Microsoft recently issued the Dynamics 365 release plan for October 2019, named ‘2019 release wave 2 plan’. The document describes all the new features to be released between October 2019 and March 2020.
Microsoft operate a continuous delivery model for Dynamics 365, with a bi-annual update cycle (i.e. Spring and Autumn updates known as ‘Wave 1’ and ‘Wave 2’). This means Microsoft are continuously updating the software with new features, security updates and bug fixes to ensure customers always have the most current version of the technology available.
The Wave 2 release plan outlines all the new features coming to Dynamics 365 in October 2019 onwards to March 2020. Some features will automatically be enabled and will be rolled out after October 2019, while others need to be enabled by an administrator. Therefore, it is vital that organisations using Dynamics 365 understand how these changes might impact their systems and ways of working. To find out more about this update approach and potential impacts, read our guide: Best practices for the new Dynamics 365 upgrade approach.
To avoid unnecessary disruption to businesses, Microsoft wanted to provide clarity on the new features which are coming to Dynamics 365, and when the new features will be delivered. For many of the features, early access will be available from August 2, 2019. This means you can try out and validate the new features and capabilities before they are automatically enabled.
If you would like any help or support in preparation for the updates, or to test the updates against our system, then we offer ‘Dynamics 365 Upgrade Support’ to manage the transition for you.
Dynamics 365 Areas
This article summarises the key features that are coming to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Field Service & Project Service). The official release plan document from Microsoft is 370 pages long, but you can find it here if you want to read into any features in more detail. The release notes also include updates coming to Business Central, Finance & Operations, Artificial Intelligence and the Power Platform.
There are a lot of AI enhancements coming to the Customer Engagement app areas: Sales, Marketing and Customer Service, which are called:
- Sales Insights
- Customer Insights
- Customer Service Insights
These are all licenced separately and require an additional paid subscription on top of the Dynamics 365 app or plan licence.
There is a separate PDF with release notes for updates coming to the Power Platform (PowerApps, Flow and Power BI). As Customer Engagement in Dynamics 365 is well established, there are fewer updates and most of the exciting updates and releases from wave 2 can be seen within the Power Platform instead. The Power Platform is going to be central to the strategy of Dynamics 365 and will help companies to extend Dynamics 365 functionality and provide low-code approaches to its users. To keep posted on future Power Platform updates, you can sign up to our newsletter or if you would like to find out more information on what it is, you can read our explanatory article: “What is the Power Platform?”.
Dynamics 365 for Sales
Contextual email communication
Users will no longer have to navigate away from the screen they are on to compose emails. An email composition screen will overlay the underlying form in Dynamics, allowing users to write their emails whilst using the page’s information for context.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator InMail integration
Sales reps using LinkedIn Navigator will now be able to engage with customers by composing and sending InMail from within Dynamics 365 for Sales entities—while viewing LinkedIn profile information alongside.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator Data Validation
Salespeople using LinkedIn Navigator will also be able to keep track of career movements amongst their contacts. Users can be notified each time a contact changes jobs, allowing users to keep up-to-date and identify new opportunities.
You can integrate your softphone dialler from your telephony provider with the customer engagement app to quickly call contacts.
Business card scan
Business cards can now be scanned into Dynamics 365. The scanning function will analyse the card’s information and enter it into the correct fields in the system. You’ll also have the option to configure this and select alternative fields to populate.
Customisation of Opportunity Close dialog box
The ‘Opportunity Close’ dialogue box will now be customisable. This will help organisations capture more details when making the opportunity as lost / won. This information will help managers identify trends and help inform future sales strategy.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
A few new features have been announced for Customer Service, including:
- Knowledge management inline image enhancement
- Knowledge management search and rendering enhancement
- Timeline usability enhancements
If your business is interested in Omnichannel for Customer Service (i.e. a suite of features allowing instant communications with customers via channel such as Chat and SMS), then we would recommend reading the relevant section of the full release wave 2 document. Several new features have been announced, such as Facebook messenger integration, Virtual Agent for Customer Service, and Bot-assisted agent guidance etc.
Dynamics 365 for Field Service
Mixed reality guides for Field Service
Mixed-reality guides for Field Service uses Dynamics 365 Guides—a new mixed-realty app—to help employees ‘learn by doing’. Step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to undertake certain tasks. These can be assigned to Field Service incident types for field technicians to easily access.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing
Email A/B testing
A/B testing allows marketers to create alternate versions of an email for sending to a segmented audience. Within that audience, small sample groups will be created, with some recipients receiving ‘Email A’ and some ‘Email B’. Based on the business goals that the marketer defines, the system will use analytics to determine the best performing email (e.g. click-through rate) and send that version of the email to the rest of the wider audience.
Support approvals using Microsoft Flow
When a marketer has created some content in Dynamics 365 for Marketing, such as an email or a record that requires a review, they can now request approval from an editor or senior team member using a one-click approval request. This approval system uses Microsoft Flow, therefore providing flexibility and easy customisation.
Support for surveys using Microsoft Forms Pro
Marketing professionals will have access to surveys with Microsoft Forms Pro functionality. This should help identify customer sentiment and satisfaction, with automated use of survey results in criteria for segmentation, lead scoring and customer journey branching.
Quick send is new functionality which allows you to construct and send emails to a large audience with a few clicks—without the need for follow-up automation or triggers.
Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA)
Microsoft are re-platforming Microsoft Project onto the Common Data Service (CDS) platform—which Dynamics 365 PSA is already utilising. Combining the capabilities of Project and PSA into a combined experience on the CDS will present some exciting possibilities.
Investments coming with Wave 2 will also help existing Dynamics 365 PSA customers to move to the new combined Office (new project service) and Dynamics (Dynamics Sales Extensions for Projects) offering simply.
We recommend you take a look at the full release plan for further details on the new functionality for PSA, which includes:
- Split billing for project contracts
- Limits for contacts and quotes
- Billing and chargeability options for Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) tasks
- Support for retainers on project contracts
- Revenue recognition for PSA projects
- And more
It’s worth bearing in mind that many of these features require the new Unified Interface to be enabled. Find out more with our overview of the new Unified Interface here and read the full release plan to find out if the features you’re interested in require the Unified Interface to be enabled.
If you’re concerned about the mandatory updates that will be taking place, we can help you assess the potential impacts to your systems and help you manage the process smoothly. We have a packaged ‘upgrade health check’ on Microsoft AppSource or you can get in touch for more information.