Managing Cases? Meet The Dynamics CRM Interactive Service Hub

Many of the improvements in Dynamics CRM 2016 can be described as being ‘under the bonnet’ and not immediately visible to users upon upgrading.

The new CRM Interactive Service Hub (ISH) is one such example…

What is the Interactive Service Hub?

ISH is a new interface for accessing Microsoft Dynamics CRM featuring redesigned forms and dashboards that are designed for service teams.

Agents have access to an uncluttered interface that removes non-service processes and entities including leads, campaigns and opportunities. By eliminating unwanted CRM functions and menu items service teams can more easily focus on their cases and activities to resolve issues more efficiently.

It looks similar to the Dynamics CRM mobile app?

That’s no coincidence because ISH is built on Microsoft’s Mobile Client Application (MoCA) and we can expect to see more examples of CRM interfaces that look and behave as more like a web app rather than a traditional web client.

Right now ISH offers users a new interface through which CRM cases can be managed in addition to the regular CRM client, via Outlook, by tablet and mobile devices.

How is it accessed?

Interactive Service Hub is available for both Cloud Online and On-Premise editions using CRM 2016.

Add the extension /engagementhub.apsx to your usual Dynamics CRM URL. For example, using CRM Online this will be https://<CRM Server>.

Although built on the mobile application the ISH is designed for desktop browsers and it isn’t currently available via phone, tablets or CRM for Outlook. ISH cannot be accessed using in-private browsing.

What record types are available?

By default Interactive Service Hub makes the following record types available: Accounts, Cases, Contacts, Activities: Email, Task, Appointment, Phone Call, Social Activity, Queue items, Dashboards and Social profiles. Custom entities can also be enabled.

What information is available on the cases form?

CRM cases forms in the Interactive Service Hub include:

  1. Scroll up and down to navigate through active cases.
  2. General information about the contact and case including contact points, case status and case ID.
  3. Toggle between service case tabs. The above screenshot shows the summary tab, the details tab includes additional data about escalation history and social profiling. Case relationships includes merged cases and child cases while SLA details any Service Level Agreement data instances specific to an individual customer.
  4. Unlike the regular CRM interface the ISH ribbons are collapsed, users will need to click individual stages to expand the step within each component. In the current release these can’t be pinned so for fairly complex cases processes I can imagine this might prove restrictive but no doubt Microsoft will be looking at the navigation in future releases.

  5. Command bar options include routing cases, resolving items, or click the ellipsis icon for more items including assign a cases, switch processes and add to a queue.
  6. The Timeline panel occupies much of the screen detailing all of the interactions on a case including social interactions. Compared to the notes control on the CRM client the Timeline makes a number of improvements including functions to easily search timeline events, filter timeline items by date and the ability to schedule phone calls for a future date rather than these being automatically completed.
  7. The related panel shows information contextual to case including recent cases and associated case entitlements.
  8. Interactive Service Hub features integrated knowledge management. Simply click the icon to find matching CRM knowledge articles. This instantly searches the knowledge base using the case subject to find posts that referencing these terms containing best practice recommendations and resolution steps which agents can follow, or email directly to clients.

    Knowledge articles are also accessible via the integrated web portals for Microsoft Dynamics.

What dashboards are available?

Dashboards feature prominently whenever the Interactive Service Hub is promoted and this post is no different!

ISH breaks out from the standard Dynamics dashboard structure of 6 components per display with new controls and layout which means that they look markedly different from what we’ve previously seen in CRM.

Tier 2 - Single Stream Dashboard

This is designed for individual agents combining a stream of their active cases with supporting charts and metrics. Click any item or number to drill down and filter the dashboard display. More advanced filters are available from the menu to adjust views by case type, origin, priority, product and other criteria.

Tier 1 - Multi-Stream Dashboard

The multi-stream version lists a series of service streams, these can include activities, resolved cases and all active cases in addition to a selection of charts. This makes it a useful view for service managers to easily see how many cases their team are working on, what priority levels these are set to, which customers have the most cases outstanding and which team members are working on the most service issues. Each stream can contain data from different CRM entities though multiple entities can’t be combined in the same stream. As with the single stream dashboard global filters can be applied to all charts in the view.

Should service teams start using the Service Hub now?

This will depend on your own circumstances. It may be that ISH offers you one or more immediate improvements beyond the traditional CRM client browser experience that makes a compelling reason for early deployment. This is the first release and Interactive Service Hub can be viewed as work in progress but further updates are on way. This app style interface is a clear pointer towards the direction that Microsoft are taking with future CRM interface changes and we do recommend taking some time to evaluate and learn more about this as it is a prelude to the type of apps we'll see in Microsoft Dynamics 365.