Microsoft Dynamics 365 is constantly changing. Barely before we have got our heads around the July 2017 – v9 release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 there is another one to contend with. However, trials set up at the moment are still on 9.0. The 9.2 upgrade is slated for general availability in April 2018, but not yet (as of 9th April). The good news is that the changes seem to be far less than those in the v9 release last July. My free ebook on this July 2017 v9 release is available here.
The biggest technical change in this release is that the hubs – Sales Hub and Customer Service Hub, built on the Unified Interface - are now the default user interface.
This document is a high-level summary of the release notes. More detailed material on particular areas of interest will follow once the release is available.
This state of constant change is good, in that we can always fix more today than we could yesterday, but it does mean that we are never finished – there are always more benefits offer and more ways to solve challenges. In turn this means that everyone working in this space should be constantly investing in their education to stay abreast of the options, so we can always give the best advice or make the best decisions.
On 21st March 2018, James Phillips - Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Applications Group announced this release, and on 28th March 2018, Microsoft published the release notes. Phillip’s announcement of the 9.02 upgrade release included:
“Today I’m thrilled to announce the spring 2018 release for Microsoft Business Applications. We’re unleashing a wave of innovation across the entire product line with hundreds of new capabilities and features in three core areas: new business applications; new intelligent capabilities infused throughout; and transformational new application platform capabilities.
“As I talk with business leaders to learn what draws them to Dynamics 365, the answer is almost always the same: they want to digitally transform and believe Microsoft is uniquely capable of helping them succeed on that journey. Microsoft is the only provider of a modern, unified and intelligence-infused family of business applications that span the breadth of business processes – across marketing, sales, service, operations, finance, talent and commerce; all powered by a business analytics and application platform, built atop a common data model, on Azure, our planet-scale public cloud, connected to Office 365 and the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn.
“It is this collection of integrated capabilities spanning the Microsoft Cloud that supercharge Dynamics 365, creating what we believe is an unmatched platform for digital transformation.”
Here, I provide a summary of the CRM related changes, and make the release notes available to you.
This release does not appear to have any of the CRM (Sales, Marketing and Customer Service) features deprecated.
Next month, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy laws in Europe will take effect. These new laws affect everyone, not just people located within the European Union. The GDPR applies to companies, government agencies, non-profits, and other organizations that offer goods and services to people in the EU, or that collect data tied to EU residents.
Microsoft have provided resources on the Trust Centre to assist with ensuring compliance with GDPR.
Accessibility is another buzzword as ensuring that everyone can access and use technology and consume the data, whether they have disabilities or just don’t have access to a mouse or monitor is key to ensuring full productivity through digital transformation. I discussed how Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 was compliant with WCAG 2.0 in a blog article in 2016 here.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing is a new marketing automation tool released as part of the Spring 2018 update. It is different in many ways from Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, which has now been end of lifed.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing is licensed on a per organisation basis – not a per user. This is a change for Microsoft solutions. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing can be used alone, although it delivers far more value when combined with other Dynamics 365 solutions.
The features delivered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing include:
The new functionality in the Dynamics 365 for Sales module includes more intelligence and analytics, deeper integrations with LinkedIn. This includes:
as part of the Sales App rather than Relationship Insights.
Sales people have been eagerly awaiting Microsoft’s purchase of Linked In to deliver them some real value. It has now arrived. We now have the ability to add functionality to Dynamics 365 so users can tap into their personal networks within Linked In directly to help strengthen their pipeline.
The changes in Customer service are also fairly small and mainly focussed on the Unified Interface. We now have full case management and knowledge base article management in the Customer Service hub.
The Customer Service hub also allows well-formatted content for knowledge articles using a rich text editor – as users have been asking for.
Unified Service Desk for Dynamics 365 provides a configurable framework for building call centre solutions that provide a unified view of customer data and a range of communication channels (including phone, chat, email, and social media) in a single interface.
Voice of the Customer introduces a few technical enhancements, improved analytics, and probably the most useful enhancement from a user perspective, the ability to use a previous answer in a later question in surveys. This has the potential to massively simplify some surveys.
This article is only a brief overview of the new functionality. For full details, download the Dynamics 365 Spring ’18 release notes from our website.
If you would like help in making the best use of these new features, we are very happy to help. Please contact us here.
Gill Walker is many things:
Opsis is an expert Microsoft Dynamics 365 consulting company. Our focus is your Microsoft Dynamics 365 success - not licence sales or billable hours. As Principal Consultant, Gill oversees all business operations and strategic planning and execution, yet she still believes in offering personal attention to each and every client, so as to understand their needs and offer tailored solutions. We are based in Sydney, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia. We offer Microsoft Dynamics 365 strategy, Microsoft Dynamics 365 scoping, Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 technical support, Microsoft Dynamics 365 advice and guidance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 training and mentoring.