50 Things We Learned in the 2020 Wave 1 Release Plans
Microsoft has unveiled its latest release plans for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform which cover a glut of new features and improvements.
Some features will arrive as soon as February 2020 in early access preview. Many are set for general availability during April with others rolling out between April and September, either in preview or GA. Below, we've highlighted a selection based on our first impressions from the 2020 Wave 1 Release Plans.
As with any pre-release update, this information is subject to change. We will update this post when further announcements are made, and when more detail is shared about the new capabilities.
Team Member Licensing + Enforcement
- Customer Service Team Member App Module - a new app module for Team Member users. This will enable access in line with Team Member usage rights for: creating cases, read / update the user's own cases and search / view knowledge articles.
- Sales Team Member App Module - a further new module for Team Member licences that will support: viewing customer details, viewing leads / opportunities on a customer record, create / view activities for customer record, or on related leads or opportunities.
- Licence Enforcement - licence-based access will restrict Team Member users to new designated app modules for Customer Service Team Member, Sales Team Member and Project Resource Hub. From April 2020, Team Member licences purchased after 1 October 2018 will no longer be able to access Customer Service Hub, Sales Hub or custom app modules. Prior to this, administrators can enable enforcement within their environments to preview the impact for end users.
Unified Interface & Forms
- Improved Activity Grid - enabling users to perform more actions without navigating away from the main activity page. Drag and drop functionality will be supported with activities shown in a Kanban board to quickly update statuses when working across multiple activities.
- Calendar View - a new visualisation to show daily activities.
- Improved Grid Column Filtering - advanced grid column filtering capabilities will make it easier to control displays including: 'begins with', 'ends with', and 'contains data' criteria. New date filters will include absolute criteria ('before', 'after', 'on', etc.) and relative ('last month', 'older than X months', etc.).
- Editing Related Records - through a new modal dialog so users can avoid having to navigate away from a record to create, edit or view a related record. The new feature will enable admins and designers to open a form in a dialog directly from another main form with the 'navigateTo' api.
- Quick Find Search - will be set to restrict searches to within the current defined entity view. If required, admins will be able to revert back the earlier quick search experience across all records.
- Create Rich Text Notes in Timeline - with added formatting for emphasis and readability.
- Email Template Selection - preview templates before selecting and use template categories to simplify lookup.
- Improved Email Designer - with updated styling including custom pre-headers, rounded formatting options for images and buttons, and additional design layout properties.
- Large File Support - in model-driven forms to support attachments for files of up to 128 MB and 30 MB for images.
Dynamics 365 Sales
- Opportunity Kanban View - switch between the existing grid and a new Kanban view to update stages by dragging opportunities between stages.
- Matching Products to Opportunities - a series of improvements enabling seller to quickly add products. This will include expanded search capability across name and description columns in the product entity, exploring product details inline before selection and selecting multiple products in a single action.
- New Forecasting Capabilities - enabling bespoke forecast models to be created using Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise based on product, territory, or reporting hierarchy. This will also see the introduction of quota management, advanced filtering to filter out specific opportunities and a visual Kanban forecast board.
Dynamics 365 Sales Insights
- Predictive Forecasting - will explore historical evidence and provide predictive projections to identify inconsistencies without manual intervention. Actual performance will be compared to earlier forecasts to assess accuracy based on past deals to identify the most impactful signals.
- Snapshot Comparison - visually compare two forecast snapshots to view changes in values to understand why forecasts have changed, and why any potential deals have slipped.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service
- Knowledge Capabilities - a series of access improvements for knowledge content will include search results, full screen viewing and broader searching outside the context of cases including from navigation in the Customer Service Hub.
- Customise Case Resolution Dialog - following the recent customization of the opportunity close dialog, similar functionality will be available to capture additional detail when cases are resolved.
- Case Routing Rules - a new experience built on the Unified Interface to simplify configuration of routing rules and bring feature parity with the deprecated web client will be generally available in April.
