Announcing general availability of Dynamics CRM Spring 2016 Wave and new Connected Field Service solution.
Microsoft continues along it’s vision of a”Cloud First – Mobile First” world with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Spring Wave updates. The new updates to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 places more emphasis on intelligent customer engagement with the introduction of :
- Field Service and Project Service Automation
- Portal capabilities for customers, partners and external communities
- Intelligent adaptive processes such as Auto Intent Analysis
Tight integration into Azure Machine Learning, and Azure IoT further extends the Microsoft value proposition as the platform of choice for a future proof investment. This integration allows companies in the field service industry to capture sensor data and pro-actively define new outcome-orientation based service models. Furthermore by capturing and analysing customer data such as reviews and complaints, buying patterns, and season trends, business can identify ways to improve their product/service model and proactively identify customer needs, thus enhancing the customer experience and loyalty.
Simplify the setup of the integration with Dynamics Service Bus and enable cross platform integration and Azure Logic Apps scenarios. Enhance Dynamics CRM’s capability to integrate with Azure Service Bus
Community Portal leverages peer-to-peer interactions between experts in the community, subject matter experts within the organization, and internal and external users. Communities organically grow the catalog of available knowledge from knowledge base articles, forums and blogs. As well as providing feedback mechanisms on content through rating and comments features. Users also have the ability to receive alerts on content revisions and workflow updates.
Marketers can create dynamic lists (queries) that find contacts based on their email interaction history, and then use these lists to target new marketing campaigns. For example, you might create a campaign that targets:
- Prospects who have recently read one of your marketing emails
- Prospects who regularly read your newsletters
- Prospects who read at least three of your marketing emails in the past two months
- Prospects who haven’t opened any of your messages for a long time.
Several-out-of-the-box entities in Dynamics CRM (including Case, Lead, and Opportunity) contain a field that represents a customer, which can either be an Account or a Contact. In CRM, these fields have the Customer data type, which is a special kind of lookup field for these two specific entities. Previously, system customizers couldn’t add a Customer field to their own entities. As part of this feature, Customer is available as a custom field data type that can be added to any entity, system or custom.
Each digital asset stored in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing has a file-properties page that displays a name, preview image, and other metadata. File metadata has been extended to show the URL for the file maintenance page itself, so you can now easily copy and share this URL with collaborators as you develop, prepare, and approve a digital asset for use. If the file is available externally for download (because it is stored in a published library), then the file maintenance page also shows the direct download link.
Just as in Windows, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing stores each digital asset in a folder, which also has a properties page. The folder properties page now shows a link that opens that folder in the file browser (only accessible by authenticated Microsoft Dynamics Marketing users) in addition to the published link (accessible by anonymous users if publishing is enabled for a given folder).
Both types of file and folder URLs are also available via OData.
For security purposes, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing blocks specific file types from being uploaded into its digital asset management system. This helps prevent potentially damaging files (such as scripts or executables) from being uploaded. A default set of file types known to pose significant risk is always blocked, and admins can choose to extend the list of blocked file types as needed.
The graphical, drag-and-drop email editor now provides an extended set of column layouts, including some with non-symmetrical column widths. Create designs that combine a variety of one, two and/or three column layouts of varying widths and styles.
OData feeds enable marketers to create custom reports, spreadsheets, dashboards, and/or apps with access to live Microsoft Dynamics Marketing data. We have expanded the collection of available feeds to provide new types of event data (including equipment requests, equipment bookings, staff, and speaker assignments) and marketing components (such as printed materials).
To help admins troubleshoot problems with OData communications, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing now provides a detailed, downloadable log of OData interactions.
Field service is an end-to-end solution that delivers advanced scheduling, inventory tracking, and asset management for service depots and highly-mobile, in-field specialists fulfilling work orders and providing preventive maintenance across multiple sites under complex service agreements.
- Characteristics and proficiency ratings: You can define proficiency and competency levels and set them as requirements for a work order. Proficiency and competency levels are also part of the worker profile, so you can make an appropriate match when scheduling resources.
- Detached schedule support: Field Service now supports time allocation outside of a work order. For example, a field tech can schedule time for lunch or supply provisioning without having to associate that time with an empty work order.
- Shared resources across Project Service and Field Service: Field Service and Project Service share a resource pool, with resource schedules appearing in both.
