I'm going from memory here, but as I recall, these are the accelerators:
Customer Self-Service Portal
This is a web portal that customers can use to login to check the status of service tickets that they have submitted, submit new tickets, make comments on tickets and search the KnowledgeBase (that you maintain within CRM). You can authorize contacts in CRM to use the portal very easily. It's a pretty nice solution accelerator that is long overdue. But no one at Microsoft could tell me about licensing: is it completely free? is there a new per user license type for it? does it require using the external connector license for an unlimited number of users?
One thing that this does include that would be helpful: exposing custom entities (selectively) through the portal. Wouldn't it be nice to have an "approval" entity that you could expose, allowing your customers to approve items? There would be a ton of uses for something like this.
The new 4.0 Analytics Foundation appears to be much improved over the 3.0 version. It will be much easier to install and deploy and customize. On the other hand, it relies heavily upon SharePoint and may require some new licensing to manage. Also, it appeared that it was missing the predictive modeling/scoring that was in the 3.0 version - too bad because that is some great functionality for large clients (it's still available through SQL Server, you'll just need to write the extensions to CRM yourself).
Some new sales methodology addons will also be available. It's not clear if these will carry a cost from the company that owns the methodology IP (i.e. Miller Heiman), or if they are freely available.
Using this nifty add-on, you can churn out alerts as RSS feeds. Instead of getting a million pesky emails alerting you of escalations, delays, problems, etc - you can have them available in your RSS reader (and the use the reader to serve them up as pop-ups, within Outlook, or however you prefer)
This is a GREAT little solution accelerator that was unexpected and could easily slip by unnoticed. It is a comprehensive web-facing event management tool. It uses the Campaign entity in CRM to manage events. It allows customers to visit your website to register for the event and records the registrants as campaign responders.
When are they coming?
Okay, I forgot to take good notes here. But if memory servers, we were told to expect early fourth quarter.
What was missing?
Some items I very much hoped to see to get Microsoft on a par with their competitors, but that I have not seen yet:
* A fully-functional partner portal
* A mobile client for CRM
* Record level security
* A better reporting wizard
* Multiple record types / forms
* New field types: dependent picklists, multi-select picklists
* Better form validation: at the field level (i.e. phone numbers) and at the form level
* Calculated fields
Microsoft's strategy seems to be to promote partner solutions in most of these categories. But these are really essential to a CRM application and Microsoft should be including them in their core package.
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