that makes sense for their job role.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers flexibility in the location of the application (either On-Premise, Online, or Partner Hosted) and also the method by which it can be accessed. Jump to the following sections to learn more about methods for accessing Dynamics 365 for CRM:

Web Browser

Also known as the “web client,” users can access Dynamics 365 through a supported browser.  No installation is required on the local machine to use the web client.  Users simply type in a URL for their CRM website.

Between the web client and the Outlook client, the web client is generally easier for users to learn because the tile-based navigation provides visual cues for users who may not remember where to go.

Tip!  Click and drag the URL to the desktop to create a shortcut.

Outlook

Also known as the Outlook client, once Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Outlook is installed on the local machine, the CRM functionality appears in Outlook.  In addition to providing the ability to synchronize activities (e-mail, tasks, and appointments) and contacts between Outlook and CRM, the full CRM functionality can be accessed within Outlook on the left navigation.

When CRM data is displayed within Outlook, much of the native Outlook functionality is leveraged. Therefore, the Outlook client has some unique functionality compared to the web client.  Features exclusive to Outlook include:

  • Outlook preview pane on records
  • Tabbed views
  • The ability to pin views
  • Searching within a single view
  • Conditional formatting of views

For more information on how to use the Outlook client, visit the chapter on the Outlook client.

Tip! Depending on your version of Outlook, you may be able to right-click on a link and select Add to Favorites.  Otherwise, you may need to use this blog on Using Favorites and Shortcuts in CRM 2011 for Outlook.

Mobile

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has numerous options for access via phone or tablets. In addition to accessing Dynamics 365 via the web browser on a mobile device, users can have a simplified view of the data using the Dynamics 365 App for phones or tablets that can be used on Windows, Apple or Android devices. If you’re not upgraded to Dynamics 365 yet, you may need to use the earlier version known as CRM for phones express. Organizations with unique mobile needs may still find developing a custom application to be the best solution for mobile use.

The  Dynamics 365 App for phones and tablets is easy to use and provides a touch first experience. It includes a communication card where you can tap to call or tap to compose an email.  Being able to access Dynamics 365 from a tablet empowers the end user to stay connected no matter where they are. It’s great for on-the-road Sales Representatives that want to be able to enter data into Dynamics 365 right after a meeting has ended.

For more information on mobile applications, see the mobile options chapter.