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Dynamics 365 ’18 Spring Release Round-Up

From the beginning of April 2018, Dynamics 365 customers will be able to benefit from yet another jam-packed release to help transform their business.

With the impending GDPR, compliance is a key theme in the update with Microsoft reviewing the entire platform to ensure GDPR-ready following the privacy-by-design principle.

Another more noticeable platform update is an enhancement to the user interface (that Microsoft dubs the Unified Interface Framework), which provides greater differentiation between different page elements to improve accessibility and as a response to customer feedback about there being too much “white space”

A round up of features and enhancements are as follows:

General release of Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Dynamics 365 for Marketing provides marketers with omni-channel marketing automation capability across email, events, webinars, surveys, web forms, landing pages and sales activity. Simple to use drag-and-drop-designer and configurable templates enable even the least technical users to quickly create emails. Functionality includes; event management, lead management, embedded artificial intelligence to improve targeting, lead scoring and interaction insights.

As with all of the Dynamics 365 apps, D365 for Marketing is part of the same platform, and helps join up sales and marketing business processes helping both functions work collaboratively throughout the sales cycle.

General release of Dynamics 365 Business Central

 The Business Central app provides organisations with a single end-to-end platform to manage their finances, operations, sales and customer service all in one place.  The solution provides a perfect opportunity for organisations to upgrade their entry-level accounting software and legacy ERP systems.

Needless to say, it is fully integrated with Office 365 offering a wealth of productivity benefits and can be further extended with other Microsoft cloud services including; Office 365, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Power BI.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is essentially a re-brand of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials & Operations and brings the full power of Microsoft Dynamics NAV to the cloud as part of the D365 suite.

Dynamics 365 for Sales Update

Microsoft continues to evolve its Dynamics 365 Sales App further leveraging machine learning and analytics as well as providing deeper integration to LinkedIn and Office 365.

Key changes:

  • New ‘Professional’ license available at £49 per user per month in addition to the Enterprise license, which provides a cut-down version of the sales and service capabilities.

Capabilities/Enhancements include;

  • Embedded intelligence to help sales persons focus on selling with Dynamics 365’S Relationship Assistant (think PA), Auto capture and Email Engagement
  • Deeper integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, provides up-to-date context about organisations and contacts. LinkedIn profile pictures are now also synched with corresponding contact records in D365.
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales Insights add-on provides advanced intelligence to sales users including relationship and sentiment health analysis.

Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Update

The focus of Microsoft’s investment in Customer Service in the Spring release is based on improved user experience, performance, developer productivity and compliance rather than new features.

Capabilities and enhancements include;

  • Customer Service Hub application for case and knowledge management replaces the Interactive Service Hub and provides an intuitive application for those users focused on answering customer service enquiries that is optimized for different screen sizes, devices and orientations.
  • Dynamics 365 Portal can be used to create cloud-hosted web portals for external audiences and now provides the ability to search within attachments to improve the relevance of searches.
  • Voice of Customer Surveys have been improved with; the ability to cascade the deletion of surveys, survey translation enhancements, the ability to dynamically insert question responses into subsequent questions and improved analytics capabilities with the Voice of Customer content pack for Power BI.

In Public Preview

  • Unified Service Desk has tools to help developers with deploying, configuring and extending the applications.
  • Customer Service Hub pages can now be embedded within the Unified Service Desk with the ability to integrate business process flows

Dynamics 365 for Field Service

Dynamics 365’s Field Service app is design to help organisations manage field-based service teams with;

  • Work order management
  • Scheduling, dispatch and routing of technicians to customer sites
  • Repairs and returns management
  • Inventory management
  • Mobile app for field teams

In the Spring Wave update, the Field Service App sees improvements to resource scheduling and optimization (RSO) and the ability to associate 3D content with customer asset records.  Further investment has also been made to Connect Field Service (IoT) capability helping organisations proactively detect, troubleshoot and resolve service issues so technicians are only dispatched when necessary.

Enhancements include:

  • Associate 3D content with customer asset records. There is now the ability to upload 3D models or sequences (hosted either externally or within Dynamics 365) and associate these with customer asset records for use by technicians within the mobile app.  Support file formats are hITF, FBX, GLB and OBJ.
  • Schedule board list view allows data to be visualised in a more meaningful way.
  • Resource Scheduling Optimisation (RSO) enhancements provide the ability to;
    • Run resource simulations without affecting actual bookings allowing administrators to understand the effects of adjusting optimization scope, constraints, objectives and other parameters to determine what optimisation configuration best matches business goals and objectives.
    • Include skill level as part of resource requirements to better match staff to the job requirement.
  • Connected Field Service (IoT) enhancements
    • Synchronisation of device conditions and properties with device twins
    • Synchronisation of device tags with device twins
    • Configuration of device properties and commands through device categories

Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation

 The Spring release of the Project Service App includes multidimensional pricing capabilities and improvements to the work breakdown structure.  As with Field Service, Universal Resource Scheduling now includes a list view to be able to see data in a more meaningful way.

Enhancements include

  • Custom pricing dimensions for resource pricing
  • Dimension priority and dimension context for resolution
  • Price mark-ups and mark-downs
  • Work breakdown structure editable grid with Gantt visualization
  • Extensible time and expense entry
  • Universal Resource Scheduling list view

Interested in taking advantage of the latest features being introduced with Microsoft’s Spring Wave?  Contact us today on 01296 328689.