Recently, a customer enquired about the ability to access their Dynamics CRM portal via mobile.

They wanted to give their sales staff the ability to access real time sales figures and associated up-to-date management information out in the field.

Our client knew that Microsoft Dynamics CRM shipped with a client for the iPad and they were keen to take advantage. We were also keen to get experience on mobility within the sales area.

The capability to take advantage of mobility has never been more important. Statistics show that in in 2013, 65 million tablets were shipped with Android and iPads dominating, The growth rates for adoption of tablets in Q3 2013 was 6% for the quarter.

With this growth we needed to improve our knowledge on:

  1. Tablet requirements; in this case the iPad.
  2. Architecture
  3. Functionality

1. iPad Requirements

Microsoft recommend the following:

  • Later versions of the hardware ISO 5 or 6
  • 1 GB Ram
  • IPad 3rd or 4th generation

2. Architecture

A major issue with using tablets is that your CRM deployment needs to be an Internet Facing Deployment, which is primarily involved with improving the security when you expose your application to the web. With online installation this comes standard, for on premise this may not a trivial exercise.

3. Functionality

– Only one dashboard can be displayed with 6 components using only graphs and lists

  • All users
  • “Sale Dashboard”
  • Can be customised
  • No dashboard switching
  • Core Max: 5 tabs, 75 fields and 10 lists.

– No:

  • Yammer
  • Bing Maps
  • iframes
  • SharePoint docs
  • Form switching

– Entities enabled:

  • Accounts
  • Contacts
  • Leads
  • Opportunities
  • Opportunity products
  • Connections
  • Notes
  • Activities
  • Appointments
  • Tasks
  • Phone calls

– Custom entities and activities are included

– Product, Cases and Emails entities are read only, the rest cannot be configured for tablets.
When we looked at this functionality in detail, we realised that for the sale function we could work within this scope and still deliver the mobile, customer facing or on the road experience.

In summary our experience suggests:

  • The tablet with the CRM app is a useful tool for the mobile salesforce providing real-time reporting on customer visits.
  • A PC is still required to manage and monitor multiple sales resources.
  • The tablet App provides improved productivity and connectivity to the field.
  • It is important to understand the requirements and match the tablet app.

My advice is to encourage adoption of mobile sales force tools and the tablet app that ships with Microsoft CRM. It improves mobile productivity and visibility and should shorten the reporting timeframe to near real-time as they go.

John Biggs is a CRM Consultant with Olympic Software. He enjoys helping our clients to  improve their sales processes using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. He often shares relevant information and articles on his social media channels. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him via LinkedIn or contact him at: