A couple of weeks ago, one of my CRM 2011 prospects asked for details about which features are/aren’t available when using older versions of desktop software. Like many large enterprises their standard desktop is based on Windows XP & Office 2003, and although they are planning a Windows 7 rollout, this won’t be ready for another 12-18 months.
The problem is that all the CRM marketing material I’ve seen shows CRM with the latest and greatest versions of Windows 7, Outlook 2010 and IE 8 or 9, and I wasn’t entirely sure what features would be available when running previous versions. So I spun up a new CRM Online 30-day trial, and built a fresh Hyper-V virtual machine running Windows XP SP3, Office 2003 SP3 and Internet Explorer 7.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the majority of CRM 2011 features are in-tact, with a couple of exceptions:
- Outlook Ribbon – Although Outlook 2003 uses menus (remember them?) instead of the more recent Office fluent UI (a.k.a. the ribbon), CRM 2011 gives you context-sensitive menus, which change depending on which entity you are working with.
- Outlook Preview Pane – Unfortunately, Outlook 2003 does not provide this capability, so you don’t get to preview CRM records when navigating views.
- Outlook Conditional Formatting, Follow-up and Categories – One real innovation made possible with Outlook 2010 is the use of native MAPI grids to surface CRM views. By using these native features, you get access to rich Outlook features for free.
In order to bring this to life for my prospect, I put together a PowerPoint presentation containing a number of screenshots of the core CRM 2011 functionality with Outlook 2003. I thought this might be useful to the wider community, so I have attached a copy for you here.
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