Mobile Express

In July 2009, Microsoft released Mobile Express for Dynamics 4.0 and has since provided updates with the release of Dynamics CRM 2011.  Mobile Express is an optimized set of web pages specifically designed for phones and other small screen devices to allow mobile connections to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Supported Environments/Devices

Mobile express is available on mobile operating systems and browsers that support HTML 4 and JavaScript.  As of March, 2011 the following devices were supported:

  • All Windows Phone 7 and 8 Devices
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 on HTC HD2, Fuze and Touch HD Devices
  • Palm WebOS on the Palm Pre
  • Nokia N97 mini and Nokia E71 with the S60 OS
  • Nokia devices with S40 OS
  • Android – Most android phones
  • iPhone/iPad – IOS3 and newer
  • Blackberry – Storm, Storm 2, Curve and newer devices

On the server side, Mobile Express is supported on CRM 4.0 with Update Rollup 5 and all newer versions of on premise and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Features & Configuration

As stated earlier, Mobile Express is simply a light-weight small form factor set of web pages with JavaScript support.  The features are designed to allow quick access a small amount of fields and entities with limited amount of data entry.   This makes perfect sense as you wouldn’t want to enter large amounts of data on a small screen.  In most cases you are retrieving information or entering a few pieces of data.

Given this focus on quick retrieval and small amounts of data entry, it’s imperative that you can modify the out-of-the-box forms.   Fortunately, Microsoft not only included new mobile forms, but also allows these forms to be modified.   To customize a Mobile Express form, open the customization window and choose the entity you wish to customize.  Select the forms navigation menu and double-click the mobile form.

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With Mobile Express, you are limited to adding and removing fields from the form.  This is because the forms are based on a single column design concept which fits small form factors.

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As you can see in this screenshot from a Nokia Lumina 920, the Account fields are in a single column.  Even in a larger form factor such as an iPad mini, you will still see just one column of fields.

Mobile Express supports mobile forms on new custom entities and also allows new custom fields on existing entities.

Improvements – What it can’t do yet…As discussed earlier, Mobile Express is designed for fast retrieval of data and limit data entry.  Because Microsoft designed Mobile Express to serve this purpose, it does have several missing features as compared to the full web client. These include the following:

  • Non-supported Entities – Mobile Express does not contain mobile forms for entities such as Goals, Sales Literature and Articles to name a few.
  • Dashboards/Reporting – Mobile Express does not support dashboards or reporting
  • Advanced Find – There is no support for advanced find or filtering, although there is search capabilities within Mobile Express.
  • Dialogs – There is no support for Dialogs.

Security

As with CRM for the iPad, Mobile Express is only accessible with a live internet connection.  There is no offline storage of data other than what is stored in the temporary internet files within the web browser.