Last fall saw the release of Microsoft’s new Dynamics 365, a combined offering of CRM and ERP services. The new improved combination builds and improves upon the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Dynamics 365 brings a superior CRM performance, along with the security, functionality, and pricing familiar to Microsoft customers. I’ll outline just 10 of the most popular new features of Dynamics 365, although there are certainly many, many more.
One of the most celebrated new features of Dynamics 365 is the use of app modules. While Dynamics CRM allowed for the use of apps within it, the app modules of Dynamics 365 greatly expand those capabilities. The app module within Dynamics 365 allows users to create a collection of apps or business process flows, and then to use those apps without limit throughout the platform. Apps are no longer limited to a single site map or page. Instead, users can use apps throughout the platform. The new modules offer substantially more flexibility and functionality than the previous versions of Dynamics CRM.
The app module also enables users to create highly targeted apps through a simple drag and drop program. Not only are add-ins and plugins no longer required, but Dynamics 365 users can create new applications without writing a single line of code.
Site Map Designer
Another key feature of Dynamics 365 is the Site Map Designer. Related to App Modules, the site map designer allows users to create and edit site maps without the need for third-party developers or designers. Instead, the Site Map Designer gives users development skills in an easy-to-use, drag and drop tool. Users can create multiple site maps, such as one for every app in deployment, or as a guide for different categories.
Users are now in control of their pages and can customize sites to fit their personal business, industry, or preference.
Although currently only available online, Dynamics 365’s Relationship Insights tool is a valuable new resource. The relationship insights feature tracks and records all of a given user’s communication and interactions with customers. Once this data has been gathered, Dynamics 365 can then analyze the data and provide suggestions or recommend actions.
The new relationship insight feature is more than analytics or data tracking. The relationship insights assistant can guide users through their daily work, communications, and interactions with customers. Some examples of actions that can be advised by the relationship insights tool are reminders for upcoming activities, suggestions for inactive contacts, email alerts on emails awaiting replies, or notifications for opportunities ready to close.
Another popular new feature of Dynamics 365 is relevance search. The new and improved search feature enables users to find matches for words or key phrases based on relevance. Dynamics 365 users can now power their database searches with a powerful and intelligent search engine.
Users can search by keywords or key phrases, allowing for valuable time to be saved on searches. Dynamics 365 users can now expect more accurate results without having to further refine or modify their search queries.
The mobile experience has also been greatly improved upon in Dynamics 365. Building upon a mobile platform that allowed for calendars, timelines, and video players, Dynamics 365 has added workspaces, layouts, colors, editable grids, tracking, and work task flows.
A new mobile workspace has been created, allowing for a more mobile-friendly user experience. Colors, layouts, and content has been optimized to reduce scrolling and make information more presentable. Users can now track content, leads, and prospects through a mobile-friendly interface.
Dynamics 365 for Outlook
Dynamics 365 also enables greater connection and integration with Microsoft Outlook. Although the Dynamics App for Outlook was first released in 2015, it received substantial improvements in the new Dynamics 365 release. The new app remains on the right side of the user’s screen and can display recipient lists, related records, new records and can also embed any templates or attachments. Users will be able to work more efficiently, integrating CRM within their email applications.
For users in client-facing positions, the ability to access CRM through email, or vice versa, makes email an invaluable customer management tool. Dynamics 365 also supports Outlook on a variety of platforms including Windows, Macs, and the Outlook Web Application.
Visual Process Designer
Another excellent drag and drop design system in Dynamics 365 is the visual process designer. The visual process designer allows users to create business process flows, business rules, and task flows. The visual process designer provides timers, suggestion bubbles, and the ability for users to affect workflows directly. The visual process designer also contains an export-to-image capability that enables users to create a visual representation of process flows.
Another popular and convenient new feature is the introduction of editable grids. Dynamics 365 users can now make in-line edits in both desktop and mobile versions. Rather than opening up accounts to make information changes, users can now quickly make edits within columns. The user experience becomes much more streamlined and less tedious, and customer management is improved. Columns can also now be dragged and grouped according to user preference, further helping the overall user experience.
Dynamics 365 has also made great improvements in the education of CRM users with a new Learning Path tool. One of the most difficult aspects of any CRM implementation is the time and resources necessary to fully train staff in its use. CRM is an expansive technology that requires a significant amount of time and effort to be fully understood.
Microsoft realized this and included Learning Paths with Dynamics 365 to relieve this pressure point. Learning Paths is a series of videos, guided tasks, and how-to documents that allow users to learn how to use Dynamics 365 through interactive resources. The resources can be customized for each user depending upon department or job duties.
Learning paths allows for users to work at their own pace as they learn and understand how to use Dynamics 365. Most importantly, Learning Paths provides customized help to each user, allowing users to get help to fit their exact needs.
Finally, one of the most valuable new features is further integration with other Microsoft products and platforms. One example is Dynamics 365’s integration with Microsoft’s Power BI.
The blending of CRM and analytics gives departments an incredibly effective tool in customer relationship management. Entire dashboards from Power BI can now be embedded into the databases of Dynamics 365. Users now can perform analytical analysis on data that is being received in real-time. Visualizations can be performed within Power BI off of relevant customer data from Dynamics 365.
An implementation of Dynamics 365 will bring a host of new features and benefits to users. Users currently on Dynamics CRM will experience even greater benefits due to Dynamics 365 close integration with other Microsoft products and platforms.
From integration with other Microsoft platforms to AI personal assistants, Dynamics 365 gives users an entirely new CRM experience. Included in all this is the security, reliability, and functionality of Microsoft’s cloud services.
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