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24 August 2021 Marwin Hogeterp

The 6 most important functionalities of the Release Wave 2 (2021)

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The holidays are behind us for many of us and that means that a new (major) release of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform is coming soon. This is always an exciting and fun time for us as consultants: it offers us new functionalities, which we can apply when solving problems from our customers.

For those who are not yet aware of these six-monthly updates from Microsoft: there are two release waves per year, after which the updates are rolled out in the systems over a limited period. These updates apply to both Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform, where you can immediately see the connection between these different apps. In the past, the additions of functionalities were mainly aimed at the individual applications, but nowadays many extensions are applied to make the apps work better and more integrated with each other.

If we look at Release Wave 2, hundreds of new functionalities have been added for the various applications. These are always displayed in a 370 page PDF file. To make it easier for you, I will highlight the (for me) 6 most important new functionalities from this Release Wave.

 

1. Further integration of Dynamics 365 with MS Teams

One of the main focus points from the Microsoft development team is the further integration between Dynamics 365 and MS Teams. For some time now, it has been possible to link your Dynamics 365 records to MS Teams. This makes collaboration between you and your team members much easier by displaying substantive Dynamics 365 data in MS Teams (for example, to close sales deals more easily).

This link is further expanded with even more options, such as the option to create MS Teams meetings from the activities in Dynamics 365. It’s also possible to attend MS Teams meetings due to a new button in Dynamics 365.

To improve the integration even more, Microsoft has ensured that you can take notes in MS Teams during an MS Teams meeting, whereby these notes are automatically synchronized with the linked Dynamics 365 record.

The last functionality is the @mention that Microsoft has built into the timeline. When you appoint someone with an @mention in the Dynamics 365 timeline, a notification is automatically sent to the user’s chat in Microsoft Teams.

 

2. Mobile App Sales

Another previously announced update for Dynamics 365 Sales users is the new Sales mobile app. With the new mobile Sales app it is possible to quickly scan business cards or to scan handwritten notes and have them translated into digital texts.

It has always been a wish to immediately create another activity after a phone call. This was possible, but you had to leave the phone activity and you could not link the new activity to the old one. Our wish has now been granted: you can now create a new activity, right after your call in the phone activity. In addition, Microsoft has added the option in this new app to add your contacts to Dynamics 365 and vice versa. Super convenient!

 

3. Voice channel through Azure Communication Services

Within the Customer Service module of Dynamics 365, there are also plenty of new functionalities, in which an important role is played by the extensive collaboration between Dynamics 365 and MS Teams.

One of the updates in the Customer Service is a solution for a new voice channel, where there are no more fragmentations of manual data integration. With the new solution on top of the Azure Communication Services (which also runs MS Teams), it is possible to record incoming calls and start outgoing calls with an out-of-the-box solution from Microsoft for Omnichannel, but also manage of incoming and outgoing SMS messages is now possible. This was already possible, but this always required several (often self-made) solutions to achieve this.

 

4. Bring your own data into the Customer Service timeline

Another great new functionality within Dynamics 365 Customer Service is the possibility to import your own data within the timeline. This gives the employee a better 360-degree customer view of what exactly happened around a case. The data used in the timeline always had to be stored in Dataverse (the database on which Dynamics 365 runs). The data that is not stored in Dataverse, but that is needed to display the complete interaction history of the case, can be represented via a new virtual data model.

 

5. Advanced search capabilities within Model-Driven Apps

When using Dynamics 365 it is always necessary to make connections from one entity to another. This can be done, for example, by adding contacts to that one company or project. You use lookup fields to match the right people to the right company. In the new Unified Interface, which has been around for a while now, you had the option to search from one fixed view. In this update, Microsoft has added a new ‘Advanced View’ to make it even easier to select the correct record. The search in is therefore shown on a more suitable display. As a user, you therefore receive more information so that you really select the correct record.

When the ‘Advanced Lookup’ is pressed, a more readable search view is shown.

 

6. Using the offline module of Model-Driven apps

It was already possible to use the offline options within a Model-Driven app, but you always had to perform several actions before you could really use it. You had to set up the Model-Driven app for offline use, create the offline profiles in the admin portal and then link them together. Microsoft has made this a lot easier by converting a so-called ‘toggle switch’ for offline use. An offline profile is now automatically created and assigned to all users who are allowed to use the Model-driven app (via the security roles)

And now?

In any case, I look forward to all the new updates coming. Do you have any questions about my favorite updates or do you want to know how we can help you optimize your systems? Then please contact me! Mail to marwin.hogeterp@dynamicpeople.com or call +31 20 30 32 47 0 and maybe we’ll have a (digital) coffee soon!