April 2019 Release: What's New in Dynamics 365 for Sales & Service Apps
Continuing our series of posts previewing the April update for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform we are now focusing on the latest announcements across the D365 Sales, Customer Service and Field Service apps.
Before diving into what's new, some important points start with:
- This update will be applied to all Dynamics 365 Online environments during April as Microsoft moves to having all users on a single supported version.
- Administrators are able to test selective new features by opting in to a preview for non-production instances from 1 February.
- Microsoft will confirm at a later time how these new features will be licensed. Several of the new announcements for the Sales app are expected to be only available for the Sales Enterprise licence.
- The new features, released in general availability, or as initial previews, will roll out in waves between April and September though some previews are expected to arrive ahead of this timeline. As shown below, the main deliverables for the Sales app are expected to be available at the start of this cycle while many of the Field Service updates are set for release towards the end of the wave timeline.
- Where an expected month for release is shown, this indicates an anticipated release at some point during that month.
- The Project Service Automation is a notable omission in the April guide. Microsoft says it will provide an update in due course. Potentially this might occur on 21 February when an updated version is due to be published. Previously, it has stated work has begun in 'converging' the PSA app with Microsoft Project so watch this space...
- As with any pre-release information, all details remain subject to change so we'll update this post when further details are shared.
Dynamics 365 for Sales
LinkedIn Integration (General Availability - April)
Through Microsoft Relationship Sales (MRS), all D365 for Sales users will now be able to access basic LinkedIn profile information about their customers within the Dynamics interface. This functionality will be delivered out of the box without additional configuration or the need for an added subscription.
This will also include a new Live Org Chart experience to define a customer's organisation structure and receive updates from LinkedIn if contacts depart from their position.
While the guide does not specifically state this, we expect that this functionality will only be available through the Unified Interface. Also, a Sales Navigator would continue to be needed for more advanced LinkedIn insights and engagement activities.
Simple Forecasting (General Availability - April)
Delivering on a frequent user request, new dashboard and reports will show sales forecasting data and trends for individuals and across an entire sales team. These displays will enable sales users to roll up forecasting values based on products, pricing, and accounts.
Microsoft Teams Integration (General Availability - April)
A preview for Teams integration with D365 for Sales was outlined in the October '18 update guide. At the time of writing this had yet to arrive in the UK but the next release wave starting in April will extend previously announced capabilities to enable collaboration at scale across multiple records within a Dynamics 365 view.
The guide also references how a Dynamics 365 bot for the Teams mobile app will simplify the process for sales users to access records on the go which will create a new way in which relationship data can be quickly accessed.
This will be supported by automatic reminders in the Teams app to capture meeting notes. These can be completed through voice-to-text capability and following analysis the bot will contextually suggest scheduling follow-ups.
Playbooks Content Recommendations + Flow Connectivity (General Availability - April)
The October '18 release introduced Playbook activity templates enabling teams to convert knowledge and best practices into scripted lists of activities that should be followed in defined scenarios that are launched manually, or triggered based on entity events.
For the April update, content recommendations can be made by attaching and referencing sales literature and documents within Playbook activities
Also, as referenced in our previous post about the Power Platform, Playbooks will now leverage Microsoft Flow for rich conditional logic in defining these rules.
Customer Insights from more Data Providers (General Availability - April)
Organisations will now be able to provision selected 3rd party content to augment customer data. This will include a 'try and buy' experience for selected 3rd party content to enable these insights for the entities and processes these will be contextually available.
Configure-Price-Quote Experiences (General Availability - April)
New capability will provide integration with partner configure-price-quote (CPQ) solutions. Once a CPQ partner solution is chosen, sales users will be better able to identify the right product config and quickly create quotes with accurate pricing that accounts for all variable factors including discounts.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
Customise Case Resolution Dialog (General Availability - June)
Finally, organisations will be able to customise this dialog by adding, removing and editing any fields in the context of each case resolution process.
Case Form Entity Enhancements (Public Preview - March)
Featuring improved information density on case form and an enhanced (Unified Interface) timeline to help agents and supervisors visualize activity snapshots in a few clicks.
Service Level Agreements Enhancements (Public Preview - March)
SLA timers will have enhanced visualizations to show the elapsed and remaining times. Also, SLA timers will show the remaining time in two modes: business hours and actual hours.
As referenced in our previous post, SLA actions will now leverage Microsoft Flow and be configurable across the numerous services that this connects to. This specific update is expected to enter general availability in April.
Knowledge Article Templates (Public Preview - March)
These will enable any individual in a customer's organization to easily participate in building a structured knowledge base by simplifying the process to create new posts. Through templates, authors will be able to re-use common content while at the same time ensuring consistent branding and messaging.
