Friday, July 25, 2014

Is Your CRM 2011 Ready for the Next Update (UR12, aka Polaris)?

Posted in [Dynamics CRM], [Technical] By anonymous @ 12/10/2012
This article was updated on 1/23/2013 with additional information about UR12.
 
UPDATE: 2/1/2013:Due to the magnitude of the changes to the CRM User Interface and database components that UR12 may impose, C5 Insight strongly recommends that on-premise clients proceed with caution. We typically like to wait a minimum of 30 days, but in this case recommend 60 to 90 days, while Microsoft continues to let the dust settle on this major release.  It is prudent, for those customers who would like to get first-hand experience, to create a self-contained “sandbox environment” and begin testing the impact of UR12 in the sandbox.
 
 
Recently Microsoft announced that Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 12 (UR 12, also known as Polaris) will be released Q4 2012 for CRM 2011 Online (and in the Spring for CRM 2011 On Premise).  It contains some exciting changes - but some of these carry potential issues that might cause issues for your organization.  We will go into more detail about some of the more pertinent items from this list but from what we see on the release information UR12 will include:
  • BROWSER AGNOSTIC
  • FLUID UI
  • YAMMER INTEGRATION
  • BULK DATA API
  • SKYPE INTEGRATION
  • CUSTOM WORKFLOW ACTIVITIES IN CRM ONLINE
  • OFFICE 2013 COMPATIBILITY
  • NEW PRE-DEFINED AND CONFIGURABLE SALES AND SERVICE PROCESSES

CRITICAL INFO: CRM 2011 UR12 Will Work With Multiple Browsers - But Could Cause Issues

This release will make a lot people happy because you will no longer be limited to just using Internet Explorer (IE) as your browser. It will now include support for all popular browsers including: Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

However with this could also result in some problems that you will should review prior to the time that the rollup is deployed. One of the major areas of concern we want to notify you about is around JavaScript.  Until this update CRM only supported IE as a browser, so there was no concern about the custom code or JavaScript working with other browsers; supporting other browsers means that some of the JavaScript on your CRM forms may cause errors unless it is updated to work with the new standards.

With this being a potential concern Microsoft has released a tool that you can import into your org and run to identify these areas. This tool will identify different types of JavaScript that has the potential to break if you decide to upgrade. Here is a link to the article and download that Microsoft has released: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2012/06/21/microsoft-dynamics-crm-2011-custom-code-validation-tool-released.aspx  They break down these “problem areas” into two groups “Blue” & “Red.” RED areas will have issues in ALL browsers where the BLUE might work in IE but will NOT work in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox. If you don’t feel comfortable running this to identify or fix these items please contact the C5 Insight team for assistance.

If your organization is using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online, then UR12 will AUTOMATICALLY be deployed in Q4 of 2012 (literally any day now - we will post the date to this article as soon as Microsoft gives us an exact date).  You should take immediate steps to ensure that your JavaScript will work correctly. For CRM 2011 On-Premise customers, the release date will most likely be available in Q1 or Q2 of 2013 (we typically  see these release On-Premise release dates  about 6 months after Online).  Again, once we hear of a release date, we will update this article.

UPDATE: 1/7/2013: Microsoft has announced that UR12 is now publically avilable for download. This means that if you have an on-premise installation of CRM 2011 you can now officially upgrade if you are ready. Here is a link to the KB Article, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

For those interested in what browser versions etc. will be supported here is a matrix from the official UR12 Release Preview Guide.

Update 1/23/2013: The initial UR12 On Premise release was pulled after some bugs were found.  It has now been re-released. (False alarm - only the Outlook client can be downloaded, we are still waiting on the server to be released any day now).   Also, for those deploying CRM 2011 UR12 On-Premise, there are further instructions available on which browsers you want to support within your organization here (you will need to download this solution to determine which browsers to support if you are on-premise): http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj860463.aspx

UR12_Broswer_Compatability

CRM 2011 Polaris Fluid UI, Flat UI, User Experience (UX)

Have you heard about the new Fluid UI also referred to by Microsoft as the Flat UI or the new “User Experience (UX)"; no? Well if you haven’t basically, all the menus and forms are being redesigned for this release. Good new or bad news, this new UI will be rolled out to CRM Online as an Opt-In option so if you are interested you would need to contact CRM Support.

