A Concise Look at Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 Update

Last month Microsoft published a 200 page guide detailing its Spring 2018 release for Dynamics 365. In this post we've highlighted the most significant announcements with a focus on the customer engagement apps.

Several of the releases and improvements detailed in this guide including the new Unified Interface framework and Customer Service Hub for Dynamics 365 were previously been shared in our earlier post about Dynamics 365 v9.0.


** UPDATE ** Microsoft has announced a major cloud update across its business applications will roll out from October 2018...READ MORE


Dynamics 365 for Marketing

D365 for Marketing is now generally available as part of the Spring 18 release.

This long awaited app includes event management, email marketing and lead nurturing capabilities embedded within the Dynamics 365 user interface. We have separately posted about the Marketing app together with details of how this app is licensed.

Dynamics 365 for Sales - Professional Licence

In addition to the full functionality of the D365 for Sales Enterprise licence, Microsoft has announced a new streamlined licence for sales teams who only need lighter functionality.

Available at a lower price point, the Sales Professional licence includes the same capabilities as Enterprise licences for opportunity and lead management, marketing lists, activities and quotes. 

However, this new licence type differs from Sales Enterprise licences in restricting the usage of custom entities, workflows and forms and excludes some functionality including hierarchies, sales goals, social engagement and mobile offline sync...READ MORE

Embedded Intelligence

Previously available as a preview feature (formerly called Relationship Insights), the Spring 18 release sees the release of Embedded Intelligence for Dynamics 365.

  • Relationship assistant helps sales users keep up to date with their work in Dynamics 365, letting them know when they need to follow up on an email, answer a question, attend a meeting, follow-up with a neglected contact and much more. Alert cards are displayed throughout the application to provide relevant information for the context in which you are currently working using data stored in Dynamics and your Exchange inbox and calendar.
  • Auto capture with Outlook – analyses emails to find messages relevant to specific accounts and then tracks in Dynamics 365 with just one click
  • Email engagement – insights from customer emails so sellers can prioritize the most receptive contacts.

Power BI Insights apps

Microsoft has announced it will release a series of embedded Power BI Insight apps tailored to specific business functions beginning with a previous release for Sales Insights. 

This is expected to include predictive lead scoring and relationship analytics. The latter will offer a relationship health score calculated from emails and content exchanged, and frequency and level of customer interactions brought together from Dynamics 365, email and social networks. 

New App Platform Capabilities

The application platform that sits underneath Dynamics 365 sees a significant change with this release. For Dynamics 365 v9, the legacy XRM framework behind Dynamics is merged with an updated version of Microsoft's Common Data Service (CDS).

This uses the same Dynamics code base and with backwards compatibility promised, there will be no obvious change, with existing Dynamics apps continuing to work without any modification.

However, beneath the surface it now means that the same platform that powers Dynamics 365 is also used by PowerApps, Office 365, Power BI and the Common Data Service - now renamed Common Data Service for Apps.

Whereas v1.0 of the CDS was a separate thing by bringing this in with the rich set of Dynamics platform capabilities, CDS for Apps sees a significant boost in functionality through server side logic, improved app building experiences and developer capabilities.

PowerApps

Bringing PowerApps together with the platform that powers Dynamics 365 adds a new type of application that can be created using PowerApps.

Now when building an app through PowerApps, choose between Canvas app (using a visual WYSIWYG editor) or a Model-driven app (driven by entities, their relationships & business processes). Both apps can access your data and logic in CDS for Apps.

In addition to server side logic, the latest app building capabilities include:

  • Business Process Flows to model process stages and guide users through them
  • Sophisticated security model providing row level security and model hierarchies
  • Calculated fields that use server side logic to compute values in an entity

These new capabilities enable apps to be quickly developed including lightweight mobile apps which field based staff can use to collect data and create new processes that will natively connect across Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft cloud services.

With these new capabilities, PowerApps P2 now becomes the platform licence for users of stand-alone model driven apps. PowerApps P2 is included with the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan.

READ MORE 

Common Data Service for Analytics

Another product introduced following changes to the Common Data Service will be the Spring release of CDS for Analytics for reducing the complexity of analysing data and extracting insights across standalone business apps and other sources. 

A new capability in Power BI, Common Data Service for Analytics will enable organisations to integrate data from multiple sources and provide teams with increased access to analytics across all the data relevant to them.

READ MORE: Coming soon to Power BI: Common Data Service for Analytics

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central represents the convergence of the product previously known at D365 Finance & Operations Business Edition and Dynamics NAV to bring the full ERP capabilities of Dynamics NAV to the cloud.

Business Central offers a refreshed user interface which Microsoft states is optimised for insights and productivity.

The product can be extended by applying third-party apps from AppSource, or combine with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow to create new apps and adapt business processes. With integration across the Common Data Service, connect with Power BI for custom dashboards and configurable reports.

D365 Business Central is available across two licences. Essential licensing covers the broad ERP capabilities most businesses need including modules for financial management and supply chain management. Premium licensing adds service order management and manufacturing for the full power of Dynamics NAV in the cloud...READ MORE

GDPR

Microsoft states its Spring 18 release features a series of updates across Dynamics 365 products to address the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Visit the Microsoft Trust Center to find tools and auditing reports for managing cloud-data security and compliance within your organisation and to read more about what Microsoft is doing to help its customers comply with this regulation.

Use Microsoft Compliance Manager to get insights into your responsibilities for meeting compliance standards.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integration

Improvements to the integration between Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator provides more detail about companies and LinkedIn members synchronised to Dynamics record forms and dashboard including profile pictures.

Web Portal

With the Spring Upgrade, portal search is now extended to knowledge article attachments increasing the likelihood of relevant search results.

Dynamics 365 - 9.0.2 Update

We have previously posted about the availability of the D365 v9.0 update which many customers have now scheduled.

In April 2018, Microsoft will begin applying Update 9.0.2 to Dynamics 365 (Online), version 9.0 and higher. This update is focused on reliability and performance improvements as well as some new features. 

Any updates from version 8.x to version 9.0 are scheduled on or after April 2 will automatically get this update -  no change of schedule is needed. For customers already running Dynamics 365 (Online) version 9.0.1 or higher, Microsoft begin deploying this update from April 7 through its normal deployment process.  No customer action is needed to deploy this update.

RELATED: Dynamics 365 On-Premise v9.0.2 Release

August 2018 Update: Microsoft has announced a major cloud update across its business applications will roll out from October. Read what's new in Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Service.


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