Tip #850: Mobile app–why so negative?

I have a history with the Dynamics 365 mobile app, and while I don’t think it is perfect (I too get frustrated waiting for metadata to download sometimes), it has come a long way. However, it continues to get negative reviews in the various app stores. Some of this feedback is deserved, while some of the reviews are due to client-specific factors that, in my opinion, unfairly bring down the app rating for the Dynamics mobile app. In this post I will lay out some of the reasons for this phenomenon, and in future posts I plan on responding to specific reviews. And in the process, maybe CRMTOD readers might get some useful tips on how not to be “that guy.”

1. It’s complicated

Dynamics, that is. Dynamics 365 is a large platform that can do anything you want to. From the standard account and opportunity management to strange XRM scenarios, Dynamics allows administrators to create very complicated configurations, including custom plugins, JavaScript, embedded web resources and iframes. Overly complicated or unsupported customizations can complicate your mobile experience. Dynamics also has a very comprehensive security structure, comprised of multiple security tools, such as security roles, business units, access teams, hierarchical security, and sharing. These tools can be used to handle virtually any security scenario, but can also introduce complexity into your Dynamics deployment (try an prove who has inherited record shares to a cascading grandchild, for example). Frequently, mobile issues are a canary in the coal mine indicating configuration issues in the environment you are trying to connect to. Rather than being a negative mark against the mobile app, they may be a indicator of the quality of the CRM configurator that configured your form.

2. It’s ambitious

Dynamics 365 mobile is built upon the dream of “configure once, deploy anywhere.” This means that the same form you have in Dynamics 365 browser is the form you get in mobile. While the merits of this approach are debatable (see Resco for a different approach), it means that your forms must be configured in a way that gives you good mobile experience. And it also means that you also need to know about the configuration options that can be used to simplify your mobile experience.

Dynamics 365 is also ambitious in its goal of providing “full” application access in small mobile form factor. When it was originally released, Dynamics CRM for tablets had a long list of entities and features that did not work on mobile. As mentioned in Tip 710, that list is now much smaller than it used to be. Features like document management and OneNote are now available, but you have to know how to turn them on. Maybe Microsoft could get better reviews by limiting the functionality of the app, but I’m glad to have a fully featured mobile experience. Anybody remember Mobile Express?

3. It’s better than it used to be

Each release of Dynamics 365 mobile sees dramatic improvements in mobile. In Dynamics 365, we got a much better start experience, allowing users to quickly access frequently used records and quickly create notes, and the new compact view makes the app more usable and less “swipy.” Many of the quirks I complained about in the CRM Mobile Survival Guide have been addressed.

But it’s not as good as it will be. If you find that it doesn’t meet your requirements today, don’t permanently write it off. Stay in the loop about new releases, and test your configuration with each new release. Look for ways to simplify your form configurations to make them more mobile friendly.


4 thoughts on “Tip #850: Mobile app–why so negative?

  1. Ross Guthrie says:

    Hi Joel

    I absolutely agree, I have been frustrated by the app in the past but I have now grown to love it. I often use it on my laptop instead of the full web app.

    In fact, I’ve found sales people prefer it.

    Still room for improvement, but worth the effort.

    Ross Guthrie

  2. Scott Sewell says:

    Yes! I am in complete agreement. Well said! My manifesto from a few years ago is very much a thing of the past. The current client is really really nice.

  3. Alexandros Miaris says:

    Well addressed! Though we are expecting the versions to come!

    Sales like the mobility this app has to offer!

  4. […] Responding to the negative feedback on the mobile app  […]

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