The next a major release of Dynamics 365 is scheduled to begin in October 2018 with an impressive number of new features and functionality that will have big impacts on productivity and business process as organizations continue the journey to digital transformation. In this post we’ll introduce a few of the exciting and impactful items that are going to be a part of this release and share the potential impact each will have on vital business functions.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales is going to get an update to the existing integration with LinkedIn. This update will combine LinkedIn Sales Navigator controls with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Process Flows. The powerful result is the ability to feed LinkedIn Sales Navigator data like company size, industry, contact titles, etc into Dynamics to actively update account and contact details during any standard or customer Dynamics Business Process Flow. Any exciting feature of this deeper integration with LinkedIn is the ability to access the first, second and LinkedIn TeamLink connection lists of your contacts, creating the opportunity for warm introductions to new contacts.
- Improve CRM data accuracy
- Make new LinkedIn connections through your existing network’s contact lists
- Speed up your sales cycle with warm introductions and relevant conversation starters
Connect a Microsoft Teams Channel to a Dynamics 365 record. This new integration between Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams will allow fast moving sales people to communicate and collaborate in real time with other team members using continuous chat sessions, document sharing and co-authoring capabilities across both platforms.
- Organized and faster communication between sales teams and project teams
- Easily access previous Teams chat conversations on a specific account within the Dynamics 365 record
- Centralized document storage and sharing within the Dynamics 365 record or the Microsoft Teams channel assigned to it
Quick Actions is a new machine learning based functionality within the Dynamics 365 notes feature that suggests next actions to take with a client. The tool leverages a combination of customizable rules set by the user and an analysis of previous actions the user has taken to make intelligent suggestions for next steps such as, creating a task or appointment.
- Forecast account behavior to speed up the sales cycle
- Establish best practice process and use it to increase close rates
- Eliminates lag based on indecision
Dynamics 365 Predictive Lead Scoring is another new sales-enablement function being introduced to Dynamics 365 through machine learning. This functionality will rank leads on a scale of 1 to 100 based on their likelihood of becoming an opportunity. By observing trends of existing accounts, contacts and opportunities in Dynamics 365, Azure Machine Learning can begin to predict a lead’s journey through the sales cycle and forecast the propensity of each new contact to move through the journey based on the attributes of the lead and related records. Organizations can customize and fine tune the Predictive Lead Scoring tool by selecting or de-selecting key ranking signals.
- Estimate lead quality based on past experiences and insights gathered from Dynamics 365
- Focus on leads with highest propensity to convert for more efficient prospecting efforts
- Guide sales decisions based on past successes with historical CRM data analysis
The new Dynamics 365 AI for Sales app is a powerful tool that will leverage artificial intelligence to help sales teams and business leaders gain deeper insight into sales performance and trends. The goal of the app is to make it easier to evaluate and improve sales teams and individuals by integrating relationships analytics. Key results include AI-powered churn management and pipeline forecasting that leverages the relationship health scores already calculated from Exchange email and calendar data. These insights can be visualized through a new sales dashboard/home page that also allows users to ask natural language questions make more confident, data-backed decisions and forecasts on an individual or team basis.
- Sales managers and individuals gain a deeper look at their overall sales process
- Make more confident sales decisions based on previous losses and wins
- Fine tune sales process and marketing efforts based on past sales timeline analysis
- Identify unusually delayed sales processes and steps in the process with the highest rate of loss
Account-based marketing is a new capability in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing that will allow users to market to individual accounts as a single unit. This increasingly-popular business-to-business (B2B) approach aligns sales and marketing to eliminate waste and target accounts with the highest propensity to produce revenue. With the new release, Dynamics 365 can now assist users in identifying those high-value opportunities and suggest target accounts based on machine learning analysis of data trends.
- Map marketing activities to account strategies
- Increase marketing ROI with campaign focus on accounts most likely to produce revenue
- More accurately tailor and segment marketing initiatives
- Identify key stakeholders within highest-value accounts
Social Listening in Microsoft Dynamics 365 will give marketers the power to monitor their prospective and current clients social media activities and combine that data with other digital marketing data for comprehensive, multi-channel marketing insights into their target audience. Using this new module, marketers identify and monitor key terms and phrases that could indicate pain points, challenges and topics of interest for their target audience within the associated Dynamics 365 record(s). The new Social Listening dashboard tracks frequency of use and general sentiment around those words and phrases and also identifies other social users who could have influence on the topics of interest to your target audience. Dynamics 365 Social Listening gathers this data in real-time and presents it in an easy-to-use dashboard that gives marketers an overall social picture of an account, contact or lead that they can use to fine tune their messaging and approach.
- Track multi-channel sentiment for your organization
- Data-backed strategy adjustments for better conversions
- Learn more about your target audience and to help you can engage them
Microsoft 365 is also beefing up its Dynamics 365 for Marketing and LinkedIn integration with this update. New integration features will only intensify the already powerful combination of the networking power of LinkedIn and the business productivity and process automation power of Dynamics 365 to provide an intelligent system for generating higher-quality leads and driving higher-value sales. In addition to the ability to generate leads from LinkedIn networks, the integration will now enable LinkedIn to feed information about a target account or contact into Dynamics 365 to strengthen lead scoring and segmentation with new data and better identify high-value leads. These LinkedIn integration improvements combined with the new machine learning functionality for Dynamics 365 will exponentially increase marketing efficiency and effectiveness using advanced technology-driven insights that have never been available before.
