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 CRM 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 CRM:

Web Browser

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

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

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View this image of the navigation in CRM 2011

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

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View this image of the navigation in CRM 2011

Outlook

Also known as the Outlook client, once Microsoft Dynamics CRM 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.

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View this image of the navigation in CRM 2011

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!  Notice the screenshot above shows CRM navigation elements as Favorites.  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 CRM has numerous options for access via phone or tablets. In addition to accessing Microsoft Dynamics CRM via the web browser on a mobile device, users can have a simplified view of the data using Mobile Express.  There are also apps specific to the iPad or Windows 8 devices.  Organizations with unique mobile needs may find developing a custom application will be the best solution for mobile use.

CRM 2013 provides a free CRM App that can be used on Windows, Apple or Android devices. The CRM App 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. A unique feature of the app is the global search that searches across multiple entities at one time.  Being able to access CRM 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 CRM right after a meeting has ended.

CRM 2013 Mobile App

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



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