In my previous post, I wrote a short recap of my experience during the eXtreme365 event in Dubrovnik in March 2018. In this article, I will tell you more about the new functionalities of Dynamics 365 and which of them are really exciting for me. So, here they are:
Customization Maze – CDS and PowerApps on the Spotlight
Ever since I started working with CRM on version 2011, I have been using the solutions in the same manner as always – create and manage, then transmit solutions. Nowadays, the solution explorer has shifted from CRM to Common Data Service (CDS) and PowerApps explicitly. CDS for Apps allows for a secure way to manage and operate with the data that is being used by customer’s business applications. The data within CDS for Apps is stored within a set of entities – like how a table stores data within a database.
CDS for Apps includes a set of standard entities, covering distinctive business scenarios, but custom entities specific to an organization can also be created and populated with the data via Power Query. PowerApps can be used further to build rich applications using this data.
But why is CDS for Apps such a big thing? Well, here is a list of most some of the most beneficial aspects:
- Easy to manage, share and secure data
- Rich metadata with embedded server-side logic and validation capabilities
- Accessibility and productivity tools allowing for entity interactivity
- Developer capabilities
Dynamics 365 App for Outlook
In the beginning of 2018 Microsoft announced that they’re working into bridging the gap between Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, Dynamics 365 and Outlook integration, and last but not least – the Outlook Add-in Dynamics 365 for Outlook. With the latest updates on server-side synchronization and Dynamics 365 App for Outlook the process has been initiated.
Basically, the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is an Exchange Online Add-in that provides client-side view of the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement data within Outlook. The App allows for omnichannel utilization as it can be used while working with Outlook on the desktop, web or mobile device.
Here is a table that summarizes the differences between the App for Outlook and legacy Outlook Client:
|Feature||App for Outlook||Outlook Client|
|Track and set regarding for email, appointment, contacts||Yes||Yes|
|Track and set regarding for tasks||No||Yes|
|One click set regarding||Yes||No|
|Shows the regarding record summary in the email/appointment||Yes||No|
|Open and create Microsoft Dynamics 365 record directly||Yes||Yes|
|Apply custom forms and business logic||Yes||Yes|
|Apply email templates, sales literature, KB articles||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to monitor emails after sending||Yes||No|
|Sort, filter, format, group, and categorize views||No||Yes|
|Create Word mail-merge documents||No||Yes|
Sales Navigator for LinkedIn
With the introduction of the Sales Navigator for LinkedIn a few months ago, there is now the capability to integrate an entire daily sales and relationships workflow, as it shows essential information on leads, accounts, contacts directly on a record. It provides a streamlined and enhanced social selling strategy by importing LinkedIn Profile data and sales activities into Dynamics 365. Some of the very useful features include InMail and Lead Recommendations Sales Navigator features, which can be accessed directly from Dynamics 365.
Unified Customer Interface
The Unified Customer Interface is the new metadata driven client interface, designed to provide a consistent experience for users despite the device they are using. It involves an accessible, uniform user interface with responsive design principles for optimal viewing on any screen size or device. Whether one is on a browser, tablet or phone – they will be able to consume similar experiences.
The 7 Deadly Sins of CRM Development
From the CRM projects I’ve worked on, evaluated, proposed, and completed, I’ve seen a set of common prerequisites for project failure. Yet, when it comes to development, I was yet fascinated with the presentation by a couple of speakers from Denmark focusing entirely on CRM development. What is more, they also provided solutions of every noted issue. Great experience!
GDPR in a Nutshell
One of the topics that was widely discussed throughout the entire event was the General Data Protection Regulation a.k.a. GDPR and its implications on business operations. One thing is certain – the Wild Wild West Days of CRM are gone! There’s a new sheriff in town, and he goes by the initials G.D.P.R., as one of the partners put it.
However, there is more to that. As consultants involved in business processes re-engineering, we focus on Business Processes, but what is a Business Process without correct data? What is the type of data that is necessary to perform a process? Is it just the specific, transactional, factual set of data or is it more to it? I think we all know the answer.
The starting point is that organizations need to be transparent about what data they collect, how they collect it, and what they do with it. Then, they need to acquire a legitimate foundation for processing of personal data a.k.a. “Consent”.
Then, we need to understand the key changes introduced by the new sheriff, some of which are:
- Individuals have the right to personal privacy, involving:
- Access their personal data
- Correct errors in their personal data
- Erase their personal data
- Object to processing of their personal data
- Export personal data
- Organizations – with the help of controls and notifications, transparent policies, IT and training, are required to:
- Protect personal data using appropriate security
- Notify authorities of personal data breaches
- Obtain appropriate consents for processing data
- Keep records detailing data processing
- Provide clear notice of data collection
- Outline processing purposes and use cases
- Define data retention and deletion policies
- Train privacy personnel and employees
- Audit and update data policies
- Employ a Data Protection Officer (if required)
- Create and manage compliant vendor contracts
But wait – there is more!
- New Force Entering the Marketing: eXtreme365 had a surprise visit of 50 students from the Marketing department of the University of Zagreb! As part of the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance, these students are currently using Microsoft Dynamics D365 (CRM) as part of their curriculum. Such a brilliant idea to inspire young students enter the Microsoft Dynamics world!
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Professionals: streamlined, automation capabilities are further aiming for strengthening and flexibility is a given.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing: Focused on companies that go beyond simple direct mailing, the app promises to deliver efficiency. Built on the same platform, this app aims to close the gap between marketing and sales departments for good this time.
- PowerBI: Insights apps will be infusing intelligence to deliver standard insights across sales, marketing, service, operations, talent, and basically any Dynamics365 app. There is also a new tool that enhances the process of configuring additional entities before setting up a new Power BI Embedded development environment
- IoT and Field Service: I was fascinated with the session “Integrating Advanced AI in Dynamics 365 Field Service: Live Demo and How To”. The demo showed a Field Service technician who took a picture of a part that needed repair. The empowered AI tool managed to identify the part on its own from the picture and then matched it to the list of parts. Great capabilities!
Women in Technology
As a participant in eXtre365 Lisbon 2017 I was lucky enough to take part in an elaborate discussion around the topic whether or not there is a need of a “Women in Technology” track within eXtreme365. The answer was yes!
This year, with around 40 women, we had an interactive luncheonette with an impressive panel made up of some inspiring women – Cecilia Flombaum, Marianne Roling, Boglárka Blahut, Maria Fonsell, and Linda Rose with Chris Clark as panel moderator.
They all shared their personal experiences of being efficiently mentored, breaking through any glass ceilings posed upon then, while learning how to overcome boundaries that some women impose on themselves. They also shared practices to more confident as women entering the IT market.
Extreme365 in Dubrovnik 2018 turned out to be the scene for better understanding Digital Transformation from Microsoft’s perspective, elaborating on partners readiness, capacity, and involvement, and the ever-growing role of women in the world of Information Technology.
All in all, it was a wonderful event with tons of content. I took away a feeling of urgency to shift directions, stop doing what we’ve been doing so far (working with CRM solutions, creating workflows, using plugins, etc.) and start thinking more Azure.
Looking forward to eXtreme365 EMEA in 2019,