Important Changes to Dynamics 365 April Release
Focusing on the main changes across Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement apps...
Project Service Automation
PSA was excluded from the original documentation released in January but Microsoft has now provided a little more detail about its plans.
This confirms ongoing collaboration between their PSA and Microsoft Project engineering teams to 'replatform' Project Online on the Common Data Service for Apps. The result will be a new app that is an integrated Project Service solution providing access to PowerApps and Microsoft Flow in addition to Power BI integration.
The new feature previously announced as 'simple forecasting' will now be initially released as an initial public preview from April. Its title also appears to have changed as this is now described as 'manual sales forecasting'.
Microsoft Forms Pro
A new section has been added to the April release notes announcing that MS Forms Pro will shortly enter public preview.
This is described as an enterprise survey tool built on top of Microsoft Forms with added features to collect feedback and gain actionable insights.
With Common Data Service integration, survey users will be able to connect to a Dynamics 365 organisation when creating a new survey. All survey data will be available within the selected environment or organisation to distribute and analyse surveys within the context of wider business data. For example, this will enable analysis via Power BI and Microsoft Flow driven workflows that create follow-up actions.
Featuring multiple question types and branching logic this will be an alternative solution to Voice of the Customer surveys.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service Virtual Agent
A new AI-powered cloud service for creating virtual assistants will enter public preview in April before entering general availability in the 2nd half of 2019.
Virtual Agent will allow managers to deploy and manage virtual agents that automate the handling of problems through specific solutions that are configured without the need for coding.
The preview release will include:
- Industry templates to build your virtual agent bot that will automatically answer and resolve frequent questions and issues in a simple graphical interface
- AI suggestions about which support topics to automate
- Usage of Microsoft Flow to trigger actions across Dynamics 365 and other applications within the context of virtual agent processes
- Routing to human agents in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
- AI Analytics
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights
Not to be confused with Dynamics 365 AI Customer Service Insights, this new app is designed to help users retain customers and build loyalty through data insights.
This will bring in transactional, observational and behaviour data from multiple sources using prebuilt connectors which include Sales Navigator, Sharepoint lists, Active Directory, Exchange Online and Azure tables.
This unifies data into comprehensive customer profiles by mapping records into the Common Data Model with AI applied to match and merge data. Contextual customer insights and tailored customer profile cards can then be infused into business applications to help sales, service and marketing teams drive personalised engagements across channels.
Business analysts will be able to create customer segments based on a combination of common attributes and interactions associated with unified profiles. Segments can be used to better understand customers based on common characteristics and help target each group. For example, this could be through a marketing campaign to customers who are most likely to purchase again...READ MORE
These profiles and insights will be consumable by user roles in various ways with integrations into business apps.
Customer Insights includes an out-of-the-box connector for PowerApps to quickly custom apps using Customer Insights data. Through a Power BI connector, custom reports and dashboards can be used to share these insights within an organisation.
The original release guide referenced LinkedIn-driven organisation charts but in the change log, the upcoming LinkedIn updates have been narrowed to the previously announced out-of-the-box basic LinkedIn profiles for all users and simplified Sales Navigator integration.
Self Service Scheduling via Portal
Sadly we won't see the arrival of self-service scheduling via a portal for the Field Service app in the April release wave as this has now been removed from the current preview guide. Hopefully this will return for the October 2019 release wave.