- Out-of-the-box business process: A firm handshake between CRM incident management and work orders creates an alignment between these two processes, and if a field service work order originates from a case, the originating case is visually part of that workflow, which spans from case creation through the completion of the work order.
- Mobile enhancements: Drip scheduling enhances and de-clutters the user experience by displaying fewer upcoming work orders. It also improves dispatch control by limiting the number of declined work orders or change requests by field techs.
Field Service is delivered as an add-on product for customers that have upgraded to the latest version (Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1).
Microsoft Social Engagement will be adding support for the following sources:
- Forums/Discussion Boards: Listen for posts and comments from forums and discussion boards.
- Instagram: Listen to posts and comments from Instagram, and monitor specific Instagram accounts.
- Extending blog coverage: Extended coverage on blogs in all available languages beyond the currently available blogs from Tumblr and WordPress.
Facebook pages posts: Faster acquisition of posts due to reduced latency through the new data acquisition of publicly available Facebook page posts and comments.
Microsoft Social Engagement will be adding geolocation support for the following sources, in addition to the location data already available for Twitter and News sources:
- Forums/Discussion Boards: Geolocation of authors will be displayed in Analytics widgets, post lists, and activity maps.
- Instagram & Facebook: Geolocation of authors will be displayed in Analytics widgets, post lists, and activity maps.
In this release, we will introduce a new guided user experience that provides context-sensitive, interactive, and scenario-based guided tasks and sidebars in CRM that are personalized to the user, their life cycle stage, and their role. Whether you are using a trial, have just purchased, or have recently updated your service, in-app guidance helps onboard users quickly, facilitates user adoption of the application, and improves user productivity. We will be delivering in-app guidance to support onboarding, what’s new, and frequent tasks such as lead management in the web and mobile apps.
Intention analysis: To increase team efficiency for sales and service organizations, Microsoft Social Engagement automatically detects intentions in social posts (ex. “Information Request” or “Service Incident”).
Adaptive learning for intentions and tags: To refine the automated detection of intentions and tags we offer adaptive algorithms to our users. This allows for customization of tagging and intention detection based on business requirements. With more and more data points, machine learning will be able to continuously improve its identification of intentions defined by the business.
Additional supported sentiment languages: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese
We’ve made enhancements to the interactive service hub to support more customer service scenarios, provide it a more polished look, and improve its performance.
The enhanced interactive service hub now allows you to:
- Apply SLAs for case and non-case entities (including custom entities)
- Track progress of SLA KPIs with the Timer control
- Remove redundancies between similar cases by merging them into one case
- Support extensibility scenarios using iFrames and web resources on the interactive experience form
- Support for keyboard accessibility and for accessing interactive service hub on the Apple Safari browser
The interactive service hub can now be integrated with the Unified Service Desk allowing users to open and control the interactive service hub pages inside the Unified Service Desk interactive service.
We have added methods that help external systems reactivate contacts and companies that have previously been deactivated, and the status and memo fields for contacts and companies are now exposed to the SDK.
Also included in the enhancements is a new event-registration mechanic that enables developers to integrate an online payment system with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing landing pages. The system includes token-based SDK support, which provides a secure way to integrate an external payment and fulfilment system that requests relevant context data on demand through their authorized SDK communication channel.
The mobile offline capabilities of the Dynamics CRM app initially launched as a preview feature with CRM 2016 will be generally available for CRM Online customers. The new mobile offline capabilities provide a richer offline experience for end users, allowing them to view, update, and add records while using the mobile apps offline–without having to save changes or additions as drafts first. In addition to the general availability, the new mobile offline experience will be enhanced to support conflict detection.
Enable partners to manage opportunities, leads, and deals with a CRM-driven portal that connects to account managers and accelerates business processes and sales. A partner portal allows every organization with resellers, distributors, suppliers, or partners to have real-time access to every stage of shared activities:
- Lead Distribution – Configure intelligent lead distribution based on location, competency and performance.
- Deal Registration – Reduce channel conflict, allocate compensation and track partner performance.
- Opportunity Management – Collaborate with partners on sales opportunities and track real-time status.
- Account Management – Manage new and existing business relationships, permissions and rights to reach deeper within partner organizations.
Portal capabilities from Microsoft are delivered as an add-on product for customers that have upgraded to the latest version (Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1).
