Yes! Microsoft Dynamics 365 has been officially launched, and this is great news for CRM enthusiasts. Microsoft’s new cloud-based offering, which combines Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX, is chock full of new, fully integrated features and tools for sales, marketing and operations to enhance your productivity.
In the first part of our Deep Dive series, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Features and Pricing, we delved into the basics. In Part 2, we’re taking a more granular look at 10 fabulous features and tools that will transform the way you do business, with screenshots to help you visualize each offering. All of these capabilities will be yours when you upgrade to Dynamics 365:
#1: Relationship Insights
Available on any device, the new Relationship Insights “assistant” tracks all of your communications and interactions with customers. Once the assistant has gathered all of the data from your interactions, it then guides you through your daily work, reveals opportunities, suggests follow-up tasks, and manages your email while identifying actionable messages.
As the assistant analyzes your communications and interactions, it develops a series of action cards that provide customized information, links, and controls.
Action cards provide the following:
- Reminders for upcoming activities
- Suggestions for reaching out to inactive contacts
- Alerts regarding emails waiting for your reply
- Identification of potential opportunities that are ready to close
- And that’s just the beginning
Because the Relationship Insights assistant will also drive email engagement and provide a choice of content templates, with recommendations based on historical open and reply rates.
And, this feature that you’ve been waiting for! The ability to see when a recipient opens an email, clicks on a link, opens an attachment, or sends a reply.
Plus, you now have the ability to write your emails whenever you have the time and schedule them for optimal delivery. No need to worry about time zones. The system check those for you and recommend the best times for optimal delivery.
#2: Outlook Client
Although the integration between Dynamics CRM and the Outlook Client has always been tight, Dynamics 365 takes that integration to yet another level. Now you can work more efficiently without ever leaving your inbox, tracking your emails, appointments and tasks. Ready for more good news? Dynamics 365 supports Outlook for Windows, Macs, and the Outlook Web Application, with support for iPhones coming soon.
#3: Editable Grids
What else is supported? There’s in-grid record editing at the entity or sub-grid level, web clients, mobile clients, grouping, filtering, sorting, pagination, keyboard navigation, mouse navigation, and the list goes on.
#4: Relevance Search
Consider this your Valentine’s Day gift: Relevance Search! What could be better than a search tool that delivers fast results from multiple entities, sorted … you guessed it … by relevance. This new and much improved search tool will find matches for any word or key word phrase in any entity or Relevance Search enabled field.
Now that there’s facet and filter support, you have the ability to drill into search results without refining your search terms time and time again. Your search results will now automatically include matches to related word forms. Take for example the search word “order." Results will also be returned for “ordering” or “ordered.” This feature eliminates the need to use wildcards. Your search term/s will be found wherever they appear anywhere in the text.
Additional features include:
- The ability to use Relevance Search in any client, phone or tablet.
- The ability to narrow your search results and save time with facets and filters.
- Return results from within any document stored in Dynamics 365, be it in Notes, or attachments to emails or appointments. Supported formats include the Office suite, PDFs, EML, HTML/XML, ZIP files, and more.
- Secure searches, showing only the information you are allowed to access predicated on CRM’s security protocols.
- And there’s more, because Relevance Search also supports text within Option Sets and Lookup fields. This is extremely powerful.
The latest version of the CRM Mobile Client Application, (MoCA), already incorporated touch-friendly Custom Controls for a more intuitive mobile device experience that included sliders, spinners, gauges, calendar, timeline, video player and more.
The next level of that experience, now available in Dynamics 365, includes new workspaces, layouts, colors, editable grids, tracking, and task flows. Layouts are now more compact and optimized to minimize scrolling. Dashboards and forms now “stack” related elements, which results in more information being exposed at once.
#6: App Modules / Site Map Designer
App Modules? What are they? In short, they’re a vehicle for packaging and deploying entities, forms, views, dashboards, and business process flows that in turn allow for role-tailored access within Dynamics 365. Given this granular level of access, users will only see the specific site map, form or view that you’ve included in each App Module that you create.
While previous versions of Dynamics CRM provided similar capabilities, they were limited to a single site map. Your ability to hide system views and dashboards was similarly limited. That’s no longer the case.
What’s more, with App Modules you have the ability to create highly targeted apps using drag and drop functionality. Add-ins and/or plugins are no longer required. Best of all, there is absolutely no coding involved!
Now let’s take a look at Site Map Designer, a feature that’s related to the App Modules. This is a feature you can fall in love with because it eliminates the need for a third-party tool to create or edit a site map. What you have in Site Map Designer is a visual, easy to use, drag-and-drop tool that allows you to design multiple site maps, one for each app in your deployment. We should note that even if you do not have app modules, you can still use the Designer to hide features and modules not currently in use. Think of this as a way to keep the user experience simple.
#7: BPF Designer / Visual Process Designer
Wow! Yet another drag and drop designer available in Dynamics 365. This one is specifically for creating business process flows, task flows, and business rules. With a visual designer, it’s so much easier to create the flows and rules you need, especially when the capabilities now include timers, suggestion bubbles, and the ability to call up workflows directly.
You will use the Visual Process Designer to manage the stages and branches of a process, as well as setting rules for process flows. Plus, plus, plus…there’s an export-to-image capability that allows you to create a visual representation of your process flows, which is very helpful when it comes to images in documentation.
#8: Learning Paths
Learning Paths, a tool that includes authoring capabilities, is your vehicle for creating custom Help experiences for your users. There’s no better way to walk a user through guided tasks, videos, how-to and other documentation. Learning Paths can be further customized by role, depending on the user’s departments or job functions, and/or localized in different languages.
Customized Help means that users can work at their own pace as they learn new features and business processes or familiarize themselves with new forms. This feature is a win-win because it reduces training time and costs while increasing productivity in Dynamics 365.
#9: Power BI
Business Intelligence (BI) tools have become indispensable, as companies seek better and better to make informed decisions regarded any and facets of their day-to-day operations. And Microsoft’s Power BI leads the pack. The capabilities of Power BI in Dynamics 365 have been further enhanced so that you can add “tiles” to dashboards, embed entire dashboards in reports and make them interactive, and create real-time visualizations.
Beyond that, you can also enable these embedded dashboards for tablets as well as smartphones.
#10: AI / Artificial Intelligence / Azure Machine Learning
Included in Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s tool for predictive and artificial intelligence (AI). It’s called Azure Machine Learning (ML) and ML can be used for, among many other things, recommending cross-selling opportunities, auto-suggesting knowledgebase articles, and analyzing cases and tickets.
Also included in Dynamics 365 is Versium Analytics’ Next Best Action (N.B.A.), a world-class customer-centric technology with the capability to analyze actions from CRM historical customer interactions and recommend the next best action to be taken. In this way, the likelihood of a positive response is exponentially increased.
Since N.B.A. is continuously suggesting the best thing to do next, users will remain more engaged with customers and they will also continue to deliver a better customer experience. This fabulous tool is available in Dynamics 365 as ready-to-use widgets. You can easily add these widgets to any out-of-the-box or custom entity you choose!
Stay tuned for more as we continue to dive even deeper
Thus far in our Deep Dive series, Part 1 covered the basics of Dynamics 365 and Part 2 zeroed in on our top 10 picks for fabulous features in this powerful release. But there’s still so much more to learn about Dynamics 365. Stay tuned for more blogs and Webcasts as we continue to dig even deeper into the features, the functionality and business benefits afforded by Dynamics 365. It’s new. It’s innovative. It’s exciting. And it’s the embodiment of Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoft as a cloud first, mobile first company, always on the cutting edge of technology.
Want to learn more and see Dynamics 365 in action?