It’s that time! Time to start planning for the Dynamics 365 release wave 1 updates that will begin in April. In just a few months, you will start gaining access to several new features across all of the applications. Not only will these changes be exciting to try out, but they will also bring new innovations that provide you with significant capabilities to transform your business. To keep you informed, this blog will be a two-part series that provides a high-level overview of the key investment areas and a few top features that are already available for testing.
Dynamics 365 Marketing
Dynamics 365 Marketing is a marketing solution that helps businesses manage customer engagement through rich personalization and automation while leveraging their Microsoft assets. The goal for this update was to support customers in achieving more with less effort. Microsoft focused on easy personalization and simplification while continuing to invest in fundamental improvements.
Key investment areas for this release are:
- Personalized marketing: Marketers can build and send effective content effortlessly with Dynamics 365 Marketing. The application can send emails related to business transactions that include context details and also send test messages that render dynamic content for a selected contact.
- Marketing made simple: Microsoft continues to streamline this product by reducing click counts. Many improvements have been made to make marketers’ lives easier, such as editor usability, in-line editing, and the ability to understand customer journeys.
- Integration and adaptability: Evens forms are now integrated with third-party content management systems. Microsoft Forms Pro can also manage surveys.
- Performance and scalability: The performance, scalability, and throughput for campaign execution and email marketing continues to be improved. The application delivers an improved unsubscribe experience, prevents phishing, improves accessibility, and more.
A few new features:
- Compliance made easier: Microsoft has made it easier for marketers to stay compliant with GDPR and accessibility guidelines. This includes consolidated opt-in confirmation messages, history of subscription-list and GDPR consent-level changes, and the ability to check the accessibility of emails, forms, and pages.
- Support for surveys using Microsoft Forms Pro: Surveys bring a rich set of capabilities regardingin regard to feedback about customers’ needs. Microsoft Forms Pro surveys can help you make data-driven decisions and apply your findings to your marketing initiatives.
- Ability to test-send dynamic email messages: Dynamics 365 Marketing enables marketers to create visually rich marketing emails that include personalized content. The test-send function will now provide improved error checking and test messages that contain fully rendered dynamic content based on a selected sample contact record.
Dynamics 365 Sales
Dynamics 365 Sales is a tool that brings value to sales teams through out-of-box capabilities specific to different types of scenarios. It is an entire system that is much more than a simple sales application. It is truly centered around the customer relationship. With Dynamics 365 Sales, organizations can understand customer needs, drive more authentic engagements, and improve selling efficiencies.
The 2020 wave 1 release themes are:
- Simplify: Dynamics 365 Sales is dedicated to simplifying the process so that sellers can focus on building deeper relationships. Microsoft has introduced intelligence that can increase productivity and enhance the seller experience.
- Enhance productivity: In order to draft proposals, communicate with customers, and collaborate internally, every sales team requires productivity tools. It is vital for sellers to move quickly between tasks so that they can spend most of their time building relationships. Through Dynamics 365 Sales, sellers can communicate, collaborate, and analyze without having to switch context.
- Accelerate: Sellers benefit from cross-channel communication directly from Dynamics 365 Sales. With the powerful application on hand, sales teams can convert lets and close opportunities successfully and faster.
- Transform forecasting: Sellers can confidently build a strong pipeline, shorten sales cycles, and improve accuracy through forecasting. A new solution called Forecasting offers the flexibility to meet unique business requirements and an intuitive interface to forecast intelligently.
- Offer mobility: Microsoft has improved the mobile experience and has focused on empowering sellers with easy-to-use tools. The new mobile layout is being designed from the ground up with sellers in mind.
A few new features:
- Forecasting: To understand business health and make strategic decisions, organizations need proper tools to accurately forecast sales targets. The creation of Dynamics 365 Forecasting empowers business leaders to manage the bottom-up sales forecast processes. Sellers can manage their pipeline and increase productivity, while sales managers are met with greater flexibility and a clearer view into all projections.
- Improve and adjust forecast accuracy: End users can now easily adjust any forecasted values that are propagated based on organizational hierarchy. Adjustments can be deleted or reverted back to an older version. Sellers can identify the underlying records that contribute to changes and capture the exact reasons in order to analyze the history.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service
Dynamics 365 Customer Service is an end-to-end solution for customer support across multiple channels. It provides comprehensive and efficient case routing and management for agents and enables authoring and consumption of knowledge management articles.
Microsoft will be focusing on the following areas for the release:
- Agent productivity: Agents can be more productive through improved knowledge article search, email authoring, and timeline enhancements.
- Omnichannel for Customer Service: Agent productivity tooling and the range of supported channels have been expanded.
- Connected Customer service: Linking IoT diagnostics, IoT device updates, and case management to help organizations evolve a proactive and predictive service model.
A few new features:
- Connected Customer Service (IoT + Customer Service): By fulling integrating IoT diagnostics, IoT device updates, and case management, Connect Customer Service allows organizations to evolve a proactive and predictive service model. Key capabilities include:
- Convert IoT Alert to a support case
- View all devices registered to the customer
- View all IoT Alerts from devices registered to the customer
- Send command to the customer’s device
- View IoT activity in the case timeline
- Agent productivity enhancements to knowledge capabilities: Sharing knowledge quickly is a key asset that agents can benefit from. They can improve their efficiency by referring customers to knowledge articles that can address common issues.
- Configurable case resolution page: Businesses need to capture important details in the process of resolving a case. By supporting customization of the Case Resolution dialog box, Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps managers identify recurring issues and inform other incident responses.
Dynamics 365 Field Service
Dynamics 365 Field Service is a solution for on-site service that empowers organizations to be proactive and embrace new business models. The end goal is to assist businesses in delivering exceptional customer experiences. This platform ensures that employees have the tools that they need at the right time and in the right place.
For the 2020 release wave 1, Microsoft is focusing on the following areas:
- New features capabilities including time entries and inspections
- Previewing AI-based suggestions for IoT alerts and incident types
- Ongoing enhancements to resource scheduling and optimization capabilities
- Continued investment in proactive service with Azure IoT
- Deeper alignment with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management for supply chain management and asset management
A few new features:
- Incident type AI-based suggestions: Incident types provide a means to standardize service work, including the services to be performed and the parts required. Improving incident types allows for a more accurate reflection of the work performed and also helps management plan their part availability and technician scheduling. It has been noted by Microsoft that this feature is available in the Unified Interface only.
- Integration with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management: This feature combines supply chain management and field service support, as customers often need assistance in both areas. The integration combines data for warehouse, payment type, and shipment methods and leverages the Common Data Model and Common Data Service. The feature makes it faster and easier for technicians to complete service tasks while using Field Service.
Integrated technician time tracking: Field Service organizations can capture time in an easily viewable and editable format. Customers can also track technician time for full transparency. This enables organizations to drive more accurate accounting practices and profit-loss calculations.
As you can see, Microsoft never disappoints when it comes to their annual platform updates! These features will not only help end-users, but they will continue to improve business processes in many different ways. To get a full look into the entire 2020 release wave 1 plan, check out this Microsoft webpage. Stay tuned for part two of this blog series that will be published next week!
Genna is a Partner Content Creator with a creative eye and strong attention to detail. Genna has a business-related bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and a total of four years of experience in Marketing. Her daily responsibilities include content creation across all Social Media platforms, blog publishing, and studying engagement analytics. Genna is drawn to Social Media because she loves helping businesses grow and truly believes that Digital Marketing is the new Sales.