Dynamics 365 Spring '18

Dynamics 365 Spring ’18 release on the way

John PhillipsProduct Updates

From April 2018 onward, Microsoft is rolling out its latest major update to the Dynamics 365 platform. The Spring update is focused on improving performance and reliability, but there are also a number of new features and enhancements. As the new functionality is all opt-in, and because the default user experience is not affected, this update is not manually instigated but will be automatically scheduled and deployed by Microsoft.

What’s new in this update?

As with every major Dynamics release, there are a raft of new features, fixes and changes, but we’ve summarised some of the more significant ones –

General Data Protection Regulation

In May 2018, the EU introduces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is designed to help individuals to control the use of their personal data. The Spring ’18 release includes tools to help to ensure your organisation is compliant with the new regulation.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Now generally available as part of the Spring 18 release, this long-awaited app brings email marketing, lead nurturing and event management functionality to Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Covered in a previous post, Business Central is Microsoft’s end-to-end NAV-based business offering for small and medium sized businesses.

Embedded Intelligence

The feature, previously called ‘Relationship Insights’, is now out of preview and incorporates –

  • Relationship assistant – offers timely and actionable insights through the continual analysis of customer interaction data and then generating action cards with suggestions for relevant next steps.
  • Auto capture – scans a sales user’s Outlook inbox for messages and appointments relevant to records they are working in Dynamics 365, and presents an option to track them within Dynamics.
  • Email engagement – monitors actions taken by email recipients such as opens, clicks, attachment interactions, or replies. Users can also schedule when an email is sent and receive follow-up reminders.

Common Data Service for Apps & PowerApps

Microsoft’s existing Common Data Service and XRM framework have been combined to form the Common Data Service for Apps. Existing functionality will not be affected, but now that the same platform is powering Dynamics 365, PowerApps, Office 365, Power BI and the Common Data Service, there will be significant improvements in functionality through server-side logic, improved app building and developer capabilities.

As a result of the Common Data Service changes, PowerApps benefits greatly – a new model-driven app can now be rapidly developed and deployed, starting with your data model as the foundation as an alternative to the traditional Canvas method of app development.

Dynamics 365 for Sales Professional

For organisations who do not need the full functionality of the Enterprise Edition of Dynamics 365, Microsoft have introduced a Professional licence, which comes in at a lower price point. The Professional version has reduced customisation options and does not have access to these Enterprise-only features –

  • Hierarchies
  • Goals
  • Territory Management
  • Relationships
  • Voice of the Customer surveys
  • Microsoft Social Engagement
  • Mobile Offline Sync
  • Gamification
  • Embedded Insights

but for those companies on a tight budget who do not anticipate ever needing Enterprise functionality, the Professional licence could be a perfect fit.