What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016?

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

Integration advances

  • 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).Screenshot of Outlook showing Dynamics CRM App integration.
  • 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
    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.

Dynamics CRM Interactive Service Hub dashboard.

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.Mobile devices form preview option in Dynamics CRM 2016.View a preview of the form in the portal:

          Form preview showing relationships in Dynamics CRM

        • 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.

Watch our xRM People and Services webinar on-demand and discover how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help you better manage relationships and assets across your business.