MS Dynamics CRM 4.0 Mobile Express – First Look

We took a look at Microsoft dynamics CRM 4.0 Mobile Express today. If you haven’t heard, CRM 4.0 mobile express is a free download that became available on July 8, 2009. (Get it here). I was on vacation at the time, but my Twitter and blog feeds alerted me that I needed to check this out as soon as I got back. I’ve been waiting for this release with bated breath, hoping it might provide access to more CRM information on my Samsung Omnia Windows Mobile device.

It was a fairly straightforward process, we first installed rollup 5 for CRM, and then installed Mobile Express. Our test environment was already set up for Internet facing deployment (IFD), so we didn’t have to worry about that. The installation documentation had only one typo and is a very short read so it’s worth the time to read it.  I also suggest you take a look at the readme document, as it documents a couple of gotchas that will affect some sites.

After a server reboot, we were ready to start customizing by choosing the customized mobile express option on the customization section of the settings area in CRM.

 

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Out-of-the-box, no entities are selected for display in mobile express, so you need to choose which entities will be displayed on the screen. From the documentation, it’s hard to tell if you will be allowed to expose custom entities, but you are provided a list of all entities (custom and system) and select which entities are enabled for display. The entities you select (and published) will be sequenced alphabetically by name. We recommend that you don’t exposed to many entities because it becomes confusing mobile device and there is currently no provision for selecting the order in which the entities are displayed. Hopefully this is something that Microsoft will address quickly. We would also like to see the ability to expose entity to mobile express but to choose whether or not it is displayed on the mobile express home page or only as a related entity. This would help to organize the information in a more usable form.

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When you select any entity from the list on the mobile express home page, the default view of the entity is displayed. You may have to take a look at your views for each exposed entity because mobile express displays only the first two fields of each view.

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Once you’ve selected all the entities you want to expose with the mobile express interface,  you need to choose which fields you want to expose as well. All mandatory fields are already exposed and cannot be removed.  You can add additional fields as well as select the order in which they will be displayed. Selected entities are also displayed alphabetically in the “related entities” section of any exposed entity.  You are not able to re-sequence related entities either, BTW.

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Summary

I’m glad that Microsoft has finally published Mobile express for CRM 4.0.  I hope that Microsoft follows up quickly with usability enhancements.  If you only want to expose a few entities such as the leads or other custom entities, this is a quick and dirty way to get that data available to your remote users with handheld devices. If you’re looking for full mobile CRM functionality, this just won’t do it… yet.

Wish list

  • Choose the order and appearance of entities on mobile home page
  • Choose order and appearance of related entities
  • Control which Attributes are displayed on the Views
  • Support the activities entity

 

Please feel free to comment and add to the wish list.

Have a great day!

Stephen Noe, CRM MCT

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About stephenvnoe

CRM & XRM solution architect and project lead. I provide CRM design, services, mentoring & support to all manner of front office solutions and CRM projects.
This entry was posted in CRM, CRM 4.0, Review. Bookmark the permalink.

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