This release will introduce the first Microsoft-published* version of portal capabilities for CRM. We will extend CRM to the web to engage an external non-CRM audience by leveraging:
- Profile management capabilities
- Configurable business components
- Rich web content configuration capabilities
- Responsive design for desktop, tablet, and mobile
Customers will purchase portal instances as a CRM add-on in the Office 365 admin center. These portal slots can then be configured to work with their CRM Online instances. The provisioning system will automatically deploy the portal solution to Azure.
*integrating the acquisition of Adxstudio Portals
Project service automation capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM offer an end-to-end solution that empowers organizations to deliver professional engagements on time and within budget.
- Estimate, quote, and contract work
- Plan and assign resources
- Enable team collaboration
- Capture time, expense, progress and financial data
Project-based contracts: Project contracts relate quotes and orders to project plans, financial estimates, labor pricing, and billing arrangements, like time and materials or fixed price. The contract highlights key metrics, including profitability and feasibility.
Project planning: Visual project planning and estimation includes predecessors, automatic task scheduling, and views of sales and cost information. You can use the resulting plan in quotes and project contracts.
Resource management: Resource information includes the skills and proficiencies of your workforce. You can view and filter resources based on skills and availability, so you can assign the right people to the right projects. You can also track resource utilization and forecasting metrics.
Time and expenses: Team members can use the web or mobile apps to record time and expenses for multiple projects. Managers can easily approve new entries while understanding the financial implications of the newly-approved items.
Project billing: Project invoices reflect the terms of the contract and the approved work and expenses. The financial impact of project work, including costs, unbilled revenue, and invoices, is recorded for use in analytics and integration into financial systems.
Project Service automation is delivered as an add-on product for customers that have upgraded to the latest version (Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1).
Insert images in Social Center posts: You will be able to reply with a photo when posting to Facebook and Twitter.
Share any post: You can share any public post in Microsoft Social Engagement as a link on your social profiles.
Other improvements: Layout of posts list is now easier to read on bigger screens. Load times for posts in Analytics and Post details have been reduced significantly.
Portal capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online as an add-on offering. Portals allows organizations to extend their Dynamics CRM Online engagement scenarios with self-service profile management capabilities and configurable design components. Portal capabilities are designed using modern web standards with a responsive design for use on any desktop, tablet, or mobile device.
Out-of-the-box portal solutions include:
- Customer portal enables customers to access self-service knowledge and support resources, increasing customer satisfaction, reducing call center volumes, and ultimately allowing service agents to focus their efforts on issues of greatest impact.
- Employee portal creates an efficient and well-informed workforce by streamlining common tasks and empowering every employee with a definitive source of knowledge. Employee self-service is now available worldwide using CRM and portal capabilities, and is available in all CRM Online markets.
Portal capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM empower the 84% majority who prefer to find answers on their own through self-service and community options.
Portal capabilities from Microsoft are delivered as an add-on product for customers that have upgraded to the latest version (Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1).
You can use server-side sync to automatically synchronize email, tasks, appointments, and contacts between CRM and Microsoft Exchange. With this release, you can connect CRM on-premises with Microsoft Exchange Online. You can also manually track emails by using CRM App for Outlook, folder tracking, or CRM for Outlook.
Field Service and Project Service share a resource pool, and the time scheduled for shared resources appears in both. Project Service has the additional capability to schedule indeterminate blocks of time for resources, such as 30%.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs), at present, can only be created for the Case entity. With this enhancement, SLAs can be created for custom entities as well.
Automation Rules: Automatically link posts matching your filter criteria to CRM entities such as cases and leads. Combine this with intention analysis to set up an automated triage process. For example, automatically identify and route customer issues on social media to your service department as cases.
Social CRM Enhancements: Linking social posts to CRM entities is smoother without authentication pop-ups. Intentions and custom tags are now included in the additional parameters of the Social Activity entity for building more powerful record creation and update rules. Error handling is improved with clearer and more precise messaging.
In this release, we’re offering Windows Update support for the Unified Service Desk client. Windows Update is an easy, free way to help keep Microsoft applications, like the Unified Service Desk client, safer and running smoothly. All you have to do is turn it on, and you’ll get the latest security and other important updates from Microsoft automatically, or you can choose to apply them manually.