What’s New in the Microsoft 365 2021 Release Wave 2?

As the business landscape continues to undergo constant transformation, the Microsoft Dynamics 365 2021 Release Wave 2 Plan delivers new features and innovations, equipping organizations with modern capabilities to drive their business forward. Improvements to different applications in the Dynamics 365 suite and Microsoft Cloud for industries such as HealthcareFinancial Services, and Nonprofit are expected to enhance not just user experience but also business performance and customer satisfaction.

New features, expected to be released until March 2022, comprise hundreds of new improvements across the Dynamics 365 suite, across Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Finance, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, Commerce etc. Let’s look at some of the latest features being released in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 2021 Release Wave 2.

Finance

Improvements to Dynamics 365 Finance in the Release Wave 2 primarily revolve around out-of-the-box machine learning capabilities:

  • Data insights are now part of general availability of Finance Insights, offering intelligent cash flows for enhanced financial operations
  • Embedded intelligence and automation that deliver timely and rich data-driven insights
  • Better usability and performance, through automation and modernization, across fixed assets, year-end close, and financial dimensions
  • Improved globalization offering and enhancements to no-code/low-code to enable enterprise-scale functionality and performance
  • Additional localizations and the general availability of the Tax Calculation service to support complex tax compliance scenarios

Supply Chain Management

When it comes to Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Release Wave 2 delivers several improvements to build resilient supply chains:

  • Integration between Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, common manufacturing platforms, and shop floor automation systems
  • Enhancements to Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Insights to better connect data sources and enable interactive analytics across the supply chain
  • Advanced supply chain analytics driven by AI for enhanced discoverability, improved trial experiences, and better net satisfaction scores
  • Deeper visibility and increased resilience to enable organizations to reset their strategies and anticipate and minimize disruptions
  • Resource planning enhancements that allow organizations to optimize the use of existing material and dodge stock out conditions

Human Resources

In the Release Wave 2, improvements to Dynamics 365 Human Resources are being made to simplify user experience:

  • Expansions to the Human Capital Management ecosystem via integration APIs and strategic partnerships
  • Unification of apps via a simplified platform with better app lifecycle management tools and extensibility
  • Improvements to Benefits Management capabilities and the overall employee experience, making it simpler and streamlined
  • Simplified workflows such as better management of leave requests from within the Teams app
  • Better integration between Human Resources and Finance and Operations apps to enable a single set of HR capabilities within Dynamics 365

Commerce

In Dynamics 365 Commerce, key investments in Release Wave 2 are being made towards delivering seamless commerce experiences across all channels:

  • Better customer segmentation and targeting using the site builder to target customer segments with specific page layouts and content
  • Integration with Microsoft Clarity to view how end users interact with pages across the site
  • The ability to define specific product catalogs bybusiness partner organization, restricting business buyers to see and order products only from the catalog associated with their organization.
  • Enhancements to the reordering experience that allow buyers to either reorder an entire previous order to pick individual products from a past order
  • The ability to grant, reassign, or revoke B2B e-commerce business partners using admin privileges

Marketing

In Release Wave 2, some new capabilities are being introduced to improve automation, personalization, and customer experience in Dynamics 365 Marketing:

  • Intuitive and effortless user experiences that don’t need the assistance of technical experts
  • More control over journey branching via increased availability of attributes across different customer touchpoints
  • Deeper integration between Customer Insights and Azure Data Lake Storage via customer journey orchestration
  • Quick visualization of customer journey interactions on the Customer Insights activity timeline, with the ability to personalize engagement for each customer
  • Better AI and natural language capabilities to create targeted segments, enhance content ideas, and improve decision-making

Sales

The new capabilities being added to Dynamics 365 Sales focus on introducing exciting functionality and enhancements to improve customer engagement, loyalty, and retention:

  • A better Microsoft Teams calling experience to have contextually relevant conversations with customers and deliver value in every interaction
  • New, integrated experience that allows teams to access and update Dynamics 365 records from within the Sales application
  • Improved LinkedIn integration enhancements for easy access to Sales Navigator
  • Guided selling improvements via enhanced lead generation and nurturing capabilities and the sales accelerator
  • Enhanced forecasting abilities such as sharing and viewing a precise forecast

Customer Service

When it comes to Dynamics 365 Customer Service, several enhancements are being introduced to improve both agent productivity as well as customer experience:

  • Rich knowledge-authoring enhancements with AI-enabled suggestions and brief descriptions for knowledge base articles
  • Machine learning-based rules for classification, improved effort estimation, and better historical analytics
  • Quicker and easier setting up of customers and the ability to spin up an all-in-one contact center
  • Introduction of rich embedded analytics and AI suggestions for better omnichannel engagement
  • Improvements in knowledge authoring and management for better case routing

Field Service

A bunch of new features are being added to Dynamics 365 Field Service including:

  • A brand-new customer portal that offers self-scheduling and appointment-management capabilities
  • A new work order with UI enhancements that delivers unified views and detailed work order summaries
  • Seamless customer onboarding experience to improve time-to-value and customer satisfaction
  • New capabilities across mixed-reality calling and the Field Service mobile experience for improved frontline worker efficiency
  • Additional customer engagement capabilities for better and richer communication with their customers

As economic and technological disruptions continue to impact day-to-day business functioning, staying up-to-date with the latest innovations is key to business growth and success. Microsoft, via the Dynamics 365 2021 Release Wave 2, is enroute to introducing several new features and enhancements to the Dynamics 365 portfolio, expanding usage and adding capabilities for improved user, business and customer experiences.

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