Knowledge Analytics (Public Preview - April)
To more easily identify and address knowledge gaps, service managers will be able to analyse recent search terms that will reveal total searches, as well as failed keyword searches.
Omni-Channel Engagement Hub
This cloud-based service extends Dynamics 365 for Customer Service by enabling businesses to instantly connect and engage with customers via channels including Live Chat and SMS. A preview for OECH was announced for the October 2018 release wave but at the time of writing this had yet to arrive in the UK.
The latest update guide says this will enter general availability in selective regions from July 2019 and the upcoming release wave lists added functionality beyond the capabilities announced in 2018. These include:
- Multi-session agent experiences for Dynamics 365 Unified Interface and Unified Service Desk with new capabilities that include agent dashboard, easy switching between sessions, screen notifications, preview knowledge articles, transfer conversations, preconfigured quick replies, send and receive attachments.
- Supervisor experiences to effectively manage agents as well as monitor inter-day service KPIs and contact centre operations.
- Live chat channel capabilities to foster productive interactions between agents and end users including: provision multiple chat widgets that to provide personalized experiences and include widget theming, configure pre-chat questionnaires and post-chat feedback, configure the specific hours widgets, mask sensitive data, share attachments and enable users to download a chat transcript.
- SMS including two-way texting between customer and agent, updating customers with automated SMS notifications and automated response management - an SMS subscription with Telesign will be required to leverage two-way texting.
- Bring your bot to Omni-channel Engagement Hub - configure bots (built on Microsoft Bot Framework) in OECH through a simplified setup experience to enable routing of conversations to bots. Infuse bot capabilities with Dynamics 365 content to maintain a natural experience and positively impact KPI's.
- Unified routing and work distribution to route work items originating from channels that include chat and messaging with parameters for agent capacity and availability. This will also include routing cases logged via portal to appropriate agents via unified routing and work distribution system of Omni-channel Engagement Hub.
Self-Service Scheduling via Portal (General Availability - September)
Enable customers to schedule field service appointments at their convenience while making sure that the availability and skills of field services resources are considered. For routine maintenance visits which need to be booked, invites can be communicated by an automated email. From these messages, clients can to book these checks by selecting an appropriate date and time slot when a suitable resource will be available. By bringing extended portal capabilities to the field service operation, sales and marketing teams can further demonstrate their customer centric approach to service care.
Optimisation Insights (General Availability - September)
A new Power BI based dashboard will provide optimisation summaries and statistics to help service managers and schedulers evaluate results, measure resource usage and compare to scheduling objectives.
New optimisation objective for ASAP (General Availability - September)
A new optimisation objective for 'as soon as possible' can be selected and ranked with other scheduling objectives to balance the need to reserve capacity for urgent bookings with the wider goal of keeping resources utilised all day.
SLA Enhancements (General Availability - June)
The October '18 release introduced capability to define service level agreements for work orders. In the April release wave, this will be extended whereby SLAs can now be automatically applied when work orders are created based on defined parameters.
Optimised Variable Resource Location (General Availability - September)
The field service app will provide greater flexibility to manage resources that don't always start their day from a consistent fixed location. The guide highlights how this optimised location support will help managers organise schedules for resources that pick up parts at a warehouse on a fixed day each week but start from home on other days, resources who occasionally work in a remote area, or crews that travel to customer sites without having a defined based. These and other similar scenarios will be met through an API that allows the location of resources to be changed.
Enhanced Multi-Resource Work Order Management (General Availability - June)
From the October '18 release, the Field Service app supports many multi-resource work order scenarios including crews. This latest update will bring improvements to crew management and requirement group scheduling to support the scheduling and management of work that requires multiple resources
Embedded IoT Visualizations (General Availability - July)
This will enable measurement data from IoT Central to be used throughout field service including real-time measurement of equipment in addition to historical measurements and trending history that will include repair events and capability to compare to similar devices and assets. This will provide contextual visualisations across the Field Service app for work orders, asset records and alerts.
Device Commands (General Availability - June)
New capability to categorise devices and define commands that can be sent to any device within each category. Manual and automated commands will be executed on remote assests through IoT Central using flows based on Microsoft Flow templates. After sending commands the result can be monitored using IoT visualisations.
As a Microsoft CRM and Cloud Business Applications partner, Preact works with its clients to plan and prepare for Dynamics 365 releases in order to achieve a smooth update and effectively leverage new product features and platform capabilities.
If you are looking to get more from your Dynamics 365 system, please get in touch. We'll be delighted to discuss your requirements and offer advice.
READ MORE ABOUT THE APRIL 2019 UPDATE
- What's New in the Power Platform
- What's New in Dynamics 365 AI
- What's New in Web Portals
- Dynamics 365 for Talent