- SLA Admin - through the Unified Interface will bring feature parity with the deprecated web client. Using Power Automate (previously Microsoft Flow), actions can be configured for success, failure and SLA warnings. The release plan uses an example of a failure message being posted on Microsoft Teams.
Omnichannel for Customer Service
- Additional Digital Channels - WhatsApp and SMS digital messaging through Twilio (available in preview) and Twitter Direct Message are new channels introduced during this release cycle. Support between Omnichannel for Customer Service and Microsoft Teams will also be available in preview.
- Remote Assist & Co-Browse - new APIs will connect existing third party co-browse and remote assist solutions.
- Schedule Board - the next generation schedule board will be available in early access preview from February which Microsoft says will make it easier for dispatchers to manage scheduling.
- Work Hour Calendar - a experience for the Unified Interface will be generally available from April using an accessible Power Control Framework (PCF) calendar control to simplify navigation.
Customer Service Insights
- Accurate Topic Generation - specify keywords or unnecessary phrases to be ignored when text is parsed for more meaningful auto-generation of case topics.
- Embedded Analytics - beginning with a preview, Customer Service Insights analytics will be embedded within Dynamics 365 Customer Service app.
- Web APIs - are coming into preview for portals enabling users to perform create, read, update or delete operations across all Common Data Service entities.
- Simplified Power BI Embedding - will be comparable to embedding forms and lists without the need to create additional liquid code.
- Search custom entities - from April, global search in portals will be customisable to include additional entities.
- Requirement Dependencies - for scheduling requirements in a specific order through relational predecessor / successor dependency. The release plan cites an example of a technician who must first pick up a specific part from the warehouse and then perform work at a customer's site.
- Resource Scheduling Dashboard - a new dashboard will include resource scheduling metrics to better monitor utilisation and KPIs.
- Inspections - D365 Field Service will include a new capability in preview that will cover: creating inspections, linking inspections to work orders and capturing inspection results.
- Technician Time Tracking - can now be captured in Field Service with entries aligned to Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation. This will support manual, automated (through booking timestamps) and custom time capture mechanisms.
- Single Mobile App - both model-driven and canvas apps will now appear in a single list of apps shown on the Power Apps mobile app.
- Azure Application Insights - enabling app builders and administrator to better able to understand how many people are using an app, or specific features.
- Offline capabilities - are set to improve with faster performance and reliability. Barcode scanning and the currency entity will be newly available offline.
- Themes - modern themes for model-driven apps are scheduled to be generally available from April that reflect Microsoft Fluent themes.
- New Discover Experience - to making it easier to navigate and discover everything you can do with Power Automate. This should include universal search, searching for flows across environments and guided learning tutorials.
- Flows in Office 365 apps - from Summer 2020, Microsoft will extend Power Automate for use in Office 365 apps.
- Conditional formatting - on Power BI totals and subtotals will bring more Excel-type capabilities to the Power BI table and matrix visualisations. Power BI desktop will also now ship with a modern ribbon consistent with Excel and Office 365.
- Power BI Filter Pane - enabling report designers to customise the look and feel of filters in Power BI reports.
- Decomposition Tree - new Power BI visual to help understand the root cause contributing to high / low KPI values.
- Copy & Paste Power BI Visuals - into other applications, while preserving the same visual format, so they can be easily interpreted. This will include a link back to Power BI enabling further exploration.
Dynamics 365 Marketing
- Event Registration Forms - can now be embedded into any third-party content management system similar to other forms in the Marketing app.
- Improved Segment Design - to create dynamic segments more quickly and support static segments with a higher volume of members. Further improvements for segment queries will enable members to be selected based on interaction history.
- Customisable Survey Templates - will include follow-up workflows that automatically report negative sentiment to ensure urgent attention.
- Image Moderation - a new AI Builder model will detect potentially offensive or unwanted images stored in the Power Platform.
- Receipt Scanning - to process receipts that will identify and extract information including merchant information, price and taxes from receipts.
- Anomaly Detection Model - will be released in preview to look for unusual patterns in business data that does not conform to the expected outcome to identify problems before they occur.