#MobileCRM: We meet again – part 3

It has been quite a while since I wrote the previous article on Mobile CRM. In this series of articles I want to explore the mobile CRM application Microsoft is providing on Windows Phone (universal app), iOS and Android. In the first article I tried to hook up the mobile clients to my CRM environment, but that attempt failed on the fact that my development environment is not running on https.

Instead of fiddling around on my own server, I set up a test environment in a CRM online environment. From there on the user experiences are different on the devices I tested with. The test I conducted is opening CRM, browse accounts, select and account, view it’s related information and finally add a note to the account.

Windows Phone

After entering my CRM online server and my user credentials, the login process is a breeze. The application goes through an initial configuration (run once) and comes back with a success message. After tapping the “ga naar CRM” (Go to CRM) button the main screen appears.

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My first impression, is that the Mobile client is offering a very complete CRM experience. I went into account and selected an account. The account detail screen appeared offering a native Windows 8 modern app experience. I can swipe to the left and to the right to go through all related screens. In the top of the screen, you see the account you are working with * nice! *

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In the related screen, I scrolled down to enter a note. Clicking the note button resulted in an empty notes screen. I decided to add a new note. I entered the data and saved the note. So far so good. Then I took another look at the note I created: I miss the link to the account I’m working with: no visual indicator that I’m working within the “Alpine Ski House” account.

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Android

The android app starts without a glitch. Too bad the real estate on the screen is not being fully utilized. The app on a tablet looks the same as the app on an android phone (portrait orientation). Where the Windows app had the possibility to scroll left and right through the related information, the android app shows the related information in the form of buttons below the account details. No sign of a wall..too bad.

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I went to the related notes and a screen appeared with the related notes (which was the note I added from my Windows Phone). I clicked the note to view the details and from there I could edit the note.

What struck me was that the editing interface was not really finger friendly. Small edit, delete and save icons in the top bar of the screen. This can be hard to operate while on the go….

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iOS

Time to explore the iOS offering. I fired up the client, entered the url of the crm online environment and proceeded. The next step was to enter my user credentials (nice eye candy), from here on things went downhill…

I has to press multiple times the “Aanmelden” (Login) button before the next screen appeared. A fancy instruction with an indicator that the system was being setup. Suddenly the screen went black and I was back in the app screen on the iPad.

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I checked and double checked, but I wasn’t able to fire up the Dynamics CRM client on my iPad mini (64GB running iOS 8.3). I’m afraid that at the moment the Dynamics CRM client is not compatible with iOS 8.3. At this point my exploration of the iOS client stops for now * @msftdynamics HELP! *

First thoughts

I’m positively surprised with both the Windows Phone and Android app. The latter is not as polished, but seems to be capable of doing the job as expected. I wish I could say the same for the iOS app * grumble *

From what I’ve seen until now I’m afraid the application might be too generic to be used effectively on a mobile device. At first sight the application is very complete in terms of features. But what I really would like to see, is a tailored environment for a specific purpose. In my ideal world I would love to have one or more icons on the home screen of my mobile device, from which I can start a specific solution –  tailored for the job.

In the next part of this series, I take a dive into mobile forms development. I want to know what possibilities I have in terms of business rules, script, plugins, navigation etc.

Thank you for reading, more to come soon.

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