On a recent project, I've been able to add functionality for a client's online instance that would not have been possible in 4.0. Here's just a few of the CRM 2011 Online plug-ins I've been able to roll-out recently:
- Formula Field Evaluation: When records of certain types are saved, the plug-in calculates dozens of values. It's coded to evaluate the formulas in the correct order in case of dependent values in "downstream" formulas.
- Auto-Number: Another plug-in we were able to deploy online is one that automatically generates a unique number for various entities. The plug-in uses a custom entity to keep track of the last number used and formatting requirements such as padding the auto-number with zeros. The new transaction support for plug-ins in CRM 2011 help to avoid generating duplicate numbers under heavy system use.
- Last Activity Date: It was also possible to create a plug-in for CRM 2011 Online that updates a custom "Last Activity Date" field with the date/time when an activity (letter, e-mail, phonecall, etc.) is completed. The plug-in is registered on the various CRM activity types to update Last Activity Date if the "regarding" object is a certain type.
- Record "Touches": Another plug-in that we've deployed recently is one that tracks when any user opens a record in the UI. The sales manager wanted to know whether any leads and opportunities were sitting too long without being viewed.
So, thanks Microsoft! This is a huge improvement to your online offering.