By Madeline Watchmaker
Originally scheduled for April 1st, 2020, Microsoft will now begin deploying its first Dynamics 365 update of the year on May 1st, due to the COVID-19 situation. According to the new release schedule, North American customers will receive the updates automatically between Friday, May 22nd and Sunday, May 24, 2020.
Users have a lot to be excited about, so we’re highlighting the top 5 features that will impact you and make your day-to-day so much easier.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that these features are only available in the Unified Interface and only apply to the online, cloud-based versions of Dynamics 365, not on-premises. Also, some of the new features apply to a variety of modules, such as sales, marketing or customer service, while others apply specifically to the sales module.
1. Viewing activities on a calendar or Kanban board
Currently, you can view your activities (e.g., emails, appointments, phone calls and tasks) in a list format. With the new release, you’re able to view them plotted on a calendar or in a Kanban format.
The calendar view is pretty self-explanatory: Your activities are sorted by day and the time of day. You can filter the calendar view by day, week and month. You can also filter by due date and activity type.
Calendar view showing activities for the week
The Kanban view shows your activities in their different states, such as open, completed, canceled and scheduled. It’s useful in that the number at the top lets you see how many open activities you have, how many are upcoming, and how many you’ve completed.
Plus, instead of clicking into the record and marking it complete, in the Kanban view you can now drag and drop it into the completed area or a different status.
Kanban view showing open, completed, canceled and scheduled activities
Overall, the new calendar and Kanban views help improve organization and reduce clicks.
2. Plotting opportunities on a Kanban board
With a new feature that’s specific to the out-of-the-box sales process flow, you can view opportunities in Kanban format. Similar to above with activities sorted into open, completed, canceled and scheduled, you can view opportunities by business process flow stages such as qualify, develop, propose and close. You can drag and drop opportunities into each stage, eliminating the need to click into the record to do so.
Also, the Kanban view includes the estimated revenue dollar amount of all the opportunities added together in each stage, providing an easy, high-level view of the pipeline
— a new feature that Dynamics 365 customers are sure to appreciate.
3. Improved searching capabilities
The new improvements to searching are applicable to all modules of Dynamics 365 on the Unified Interface.
Currently, system views are on top of the view dropdown menu. With the new release, My Views is on top, letting you access your custom, personalized views faster. Within all views, you can access more operators to use for advanced grid filtering. For example, you can now filter a column by begins with, ends with, before dates and after dates, in addition to easy check boxes to select from an option set field.
Microsoft has also improved the quick find search. In the past, quick find wouldn’t search within the view filter criteria but rather searched within the entire entity. Now, it will search specifically within the view. That’s true of any view you’re using and with any filter you’re using.
4. Creating forms in modal dialogue windows
Before this new release, when you clicked on a record, you could only open it in a new tab or go into the record. Now you have the option to open a form in a modal dialogue window, enabling you to have two CRM screens on top of one another. The user can stay anchored on the original record, while editing information in a related record, which greatly improves the user experience and reduces the number of clicks.
Note that although this is automatically enabled in some parts of the system, there may be some initial coding requirements involved to open the main form with an API.
Modal dialogue window
5. Team Member licensing changes
All existing customer organizations instances impacted by this change will automatically be granted an additional grace period until September 30, 2020. As of the release date, Team Members will no longer be able to access the traditional Sales Hub, Customer Service Hub or custom apps in the Unified Interface. However, the new Sales Team Member, Customer Service Team Member and Project Resource Hub apps that are being rolled out can be configured to look like the custom apps to the extent that end users won’t even notice the difference. This will, of course, require back-end work before the deployment date.
Although you can customize the Team Member apps, you can only customize with up to 15 additional entities (CDS core and/or custom entities). If one of your users needs to access more than 15 entities (excluding the ones that will already exist in the team member app by default), you will need to upgrade them to a full license.
All in all, if your organization purchased team member licenses on or after October 2018, it’s best to contact your CRM administrator or partner to see if you need to take action on these new licensing changes.
Customer service and sales team member apps
How to enable the Dynamics 365 CRM release preview
Your Dynamics 365 environment will refresh automatically in April with the new release, so it’s important to not only be aware of the coming changes but also preview them in your development environment. Then you can start experiencing the new features and determine whether it will cause any adverse effects on your environment.
To enable the preview in your development or sandbox environment, go to the NEW Dynamics 365 Administration Center. On the Environments tab, select the name of the environment you want to enable the preview in. In the Updates section, there is a 2020 release wave 1 toggle that is likely set to off. Click Manage and then Update Now to apply the changes. Note that It will take about an hour, depending on how many different applications you have, and the changes cannot be undone.
If you have any questions about the April release, please reach out via this form or contact your Wipfli CRM admin.