New Features and Products in the Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 Release

The latest Microsoft Dynamics 365 update for Spring 2018 has been released and continues the process of innovation in the areas of intelligence and transformation.

Digital Feedback Loop

For the launch, James Phillips, Corporate Vice President of the Microsoft Business Applications Group, gave a presentation on the concept of the digital feedback loop.

The center of the loop consists of data on customers and how they interact with your company brand. It grows when customers reference your brand on social media, browse your company websites, visit any physical stores you may have, and interact your employees. This information is becoming increasingly connected and can be analyzed for ways to better support your customers, refine the interaction between your employees and customers, and improve the products or services you provide. The analysis of this data makes up the intelligence layer. The output of transformative changes emits into the areas of customer, people, and products. The response to these changes returns as more data, creating the feedback loop.

Dynamics 365 is designed and built around the data and intelligence layers of the digital feedback loop to allow your organization to better manage customer data and provide the tools to implement the intelligence in using it. The Spring 2018 release brings new major business process application changes and features.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

This new automation modules add major features for improving the interaction between your organizations marketing teams and customers. It has a deep focus on rich content and goes beyond just emails and websites with the ability to create multi-level marketing campaigns and drive customer journeys. To read more about customer journeys in Dynamics 365 for Marketing, please see my blog post here.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for the Sales Professional

A new streamlined version of the sales applications for the light duty sales professional includes sales force automation and improved opportunity and customer management. This module provides the same features as the full version but with some customization limitation and is intended as a cost-effective solution for small sales teams. As company needs grows, the license can be upgraded to full Dynamics 365 licenses.

Dynamics App for Outlook

The long awaited and significantly improved Dynamics 365 for Outlook integration is now available and begins the gradual transition away from the legacy Dynamics add-in. It provides the new unified interface and support for the Outlook web and mobile applications. Microsoft received a significant amount of feedback on the prior limited preview releases of this application and has made significant improvements. Microsoft has also announced they will continue to provide the legacy add-in until all features and functions are fully implemented in the new application.

Embedded Intelligence

This is the release of the feature previously name Relationship Insights that was available for preview. It is primarily tied to Outlook and has three main features:

Relationship Assistant – Helps sales users stay up-to-date on customer interaction tasks such as emails, questions, meetings, follow-ups. These alerts appear as cards with additional information to allow for updating the Exchange calendar and sending email responses.

Auto capture with Outlook – This feature performs an analysis of emails to find messages that are relevant to specific accounts and then lets users tracks them on Dynamics 365 with just a single click.

Email engagement – Provides insights from customer emails which sellers can use to prioritize their most receptive contacts.

Common Data Service

The Common Data Service (CDS) is an ongoing evolution of how customizations access and manipulate data through Dynamics 365. It includes the legacy XRM framework to maintain backward compatibility while making the full power of the Dynamics 365 platform available to PowerApps, PowerBI and Office 365 through the Common Data Service for Apps. CDS isn’t just for software developers making customization, but also for non-development customizations and content created by end users in the Dynamics 365 modules. The transition to CDS lays the foundation for new applications that will be introduced in the Fall 2018 release.

PowerApps

The changes to CDS now allow PowerApps full access to Dynamics 365 platform interface and open the door for new PowerApps features and capabilities along with a new model-driven application type. Model-drive applications are logic based applications with no user interface that run on the server side to perform actions in response to entity data changes and workflow execution.

Some of the new capabilities for PowerApps are:

  • Business Process Flows that model the stages of a process and guides users through them.
  • Improved security model that allows for hierarchy and row level security.
  • Calculated fields that use server side logic functions to compute output values.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a new product that replaces and combines Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations Business Edition and Dynamics NAV together as a single product.

This new combined product offers a new user interface along with support for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, Common Data Service, and PowerBI.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integration

Dynamics 365 for Sales has improved integration with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator adding additional company detail data and a dashboard with profile pictures.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The Spring 2018 version will feature updates to all Dynamics 365 products and modules to meeting the requirements of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

To help analyze and meet requirements, the Spring 2018 release includes a revised Compliance Manager application which covers GDPR, ISO 27001 and ISO 27018 obligations.

Features of Compliance Manager include:

Microsoft Managed Controls – Provides information on controls that Microsoft has implemented as a cloud service provider and verified by third party auditors.

Customer Managed Controls – Provides information on the controls that have been are related to the articles of the GDPR for customers to review and implement. It allows for tracking the actions and progress teams implementing GDPR compliance.

Compliance Score – A risk-based score that provides a quick at-a-glance progress scores of the current state of compliance.

Microsoft has a fifteen minutes video available called “Preparing for GDPR” which provides insight into protecting information across platforms and services. It available for viewing here.

For information on tools and auditing please check the Microsoft Trust Center here.

Use Microsoft Compliance Manager to get insights into your responsibilities for meeting compliance standards.

Dynamics 30 Day Trial

Your organization can sign up for a 30-day trial of Microsoft Dynamics 365 online. The process for this can vary depending on if you are a current customer and information on what steps are necessary to sign-up for a trial period for are available on this page.

Trials start on the date the account is activated and may only be done one per organization so it’s best to choose a time that allows for people to review everything Dynamics 365 has to offer. A short video on how you can get the most out of your trail period is available here.

Need Help?

A good Dynamics Partner like KTL Solutions has the knowledge and experience to help with migration, deployment, customization development, and support for Dynamics 365. KTL Solutions understands that every organization is unique with its challenges and needs.  Our experience working with hundreds of clients will provide best practices, recommend improvements, and software customizations you need to help your business succeed.

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