Microsoft Forms is a service that allows for the creation of a basic form quickly and easily. Forms are no longer in preview just for educational organisations and are now in preview for everybody with a valid Office 365 Licence, which means we can now look at how this service can fit into the Dynamics 365 stack of technologies as it offers an alternative to other services such as those that are designed to create Landing Pages within Dynamics 365, or produce Surveys, essentially any sort of fast data collection or submitting you want the user to do. (There’s always positives and negatives of course which need to be weighed up with what you want out of the service you choose)
Organisations often request what is called a ‘Customer 360’ view within their CRM systems. This is unfortunately a term which has become overused, misused and actually quite misleading. Feel free to listen to why in one of my YouTube videos (this one) but in short, human beings are not owls, and we cannot consume a large amount of information at any one time.
One of my favourite things about Microsoft Dynamics 365 is that it includes a fantastic xRM platform that enables users to leverage what it can already do but also extend the out of the box system and build alongside and on top of it. With every release since 2013 there has been a huge expansion to the out of the box functionality.
It is fairly regular that you will be navigating the internet to then come across a pop up on the side of your screen asking you if you require assistance. This live support functionality is designed to capture needs right as they happen or very shortly after so if your having a problem, such as not being able to find what your looking for, you can ask immediately without having to email a support ticket and then wait and manage the response.
Training and User Adoption are always popular topics at conferences and events because they are often two of the most difficult parts of a software project to plan for. Training can be done by-the-book however there are a lot of things that depend on good training. This can range from the actual knowledge of the trainer and their approach to cater for different learning styles.
The release of Dynamics 365 at the end of last year saw some new features available for public preview. One of the features in preview is the Cognitive Services integration, currently available in the US. The Cognitive Services APIs are a group of APIs that span across different categories such as vision or text analytics. A large number of them have a Machine Learning component where a model will be created and then adjusted over time based on the data that it feeds upon, however not all of them require this and instead perform computation without having the ‘learning’ ability.
Actions are a type of process within Dynamics CRM/365 that you may or may not have already heard of. They are not as well known as workflows and are viewed as an internal operation rather than something that can be configurable. This mindset could be because we are so used to creating workflows, dialogs, or even plugins that have a starting or ‘trigger’ point, and are so caught up making business logic for those that we forget we can create a component that is in fact, reusable across all of these types of customisation and only have to make it once.
November 2016 saw the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365, which technically includes version 8.2 of Dynamics CRM. With this update came some fantastic pieces of functionality, worthy of their own feature posts at some point in the future which will detail the granular nuts and bolts, instead, this post aims to begin with an overview of what that awesome new functionality is and how steps you can take to get started with each part.
Over the past month I did a video series which was intended to be a ‘Sales 101’ style experience, so for those who are being introduced to the amazing world of Microsoft Dynamics, they can use the videos as a learning companion to get to grips with the basics of the Sales functionality.
I definitely didn’t intend for them to be that long, but then the difficultly lies in the detail – I needed to go into more detail in some areas, so that reflects more in the Lead to Invoice videos for example, compared to the Sales Literature material.
I’ve linked all of the videos below (with #1 being linked above in the post also) I hope they are useful and if you have any questions, please put them in the comments below!
Sales 101 #1 – Accounts, Contacts and the Product Catalog in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Sales 101 #2 – Lead to Invoice in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Sales 101 #3 – Goals and Connections in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Sales 101 #4 – Sales Literature and Activities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Sparkle XRM is a framework which is built to allow you to create complex user interface solutions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM using C# mainly and with very little client side configuration or heavy design work.
Sparkle doesn’t just give you the pre-built code framework to make creating your own so much easier, it even comes with samples for you to try. These are seen as samples but they can be full blown applications for you to use as you want within a live production environment if they fit the need for you or your customer.
There is a large chance that you will have seen the news surrounding the future of CRM Online and the way Microsoft is taking this, which is all surrounding a product called Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 will include CRM, but also a few other applications as well, including what has been referred to as the ‘Common Data Model’ which is the foundation for the intergration and interoperability between those applications. More information can be found here about that, but i’d also recommend you check out the linked blogs by MVP’s Scott and Jukka first to get a good overview.
One of the most highly anticipated releases including in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Update 1 was the introduction of Project Service. The demos and introductions that Microsoft have given us glimpses of in the past 2-3 months have been amazing and really exciting. What is there not to be excited about when there is the pre-made solution available to Dynamics CRM users to be able to quote for and manage projects using tools that provide profitability insights, cost benefit analysis of performing a project at quote stage and resource management (including requests and a live skills matrix) within the system right out of the box?
The CRM 2016 Update 1 release is now available for new Microsoft Dynamics CRM subscriptions or trials. It will also soon be available for existing organisations via the office 365 management portal via ‘Updates’ on the CRM menu. If you have not already, even if you are waiting for an update to be scheduled, I’d recommend you set up a new trial here to experience and play around with the new features of the latest update, because they are super exciting!
There is quite a lot of literature regarding creating Word Templates around now, I touched upon it in my previous post, and the infographic here on twitter. When was I was recently researching a separate blog post, I came across a way to create a Word Template using an out of the box Action and a simple Workflow. From playing around with this, I’ve thought about loads of ideas and solutions that could utilise this functionality and how it can be extended to create things like auto-generated scheduled emails (which are unavailable in CRM Online as they are on Premise), things like Goal leader-board updates and things like that. I’ll be working on some of these in the future and they will feature in some posts coming soon.