Apple iPad

In March of 2013, Microsoft officially supported access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Apple’s iPad platform through the Safari web browser.  The following section discusses which devices are supported and on which platforms, as well as the features and limitations of the original release.

Supported environments/devices

For the server component, iPad access to Dynamics CRM is limited to CRM Online.  It is not currently supported for on-premise customers. Additionally, CRM Online customers need to accept the product update from the Settings -> Administration page of CRM Online.

On the client side, iPad access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online requires IOS6.0 and above.  This eliminates the 1st generation iPad from consideration as Apple currently limits the IOS to version 5.1 and has no plans to update the 1st generation to IOS6.  Additionally, iPad support is limited to the full size iPad as the iPad Mini is not supported.  On full-sized iPad’s with IOS 5.1 or older operating systems, the user is redirected to Mobile Express automatically.  Users with the iPad mini are not redirected to Mobile Express.

Features

The following features are supported:

General optimizations. To optimize the experience on the iPad, Microsoft included several features and enhancements.  For starters, both landscape and portrait mode is supported.  To save space and reduce the number of popups, the ribbon bar and help visor were removed.  In addition to limiting the number of popups, many remaining popups were flattened including entity lookups.

Dashboards. As with out of the box CRM Online, the dashboard page is your initial landing spot.   You can customize your default dashboard and easily switch between dashboards with the dashboard picker.  The dashboards fully render inside Safari and you also have drill down capabilities into each chart as you do in the web client.  Unfortunately, you are not able to create new dashboards at this time.

iPad Sales Dashboard 2013
View iPad Dashboard in CRM 2011

Entity list views.

Within the iPad, you have support for the standard Entity List Views. Support includes changing views through the view selector dropdown box and sorting individual columns within the list view.  In addition, you can also view and drill down to the charts associated to each Entity List View.  As with the full online client, you can also expand the chart by clicking the expand button.

Active Accounts View 2013 in iPad
View iPad Account List View in CRM 2011

Limited sitemap. Navigating CRM Online on the iPad uses the same Sitemap navigation concept as the full client, however, the entities available to choose are those support for the iPad.  This includes the navigation groups, My Work, Customers and Sales.   The sub-groups include What’s New (Activity Feeds), Dashboards, and the standard COLA entities; Contacts, Opportunities, Leads and Accounts.  The sitemap also supports collapsing the sitemap and the quick create new record functionality.

Limited entity forms. As with the Sitemap Navigation, CRM Online on the iPad supports the new form mode for the COLA entities: Contacts, Opportunities, Leads and Activities.  For non-COLA entities, Microsoft delivers a Read Optimized mode.  If you choose to edit a non-COLA entity, Microsoft provides a Mobile Express form inline.  The following is an example of the new guided process Opportunity form.

iPad Opportunity view CRM 2013
View of iPad Opportunity in CRM 2011

Activity feeds. Support for Activity Feeds is virtually identical to the full web browser version.  Functionality includes the ability to create a new post, like an existing post or replay to a post.  The following screen shot shows the Sales Activity page with the list view of activity feeds.

Activity Feed CRM 2013
View iPad Sales Activity Dashboard in CRM 2011

Improvements – What it can’t do yet…

Now that we have examined the list of features, let’s take a quick look at some of the limitations.  Given that there are several types of forms being rendered; mobile express, read optimized and the new forms, javascript support has been removed.

Voice Over and Lync integration is not supported, but Skype integration does, albeit from the grids only.  Yammer integration is also not supported.  Also, as stated earlier, ribbon buttons were removed and no sitemap modifications are allowed.

Security

Given that data security is a critical issue when it relates to mobile devices, it is important to note that access to CRM data from the iPad requires an active internet connection.  There is no offline storage of data other than what is stored in the temporary internet files within Safari.   Because no data is stored locally and there is no native client, there is no remote wipe support.



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