As Microsoft have unveiled their planned improvements to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform for April 2020, we take a look at the key innovations and changes that could affect your business and its processes.
The release plans, as before, have been divided up into Dynamics 365 and The Power Platform, such is the scale of the changes. As some of the changes are available in preview in February, we would recommend familiarising yourself with them ahead of time by enabling the Wave 1 Preview in your sandbox instance. If you are an existing Strategy 365 customer and need assistance with this, please get in touch.
Dynamics 365 Key Changes
One change that affects all apps is the stricter enforcement of the Team Member licence. This licence is issued to users who require light access to the functionality of apps like Sales and Customer Service, but do not need the comprehensive access afforded to the main app users. Microsoft are now making it easier to ensure that your users are adhering to the licence requirements by providing dedicated Team Member apps that automatically limit the functionality accordingly.
Dynamics 365 Sales
- Enhanced experience for adding products – To streamline the process of adding products to Opportunities, it will now be possible to search for products across names and descriptions and view a product’s details before adding it to an opportunity, making it easier to find the right product. It will also be possible to add multiple products to an opportunity at once, saving additional time.
- Easier Email Template selection – By adding the ability to categorise and preview your templates, it will be easier to choose the correct template for your emails.
- Simpler Activity management – New grid, calendar and Kanban views will make it even easier to find, visualise and manage your activities.
- Save standardised PDFs as Dynamics 365 Notes or to SharePoint -With the October release, the functionality was added to generate PDF documents from core Sales entities; with the April release, it will be possible to save these PDFs as notes to records or to SharePoint.
- Opportunity management via Kanban – At a glance, visualise your Opportunities and even move them from stage to stage via the new intuitive Kanban view.
Dynamics 365 Sales Insights
- Advanced forecasting and pipeline intelligence – Predictive forecasting, lead scoring and opportunity scoring help to give sales teams guidance on where best to invest their time, improving resource allocation and increasing productivity.
- Advanced Conversation Insights – Using Microsoft’s powerful AI technology, analyse topics discussion on calls and detect emotion via vocal patterns.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service
- Configurable Case Resolution experience– one feature that has long been requested is the ability to customise the user experience when resolving a case, which has traditionally been a very locked-down process. With the April release, this customisation will now be available, allowing for the adding/removal of fields or implementing additional form validation.
- SLA and Case Creation enhancements – By using Power Automate, managing the automatic creation of cases and maintaining SLA settings will now be possible in the newer Unified Interface, instead of relying on the legacy web client.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights
- Improved data access for reporting – dashboards showing key business metrics, including derived and calculated insights such as issue topics and impact scores.
Dynamics 365 Business Central
- Enhanced migration options – improved data migration scenarios make it easier to move from Dynamics GP, Dynamics SL, and Business Central (on-premises) to Business Central online.
- Improved user interface – a raft of visual improvements, including the ability to collapse/expand document lines, reduced load times for complex pages and improved tree navigation are all aimed at giving the user an intuitive and powerful interface with which to perform their tasks.
Power Platform Key Changes
- Hierarchy Slicer – provides native support for hierarchies, giving the ability to drill into child records without the need for multiple separate slicers.
- Improved Data Protection – Datasets, Reports and Dashboards can now be classified and labelled, with permissions set on them accordingly by administrators.
- Copy and paste Power BI Visuals into other applications – preserves the same visual format, so they can be easily interpreted and includes a link back to Power BI enabling further analysis.
- Mobile overhaul – Both canvas and model-driven apps are now accessed via the Power Apps app and offline functionality has been improved.
Power Apps Portals
- Improved Global Search – traditionally, the portal search functionality could only interrogate core portal-related entities, but this has been opened up to include more entities, including custom entities.
- New, simplified themes – making it even easier to roll out new portal designs.
- Simplified Expressions – although Power Automate Expressions are very powerful, building the more complex formulas was not always an easy task. Five new text manipulation actions aim to simplify this and no doubt more new actions will be on the way in due course.
- Improved Microsoft Teams integration – Automatic reminders, notifications and interactive adaptive cards via Microsoft Teams ensure you never miss important events within your business.
- UI Flows – originally in preview, UI Flows allow you to record and play back actions in systems that do not have their own API.
As with previous releases, Microsoft have invested a great deal of time and effort in further improving all aspects of the Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform suites to ensure that users get the most from their systems. For Dynamics 365, a large percentage of the new functionality is only being rolled out for the new Unified Interface, so if your organisation has yet to transition across from the legacy web client, we would recommend testing the new interface sooner rather than later, ahead of the mandatory switchover in October. Existing Strategy 365 customers who would like to discuss any of the above changes or need assistance with enabling the Wave 1 preview, please get in touch.