Preact's Review of the Year - 2020

Review of the year 2020

Many thanks to everyone for being part of the Preact community this year. We can't hide that 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year, but we hope you are safe and well. As we prepare to say farewell (or good riddance!) to 2020, we leave you with our round up of the year.

Covid-19

Since we closed our office in March, the Preact team has worked remotely. We are incredibly grateful for their dedication throughout the year in helping Preact and our clients adapt to the new normal. Their efforts have included delivering solutions that have enabled organisations to rapidly change their business model and quickly react to new opportunities. We were especially proud to complete a series of projects focused on combating the business impact of the pandemic using Microsoft solutions across the Power Platform. With encouraging news for the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations, we look forward to the prospect of reopening our office and a return to a more normal life in 2021.

Product Updates

The two main 2020 release waves introduced hundreds of new features and enhancements across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Popular updates included: a new search experience, timeline enhancements, sales forecasts, Kanban views, schedule board improvements, field service inspections and multiple improvements across Dynamics 365 Marketing. New product releases included Dynamics 365 Customer Voice to replace Forms Pro and Dynamics 365 Project Operations, combining project capabilities from Project Service Automation, Microsoft Project and D365 Finance. Find out more about the latest Release Wave 2 that runs through to March 2021.

Dynamics 365 Learning

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Preact stepped up its remote delivery. As well as continuing to support Dynamics 365 users through our tutor-led remote courses, we also launched our eLearning Academy offering greater flexibility to access learning content on-demand. Using this resource, new and existing users can quickly increase Dynamics knowledge through a range of modules which feature guided practice sessions. Our managed service clients are automatically entitled to access this learning portal at no additional cost. If you haven't yet logged in, contact us to activate your eLearning account.

Licensing Reviews

Following previously announced licensing changes across Dynamics 365 and Power Apps, we continued to complete licensing reviews for clients throughout the year. Using our licence checking tools and analytics, this process has included verifying licensing compliance and in several instances helping organisations reduce their recurring costs by switching users to different licence types.

Preact Solutions Catalogue

In our engagements with the Preact community, we aim to identify opportunities for new solutions which address frequent requirements. To extend the capabilities of Dynamics 365 and make improvements to user experiences, our releases during 2020 included connectors, visualisations, automated processes and additional form controls. The most popular examples included a multi-select lookup, address capture, connected DocuSign processes and an expense management app. For sales requirements, we introduced our Sales Accelerator base build template to simplify deployments of Dynamics 365 Sales in addition to a Deals App which offers basic sales CRM functionality.

As we continue to grow our Solutions Catalogue, each packaged product is available for our managed service clients to deploy at no additional cost.

Artificial Intelligence

One of the most exciting developments of 2020 has been the increasing adoption of AI technology. Leveraging the Power Platform and Microsoft Cognitive Services, Preact is increasingly working with clients to identify opportunities for the implementation of AI solutions. Through the ability to recognise, predict and make decisions, we are training AI models to make interventions that result in better outcomes. These can include quicker data insights, service improvements, as well as operational efficiencies to increase scale.

Case Studies

We are always grateful to all of our clients who allow us to share their experiences with Dynamics 365. During this year we were thrilled to publish new case studies for organisations including Age UK Islington, Virtual College, Pioneer DJ and Australian Lions Hearing Dogs.

Team Honours

For the third consecutive year, Preact was named in the prestigious Inner Circle for Microsoft Business Applications, ranking us in the top 1% of partners worldwide. This accolade reflects the continuing achievements of our team in rapidly driving innovation using Microsoft's cloud products. A further example of this was highlighted with successes in two Microsoft UK Hackathon events during 2020, resulting in our Power Platform solutions being voted the clear winner on both occasions. An outstanding achievement which demonstrates our team's commitment to rapidly build and deploy.

As we continue to invest in attracting and retaining the best people, we announced flexible working and unlimited holiday for all of our team. These are just two examples of how Preact is nurturing a supportive working culture where everyone feels valued and can realise their full potential.

Thank you

A huge thank you to all our clients, partners and team members for your continued support. We look forward to engaging with you in 2021. In the meantime, may we wish you a happy Christmas and a healthy and successful New Year!

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