It’s that time of the year when Dynamics 365 gets a myriad of enhancements across its sales, marketing, finance, and support applications. The first plan of the new Dynamics 365 features for this year is out – the April 2020 release plan – and it’s imperative for you to know how you can use them to improve your organisational outcomes. 

The 400-page long release plan can be a pain to go through; and while we do suggest that it is worth digging into, we are happy to fill you in on the major announcements.  

Here’s our first rundown on what we thought were the best picks of Microsoft’s new April 2020 Release Plan for Dynamics 365: 

What’s New in Sales:

1. Predict Accurate Sales Forecasts and Uncover Top Deals

With predictive forecasting, Sales Managers can make reliable sales forecasts to accurately predict the return in value. You can set more realistic sales goals by considering both historical as well as existing pipeline data provided by Dynamics 365 Sales Insights. 

improve and adjust sales forecast accuracy wave 1 release plan
Improve and adjust sales forecast accuracy (Source: Microsoft)

Meanwhile, the new pipeline prediction feature – with its powerful, data-driven insights – steers your engagement towards the leads most likely to convert and opportunities most likely to be won. Dynamics 365 Sales brings faster performance and accurate forecasting abilities to drive your customer engagements. 

2. Manage Opportunities Intuitively with the New “Kanban” View  

Managers want to be able to move opportunities from one stage to the other in a flash. A sophisticated card-like view called “Kanban” takes it to another level as the sales team can simply drag the opportunity card between stages. The Kanban board provides a broader view of the opportunity pipeline and is equally easier to switch to and from the existing “grid” view.

new kanban view for opportunities wave 1 release plan
New “Kanban” View for Opportunities (Source: Microsoft)

3. Stay on Top of Your Activities: Ensure No Task Goes Unchecked 

Keep your team productive and organised with a pro-active task management process. A new calendar-like view helps you stay on top of all your activities – create, assign, and manage – to ensure the tasks are completed on time. Find, navigate, and update your activities intuitively through easy activity management. 

improved activity management
Improved Activity Management (Source: Microsoft)

4. Understand Your Customers Better with AI-driven “Conversation Intelligence” 

Take advantage of the new AI-powered Conversation Intelligence feature as it automatically analyses the content, sentiment, and the behaviour of a customer to help you predict the success or failure of a deal.  

Customer satisfaction is more important today than ever; and with the Conversation Intelligence feature, you’ll get deeper insights into your customer’s view towards your brand or services. 

AI powered conversation intelligence
AI-powered “Conversation Intelligence” (Source: Microsoft)

What’s New in Marketing: 

1. Export Campaign Performance Reports for Historical Analysis

You can export the campaign performance insights directly from the system into an excel file for future reference. Over time, this historical data should be useful in identifying measures and setting benchmarks for successful campaigns in the future. 

2. Design Visually Stunning Email Templates that Appeal to the Customers

Dynamics 365 Marketing gets even more focus on personalisation and visual flair when it comes to email messages. Marketers can breathe life into potentially mundane email templates with features like adding background images to email layouts, designing templates with rounded corners, and custom preheaders. 

You can now customise the email messages in a way that appeals to the customers using personalised content and rich designs. Moreover, you can identify and avoid potential errors by testing emails thoroughly before they go out.

enhanced email designer interface wave 1 release plan
Enhanced Email Designer Interface (Source: Microsoft)

3. Plan Your Events Better with Built-In or Embedded Forms 

Event planners can now spend less time on form customisation and more time planning the actual event. Event registration forms can now be built within minutes using a drag-and-drop interface in Dynamics 365 Marketing. Interestingly, it also supports forms embedded from a third-party Content Management System (CMS) which helps you keep your options.

What’s New in Customer Service: 

1. Provide Seamless Customer Support through Extended Social Channels (WhatsApp, LINE, Twitter…)

Customer Service teams can now offer seamless support to customers across a variety of social channels, instead of having to communicate through emails or phone calls. Dynamics 365 Customer Service supports communication through WhatsApp, Twitter, WeChat, LINE, and even Microsoft Teams, allowing your team to engage with customers right where they are. If a customer raises an issue via a social channel, it can automatically be treated as a case in Dynamics 365. 

With a third-party remote assistance application installed across both sides (customer and partner), agents will also be able to address customer’s issues by remotely accessing their devices.

2. Capture Important Case Details to Tackle Issues with Ease

Businesses need to characterise a case after it’s resolved and stay on top of the issue to easily tackle it in the future. Managers can now recognise and document the patterns in recurring issues with the help of a customisable case resolution dialog box. 

3. Improve Productivity of Agents with Easy-to-Access Knowledge Articles

With an improved layout – and the ease of search, read, and access – agents will be able to search the knowledge articles much more efficiently during common case resolution. As the knowledge articles to common issues are only a few clicks away, agents can spend more time focusing on resolving urgent, complex issues. 

4. Quickly Access Customer Service Hub App in the New User Experience

You will be able to access the Customer Service Hub App directly from the navigation sidebar, as a part of the new update for Dynamics 365 interface. The user experience will be much smoother as the Customer Service Hub app will be available by default. 

access customer service hub from navigation pane
Access Customer Service Hub from Navigation Pane (Source: Microsoft)

What’s New in Field Service: 

1. Manage Resources Expertly with Work Hours Calendar and Scheduling Dashboard

Managers need to keep their resources in check as they play a key role in service operation. It is now easier and more convenient to set work hours for resources with the new interface for work hours calendar. 

You will also be able to monitor the performances of your resources with out-of-the-box KPI tracking abilities of Dynamics 365 Field Service. Use these insights in the effective utilisation of your resources and to evaluate their performance in the long run. 

2. Automate Your Business Processes with Power Automate

Since Power Automate (previously, Microsoft Flows) integrates directly with Field Service, you can now automate your work processes faster and better. 

3. Technician Time Tracking Made Better with Field Service and Project Service Automation

Time entries in Field Service and Project Service Automation will now go hand-in-hand. This implies that it will be more convenient for resource heads to track the cost of support and return in value. Regardless of whether you use Field Service or Project Service Automation or both, time entries between the two will effortlessly be in sync. 

What’s New in Business Central 

1. Auto-insert Recurring Sales and Purchase Lines into Purchase Orders

Dynamics 365 Business Central gives you the option to set predefined sales and purchase lines. These will get automatically inserted into the recurring purchase orders. 

2. Get Notified on an Approval Request Every Step of the Way

After an approval request is made, the requester will now be kept in check of the request status while it is processed faster than ever. With the help of approval workflow, you will not miss a thing as instant notifications will be triggered back in every step of the process.  

3. Guide New Users with an Improved Onboarding Experience

Users new to Dynamics 365 will quickly get familiar with Business Central because of the improved onboarding experience. New walkthroughs have been added to help kickstart the user journey, setup crucial processes, and give them an idea of Business Central’s capabilities. 

The industry-leading business suite prepares to get loaded with powerful improvements and advanced capabilities. Businesses will now benefit even more from Dynamics 365’s focus on productivity, user experience, and more importantly – results. 

Release Dates

While the April 2020 release plan is out, early access to the features will be available beginning February 3, 2020. Starting April 1, 2020, new updates will begin rolling out through until September 2020.   

What’s Next

We have highlighted some interesting and anticipated features of the April 2020 Release Plan in this blog post, but there are a lot more. If you’d like to go through all the features yourself, here are official links to the April 2020 release plans for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.

In the meantime, if you would like to find out how you can take advantage of the latest updates within your organisation, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation on 01296 328 689. Or email us at info@seelogic.co.uk.

Author: Rajat Acharya (Marketing Executive) at Seelogic Ltd.

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