Published on Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Microsoft Dynamics CRM updates are often a recipe of fixes, security updates and tweaks rather than long awaited features CRM users and stakeholders have been asking about for years. However, there are some major additions for everyone to be aware of in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 version 9 release being rolled out in previews and within the online version only (initially).
Dynamics 365 version 9 licensing is split up into Enterprise (EE) and Business Editions (BE). The Business Edition has been thoughtfully pared down to a lean version of some of CRMs most widely utilized features in the Sales and Marketing modules and incorporates the new Finance and Operations module. The setup and administration of the business edition has been simplified for administrators to configure new forms, views and process flow via drag-and-drop and edit fields inline. User set-up has also been simplified to occur in CRM instead of the Office 365 global admin screen.
In the BE Sales module, configuration to enable lead, account, contact, and opportunity management, and lead-to-cash to track conversion, measure sales effectiveness and drive revenue is also simplified.
The Business Edition Marketing module enables full integration with Office 365 tools like Outlook and Skype for Business, lead scoring and management, features to support event management, out-of-box templates for emails and campaigns, engagement management and intelligence to measure campaign effectiveness, manage target segmentation and monitor analytics.
Legacy capabilities NOT included with the Dynamics 365 Business Edition include:
The business edition does have some limitations in functionality, configuration/customization, data/number of records, users allowed, and plug-in functionality/extensibility. There is no downgrade path from Enterprise to Business Edition currently, but it may be possible to run both editions in the same environment.
Business Edition is a new way to deploy CRM and implications of the leaner capabilities will need to be considered during requirements gathering and strategy.
The Enterprise edition of Dynamics 365 requires that you select one or more of eight Enterprise version modules to get started with the system: Finance and Operations, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Project Service Automation, Field Service, Retail and Talent. While certain entities are available in specific modules, the modules are completely integrated and can be added later as needed. The enterprise edition is what should be selected if heavy customization, custom apps, and unlimited data and entities are required for the system to be utilized by the business.
Dynamics 365's new UI is all about accessing CRM from anywhere and any device. Creating a consistent user experience across clients and devices was obviously high on the team's list to improve Dynamics 365 CRM's usability and adoption. Unified clients in browser and apps, improved navigation, info hierarchy, intuitive fields, text wrap, inconsistent fonts and spacing, have all been effectively addressed.
The unified interface also means that users with screen readers can skip directly to sections that are important to them and use their favorites tab, keyboard shortcuts and responsive web design features to enable optimal viewing and interaction for screen size or orientation.
The changes are major enough that some serious thought into update training should be considered to lessen user impacts.
The updated Dynamics 365 activity timeline finally combines activities (including custom activities), notes and posts in the single view and the sorting order of the activities can now be changed directly on the timeline. Additionally, posts, notes and specific activities can be viewed, sorted, and hidden on the timeline and fields shown in the timeline/social pane can be configured, including the created on date for activities, a long requested feature. There's also a 'What's New' section that displays new notes, unread email and new activities created. And new configurable quick create forms for Task, Phone Call and Appointment are available. The posts/activity feeds are also now enabled on tablet and phone clients.
The onboard email editor has been updated for rich email capability. Important for users who want to use the email capability to generate templates and response emails for prospecting intros, follow ups, events, etc.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator features are embedded via contextual widgets in CRM. Users can sync Dynamics 365 data as leads in Sales Navigator with Admin Sync functionality which will enable insights. LinkedIn activities will provide a more complete engagement history.
The legacy Outlook Client is set to be deprecated (including Outlook offline and sync, SharePoint list component and Word mail merge) and is to be replaced with the Dynamics 365 App.
The new Dynamics 365 App for Outlook includes a Dynamics 365 pane next to a selected email or appointment so users can track, open and add records (including activities) directly in Outlook. Linking an email message or appointment to a specific CRM record has never been easier.
The app provides helpful updates to the CRM/Outlook user experience including:
Virtual entities are custom entities that enable data retrieval on demand from an external data source. Essentially, virtual entities further enable integration with other data sources/systems. Their user interface looks like other CRM entity records, but they contain data from other data sources enabling the user views of external data they are familiar within the CRM UI.
The long-awaited multi-select option set fields are now available and enabled on forms, quick view, quick create, and editable grid. Up to 150 values can be specified for the field so users can select one or as many values as needed to complete the field data requirement.
Building workflow that automates repetitive business tasks and processes across applications is about to become easier with v9.0. The update enables the ability to run new Microsoft Flow from within Dynamics 365 to unify the capabilities of CRM. Workflow and If-This-Then-That type of functionality will make it easier to produce process flows that save users time and effort.
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights 360 is a preview of the v9 update that integrates data points and provides actionable insights to drive customer engagement. CRM also offers organizational insights to monitor entities used by device, OS, security roles and business units and keep an eye on user engagement with the system. These insights will reveal opportunities for sales discussion and user adoption initiatives.
PSC stands ready to help you with your Dynamics 365 CRM strategy and deployment, whether launching a new instance or updating your existing system to the latest version. Check out our Dynamics CRM Deployment Planning Services offering or Dynamics CRM Health Check service depending on your CRM utilization and goals.
Categories: Dynamics 365,dynamics crm,CRM