- Integrate Dynamics 365 segments with LinkedIn audience matching to find new audiences
- Automatically trigger actions when LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms are submitted
- Analyze LinkedIn results in Dynamics 365
Customer ServiceNew Release:
In Microsoft’s Business Applications October ’18 release, Dynamics 365 is getting omni-channel functionality to enable live chat and SMS texting capabilities through the Omni-Channel Engagement Hub. Customer service users can now interact with customers directly using chat or SMS texting from inside their Dynamics 365 platform. These SMS and chat conversations will also be stored to generate historical data that can be used in developing future reporting metrics for new or improved dashboards. Customer service teams can now provide a seamless customer experience across various touchpoints while gaining efficiency and productivity working from a single source of information in a unified interface.
- Consistent customer support across all channels
- Instant connection and engagement with customers
- Originate, record and analyze all customer service communications in Dynamics 365
- Track cross-channel KPIs
- Real-time insight into agent operational efficiency and utilization
The Microsoft Text Analytics APIs feature will be updated during the October release to arm customer service agents with faster access to previous case information and knowledge articles for a significant impact on operational efficiency and customer experience. Dynamics 365 is now able to analyze previous cases and serve up those that may be relevant to guide an agent in resolving an issue. For additional support, Dynamics 365 agents will now also have contextual articles that are relevant to the customer issue they are attempting to resolve at their fingertips. This fast and intelligent access to relevant information and case history will help agents of all experience levels better support your customers and increase their case capacity to reduce operational costs.
- Leverage successful resolution steps across the organization
- Reduce reliance on experienced agenda and subject matter experts
- Resolve issues faster with less resources
Customers and PartnersNew Release:
One update that is said to have been the top-voted user submitted ideas is the integration of Power BI and the Dynamics 365 Portal. This exciting new feature gives Dynamics 365 users the ability to display Power BI charts and dashboards via an integrated portal to those outside their organization without a Power BI account. Previously Power BI only integrated directly with the Dynamics 365 front end user interface so that only those users inside the organization could gain insight into company data. However, this release allows the high-quality and interactive Power BI visuals from an organization’s account to flow through to an integrated portal and display the same or specially designed charts and dashboards to customers or others outside the organization through the Dynamics 365 Portal.
- Display Dynamics 365-based Power BI dashboards outside of Dynamics 365
- Give access to others outside your organization who may benefit from the data you collect
- Create custom dashboards tailored to a specific external audience
Dynamics 365 adds SharePoint as another high value integration with their portal functionality. Organizations can now provide access to and collaborate on documents with stakeholders outside their org even if the stakeholder isn’t a Dynamics 365 user. Portal users will be able to add documents, view and download documents, create folders and delete documents all within a related SharePoint site. Since SharePoint is the go-to document depository for Dynamics 365 users, the ability for non-Dynamics 365 users to interact with shared documents via the portal allows organizations to maintain a single source for document sharing and collaboration and maximize the return on their document management investments.
- Enable seamless collaboration with a larger audience
- Share documents visible stakeholders outside the organization
- Configure file and folder access for specific audiences
Dynamics 365 for Talent is a fairly new module and growing quickly in popularity with recruiters so in the October Business Applications Release, Microsoft is continuing to expand on this with streamlined and innovative applicant tracking system (ATS) capabilities. One of the next additions to the Attract , a Talent product, will allow recruiting professions to further streamline the candidate acquisition process using Azure Machine Learning and valuable integrations into LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Office 365 and Core HR. Dynamics 365 users will now be able to create and manage systematically curated private or shared talent pools of candidates from leading employment websites based suggestions from Azure Machine Learning and selected criteria.
- Manage the talent acquisition process from start to finish directly within Dynamics 365
- Use Dynamics 365 as a single source for all organizational data and business processes including recruitment
- Leverage Dynamics 365 automation with Azure Machine Learning and candidate data from major online employment sites to increase the size and quality of your talent pool
The enhancement of the Onboarding module of Dynamics 365 for Talent with the October release will help HR professionals streamline and standardize the onboarding process for new employees. With this new tool, onboarding can follow a template process flow in Dynamics 365 for new employees to complete checkable lists and ensure each step of the process is fulfilled for every new hire. The tool allows you to create onboarding teams to coordinate training, resource deployment and benefits. Another great perk is generalized templates that can be centrally managed and dynamically updated to eliminate manual updates, customize guides and automatically alert recipients when new content is available for review.
- Integrate department/team onboarding with admin onboarding for an efficient, collaborative and modern experience
- Use Power BI to measure the effectiveness of your onboarding content
- Use Dynamics 365 as a single source for all organizational data and business processes including onboarding
- Create a consistent onboarding process for all new employees to hasten and optimize new employee productivity
These are only a few of the exciting updates Microsoft is making to continue pushing the boundaries of business productivity technology to meet modern workplace demands and prepare for future market changes. Other updates will have significant impact on other areas of business like finance, operations and HR, the retail industry and general tasks all modern business leaders struggle with today including mobile app development, business analytics, data integration, workflow automation and much more. A full list of updates as well as more details on the ones we have summarized here, can be found in Microsoft’s Business Applications Release Notes- October 2018.
Valorem is a digital strategy and business transformation firm passionate about helping enterprises modernize their workplace and maximize their technology investments. Valorem Business Solutions help you develop a roadmap to cloud technologies that is guided by a holistic digital strategy and rooted in user experience, change management and security best practices. For business efficiency benefits like the ones discussed in this article, a Dynamics 365 Proof of Concept is a great way to identify tangible business outcomes that drive returns from your Microsoft Cloud investments.