The new UX will feature a simpler look.  Basically Microsoft is giving it a more streamlined experience for the users by flattening the UI. What does “flattening the UI” exactly mean? From what we can tell it looks like they are trying to give the users more information without as many pop-ups and without having to click different links. For example if you have a child entity you will see the attached records in a grid on the right side of the form. It seems to share some of the design concepts you see in SharePoint.

If this is something you are interested in as a CRM Online customer (On-Prem, again, won't have this availability until later in 2013) make sure you think about how this will impact your users. They will probably definitely want some additional training on how this will impact their day to day use with CRM.  One suggestion: after the UR12 is released, get a new 30-day trial account for CRM Online and experiment with the new UI prior to asking Microsoft to roll it out to your organization.

Yammer

Yammer, what’s that? Well if you don’t use Yammer internally you might want to check it out. Yammer is a social collaboration tool that gives your company an easy, fun, and more centralized place for discussing company or team based topics. We use it at C5 Insight and it gives our team-members a great way to review and discuss different topics; in addition Yammer also gives you the ability to have groups for different teams. For example we have different teams that we can belong to (like SharePoint, CRM, Data Integration/Migration. etc) in addition to a main group for all C5 announcements. This way you can collaborate with individuals either on a team level or company level about different subjects.

Ok, for those of you who are using Yammer, well welcome Yammer to CRM 2011!  The really interesting piece to this announcement is that by Microsoft adding Yammer into CRM it allows your team to collaborate on topics not only from CRM but also from the other Yammer applications such as the Desktop app,  Web app and we can’t forget the app for mobile available for Windows Phone, iOS and Android!

Bulk Data API

Anybody who knows me knows I love the data integration and migration side of CRM. With that said, the thing that gets me most excited is that a Bulk Data API is also being released. Anyone who has done a migration or integration with CRM Online knows that this is one area that we’ve struggled with when having very large datasets. Thankfully they have not restricted us on API calls.  Right now we don’t have many details about it but it seems like they have developed some new calls to support batching along with multi-operations (Updates, Inserts, Deletes) in one API call.

VERY EXCITING, well at least for me! Smile  Stay tuned ... we might have some additional information on this in the upcoming days………

UPDATE: 1/3/2013 Scribe has released version 7.6 as of 12/18. In the new release is the ability to do bulk Insert, Update and deletes. Now this is NOT leveraging the new MSFT CRM Bulk API but it should definitely increase speed for data loading! Here is a link to their blog regarding the new release.  Click here

But Wait, There's More!

Wow! Who’s ready for UR12 now? I know I am.  This release will definitely be amazing and includes more updates than I had time to explain in this post. I got most of my information from the official Microsoft Release Preview Guide - which contains further details as well as information on some additional updates. Click here to request a copy.

If you have questions about UR12 please feel free to reach out to us and we can help you navigate the waters so you have a successful rollout of UR12!

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Comments

Got something to say? Join the discussion »
    Posted by Mark on 2/19/2013
    Hi - Regarding the "12" update, we're having an issue with some custom javascript that is no longer working in IE, but is okay in Firefox and Chrome after this update has been applied. I installed and used the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Custom Code Validation Tool, but it didn't show any red items (problems in all browsers) for any of the files, just a couple of blue items (marking as potential problem for Firefox, Chrome, but not IE). This problem is to do with the CRM "Assign" and "Resolve" buttons - where the form opens but in IE is very small and none of the form objects are visible except for the buttons along the bottom. I've found a couple of pointers regarding the fetchxml setParameter vs SetParameter issue, and using Xrm.Page.getControl instead of document.getElementById, but it hasn't made a difference.
    Posted by Antonio on 1/29/2013
    Superb man..! Quite a helpful info
    Hope Marketing and HR dept. will be well ahead now.

    Regards,
    Antonio

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