One of the most interesting features of Dynamics CRM 2016 is the Interactive Service Hub. The interactive service hub seems to be a preview of more changes to come - all for the good - for Dynamics CRM.
At its heart, the interactive service hub is a separate interface for Dynamics CRM, focused solely on the Customer Service entities. The interactive service hub has its own url separate from the CRM url. I like this idea as it gives you the ability to present Dynamics CRM to your support team without the distraction of non support entities such as Leads and Opportunities. It looks like a custom application designed specifically for the support team.
One of the most striking changes in the interactive service hub is the dashboards. Out of the box, several dashboards are surfaced including Tier 1 and Tier 2 support dashboards. These don't look like any dashboard you have ever seen in CRM previously as we break out of the six dashboards per page limitation and introduce a whole slew of new controls for presenting information to your users.
New Dashboard Controls include a new list control to display case and other records in what is called a stream, new types of charts that can surface information in new and innovative ways. For example, a chart could display the number of open cases. So the chart is just a number. When I click on the chart itself I can view the detail behind the chart. I can imagine creating all sorts of datapoints about Open cases, Cases violating SLA, Cases from Twitter. The simple interface with bold color selection keeps the most important information in my face!
When you drill down to the records behind the charts on the dashboard you will see that the entity forms have a new look. Replacing the whiter than white default forms are a light gray background. Subtle use of color is apparent in the client information QuickView form. When you really examine the form you realize that it appears to render very similar to the CRM mobile experience - where additional data is visible by swiping or moving your mouse to the right.
A Timeline is visible on the form to show recent activities similar to the notes control on the regular CRM client. However it is so much better than the notes control. Adding activities to the timeline is simple. Click on the plus sign to add any activity. One improvement over adding activities through the notes control is that phone calls are not automatically marked complete. You can schedule a phone call for a time in the future. One little problem that I noticed was that scheduled events default to midnight! Regular activity forms now default to 8AM. I hope Microsoft makes this behavior standard across the board.
Business Process Ribbons display on the top of the form as expected. However they show in a rolled up format. To see the steps for each stage you will need to click on the stage and the steps show in a box. I like this and I don't like it. I would like to be given the option to pin the business process ribbon in an open state.
So what else is there to know? Well this blog entry's purpose was to give a basic introduction to the Interactive Service Hub. In a future blog entry we will discuss how to customize the Interactive Service Hub, both the forms and dashboards. Also what cannot be customized and what entities can and cannot be added to the interactive service hub. There is a lot of good information coming, so just stay tuned.
Your business flows better when you use Dynamics CRM. enCloud9, a Silver Dynamics CRM Partner based in Omaha Nebraska can help you to implement a customized Interactive Service Hub as part of your Dynamics CRM solution.