Microsoft has recently released the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Software Development Kit (SDK) and Implementation guide (see below for links). After reviewing the SDK, there are many exciting changes coming to the Dynamics platform. Although there are way too many changes to cover in a single blog post, here are some of the ones that I found most interesting:

  • In SQL Server, there are two tables that make up an entity in CRM 2011, base and extension base. This table structure has been in place since CRM 1.2 and has helped with the 8K row limit in SQL. With this limit no longer a concern, Microsoft is now combining these tables into a single table. This has been rumored to come for many years, but has finally made it into the product.
  • For some system entities and all custom entities, Images can be added to a record and displayed on the CRM form as an image attribute.
  • A new type of has been added called ‘Access Teams’. This type of team does not own any records, but does have access to all records.
  • Synchronous workflows! These workflows can be automatically executed in real-time or manually started. Whichever process starts the workflow they are executed in real-time.
  • Database level encryption has been part of the overall security strategy for a bit, but now field level data encryption is available for sensitive data such as social security numbers, passwords, and credit card information.
  • A very nice, but simple feature is phone number formatting for string attributes. This is great for data consistency.
  • Read-optimized forms, introduced in rollup 7 for CRM 2011, have been removed. I had not used these forms extensively, but I am surprised they are being removed already.
  • One of the biggest surprises in this release is the removal of duplicate detection through the form. This applies to any custom entity or entities with the updated user interface. If you want this functionality, Microsoft includes a JS script within the sample code that can be added to the CRM form. The bulk duplicate detection is still supported. I know this feature is heavily used, so I am very surprised to see it removed.
  • This one topic could take up a blog post by itself and one I am particularly excited by. Microsoft CRM now supports Windows Surface, iPad, and Google Nexus with a rich interface.
  • Lastly, there is a direct synchronization between Exchange (or POP3 and SMTP) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This feature, called Server-side synchronization, keeps the platforms synchronized on emails, appointments, contacts and tasks.

These are just a few of the key features and changes coming with the Dynamics CRM 2013 platform. I encourage you to take a look at the SKD and Implementation guide to get a bigger picture of what else is on the horizon.