You’d be forgiven for thinking that Dynamics CRM wasn’t a mature product, given the size and impact of the new features added to its 2016 release. But nothing ever stands still. When your technology is so pervasive and in equal measure driven by other technologies (particularly mobile), having this much attention from the product team is surely a sign of a healthy product.
TOP NEW FEATURES IN DYNAMICS CRM 2016 – and one that’s come a little too early
- New app for Outlook
The new CRM App for Outlook brings a more tightly integrated experience to your email client, showing useful CRM data alongside emails (see image below).
- Word and Excel
There is a great new feature allowing you to download Word and Excel templates with fields from CRM (you choose the entity – and related entities) ready to add to the template, before uploading back into CRM for use with mailmerge and reports.
Intune can now be used to enforce your company security protocols by encrypting, wiping, or applying other policies to the CRM mobile App.
Changes within CRM
- Better form fields for mobile devices
Mobile forms can now benefit from new form controls, such as sliders, flip switches, star ratings and pen controls. These don’t appear in the out-of-the-box entities, but can be added to any form by a system customiser.
- Mobile task flows
Mobile task flows bring more power to mobile CRM; for example, giving salespeople a structure within which to capture client meeting notes, just like business process flows within the desktop web application.
- New CRM Mobile App, and better integration with Cortana
The Cortana integration genuinely makes you feel like the future’s arrived, now that you can ask your phone things like, “CRM open account called Acme” or “CRM create contact called Bob Smith!”
- New ‘Knowledge Article’ entity
This supersedes the old ‘Article’ entity, and includes room for pictures and videos. It also integrates with Parature and allows translations to be stored.
- Interactive service hub
This is the new dashboard for the service area of CRM. It enables you to perform actions directly from the dashboard. At the time of writing (January 2016), it isn’t quite perfect (for example, we received an error message on the splash screen), but expect an update soon to fix this.
And for developers
- Form preview for mobile devices
When developing a form, select the new preview button and see instant previews of the form for tablet or mobile.View a preview of the form in the portal:
- Export partial solutions as patches
This means that you can update part of your development solution and, among other things, omit objects with dependencies that aren’t ready to go live.
- Web API
This new API allows you to interact with Dynamics CRM without requiring the Dynamics CRM SDK Assemblies.
Dynamics CRM is growing in scope, but it’s not becoming unnecessarily complex. Rather, it is adapting to the evolving technology landscape and the changing expectations of users. So while there’s a lot to learn about here, it’s invariably good news.
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