Polaris – process flow forms

Let’s start with what is available now. As most of you already know that new UI is already available on CRM Online. Rollout 12 is the on-premises equivalent of Polaris but process UI will not be available in the on-premises version till last quarter of 2013.

The Good :

1. Integrated Process flow forms are available on COLAC (contact, opportunity, lead, account and case) entity.

2. Process control – users can add more stage to the process flow with new GUI in order to map to business process. This is huge from user adoption perspective.

3. Cross browser compatibility:

a. Supports Safari(Mac), Chrome, IE 8, IE 9 and IE 10(desktop version)

4. Cleaner user experience – If you have had clients that struggle to understand why lead should convert to contact/account and opportunity then you know that it is a huge improvement.

5. Process flow interface is certainly visually appealing

6. Quick forms – Quick forms allow access to information from other entities (contact, account) on opportunity process flow

7. Inline lookups

8. End to end experience for opportunity and cases

9. UI Extensibility

a. Process control

      1. Configurable (Add more steps and fields)
      1. Customizable

10. SubGrids – process form specific

11. Autosave – forms save every 30 seconds

The Bad:

This is a big list primarily because I still fail to understand the reason behind this half cooked UI. MSFT got some good feedback during sessions but if they would try and track it through NetBreeze it would be mostly negative sentiment :).

Most of the users are not happy with the way this new interface was released. I do not want to call it beta release because the functionality is just not there. However this is just an interface that can be turned off so not all is lost. Old functionality and GUI prior to Polaris release is still available with the exception of lead qualification pop-up dialog. What it means is that every time a lead is converted, an opportunity, account and contact is created. Early adopters who want to build on top of the process flow forms here is a detailed list of things to watch out for.

1. Cross browser

a. iPad safari is not supported

b. IE 7 is not supported for online

c. Touch is not supported in IE 10 – IE 10 is touch optimized

d. Integration

              i. MSFT SP 2010 does not support IE 10 – .NET 4.0 compatibility issues

ii. Lync integration is only specific to Lync icons

2. Error handling has to be on the server side through plugins

3. Scripting is not supported. If CRM form contains script then UI will revert to classic view

4. Extensibility

a. Command bar:

      1. No ribbons
      2. Not extensible
      3. Not solution aware (what this means is that you cannot modify process flow in dev environment and deploy on production)

b. Header tiles

                      1. Solution aware however only four sections appear on the form

c. Process control

         i. Not solution aware

ii. Not extensible

d. SubGrid

         i. Cannot add commands

                ii. Process form specific

5. Integration

a. Bing map integration specific to address 1

6. Auto Save

a. Processing on the save click

b. 30 seconds auto save

c. Not configurable

d. Plugin and workflow management a serious concern with auto save

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