Understanding the December 2012 Service Update – Part 1

Published February 25 2013 by David Kohar
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 Overview and Zero2Ten Recommendations

The CRM Product Team shipped some significant functionality in the December 2012 Service Update (aka Polaris) this past month with more functionality coming in the next couple of weeks for CRM Online Customers. Here are some details on the new User Experience (New UX) along with some instructions on how to upgrade (if you are an Existing Customer) and when you may want to use the new functionality in your CRM implementation (whether you are a New or Existing Customer).

The New UX is the direction that Microsoft is taking the solution which is a more modern Web 2.0 look and feel. With most 1st releases of new functionality it has some excellent new features and some areas that will only work for limited use cases, so the decision on whether you use the New UX will vary by the type of implementation you have, your user base and your interest in wanting to leverage the latest functionality.

Overall, we recommend that you use the New UX for the Sales and Service Processes (Lead, Opportunity and Case) where possible and only for Executive or iPad Access for the Account and Contact functionality for this release. For Existing Customers, introducing the New UX for "some" of the functionality that a user interacts with will be a good introduction to the New UX. For New Customers, it may be counterintuitive for your Users to see 2 different experiences and the Classic UX may be a better starting point.

In the details below, we will outline for each of the 5 main record types (COLAC – Contact, Opportunity, Lead, Account and Case) what is in the New UX and what our specific recommendations are for using it today. We have broken down our recommendations to target different user types including: Executives, Managers, Users and iPad Access (coming later this month).

In summary, the new functionality is a great step forward for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and it will continue to get better and more robust with the next release that is currently scheduled to come out in August, 2013.

How to get the New UX
If you are an existing customer, you will need to upgrade in order to see the new functionality. For almost every existing customer, we recommend that you start a Free 30 day trial at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm.aspx and try out the new functionality EVEN IF YOU DON'T PLAN ON rolling it out to your end users right now. This is the direction that the User Experience is going so start learning it. If you see opportunities to leverage the solution NOW, then go through the upgrade process.

Upgrading is simple:

Upgrade CRM (do this off hours):

  1. Settings -> Administration -> Product Updates 
  2. Run the Upgrade Wizard (Takes about 10 minutes to complete)


Go into Customizations:

  1. Settings -> Customizations -> Customize the System ->
  2. Select Account -> Forms
    1. Highlight the new "Account" form
    2. Select "Assign Security Roles"
    3. Change "Display to everyone" to "Display only to these selected security roles"
    4. Select the System Administrator role
    5. Deselect "Enabled for fallback"
    6. Select OK


Repeat the above steps for:

  1. Contact
  2. Lead
  3. Opportunity
  4. Case

This will allow you to start working with the new forms (as the System Administrator) BEFORE you roll them out to your team.

New User Experience
Now that you have upgraded, here are some things to know about the New UX.

General Information

There are a couple of key items to understand about the New UX. It is delivered in 2 components:

  1. New Role Based Form
  2. New UX

Here are the experiences that can now be delivered for any of the 5 COLAC (Contact, Opportunity, Lead, Account and Case) records:

  New Form Classic Forms
New UX X  
Classic UX X X


The New Forms have some unique features but are mostly configured using the Customization Toolkit. The exception to this is the Process Bar at the Top of:

  1. Lead
  2. Opportunity
  3. Case

This part of the form is configured using the Process Control Customization Tool found by going to the menu and editing the process.


You will be able to easily add Stages and Steps to the process by pointing to existing fields on the Record.

In general, the new forms are a real improvement in providing a modern User Experience. There are a few items that you will need to know about them before you roll them out to your users:

  1. They are NOT an "All or Nothing" deployment scenario. Just like Role Based Forms have always worked in CRM, you can easily set up who gets the New UX and who gets the Classic UX. If you are rolling out both UXs to your users, you will need to factor in training and support for the two experiences.
  2. The new UX has multiple examples where it is a "flatter" experience. Specifically, there are fewer scenarios that require you to pop up another window to input information.
  3. The phone call fields are integrated with Skype. You can click on a number and the number will be automatically dialed. A phone call Activity will also automatically open so that you can record details of the call.
  4. Activity Feeds are now embedded in the form (not hidden in a Tab). They work the same way as before with a few extra features. You can now "LIKE" as post for example.
  5. You can add new Phone Call and Tasks to the New UX. It is a much simpler experience and keeps you right on the form. This is definitely an improved Activity Management experience for these record types. If you want to add an Appointment or other Activity, you would have to switch to "Classic".
  6. Notes are also better accessed with Activities and Posts (Activity Feeds). One item to note is that the Subject Line no longer shows up in the summary view.
  7. The Forms have an Auto Save function (bottom right corner of the form). If you change a field, it will save instantly. This is a good feature to have and also be aware of if you are used to working in the Classic UX using "Save" or "Save and Close" to preserve changes.
  8. The New UX does not allow you to add associated records unless you add a Sub Grid on the Form for that record. For example, if you are on an Account, you can view associated Opportunities but would have to "Switch to Classic" to add a New Opportunity.
  9. The New UX does not support any code/scripts, Charts in Sub Grids or Partner Solutions like InsideView. Key point to note here is that you can apply all of these options on the New Form, it will just open up in the "Classic View".
  10. If you want to perform a specific action on the record that you can't do on the New UX, you can simply "Switch to Classic" and the same form will come up in the Classic UX.

Read: Understanding the December 2012 Service Update – Part 2

David has an extensive track record within the CRM marketplace and has been involved in the CRM industry since it began. His knowledge has established him as a leading expert in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. David leads Sales Support, Corporate Adoption Programs and Solutions for prospective and current customers.

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