Author: Alex McLachlan, Senior Consultant Silverbear
If you're a Dynamics 365 Online user, you'll probably be familiar with Microsoft's twice a year release cycles. The 2021 Wave 2 release has started in preview in August, with most of the features becoming 'Generally Available' for use in Live/Production systems at the beginning of October.
To start with a couple of caveats, some features may depend on the licences you have, and the plans are subject to change - adding or removing features - but most would be expected to remain.
I've included links to the Microsoft announcement documentation and blog posts if you want to investigate further.
Dynamics 365 Features
The Dynamics 365 CRM user interface is continuing to be improved - see the Power Platform release notes for full details.
Modern search will be the only global search method and will be turned on. This does need a small amount of work to set up and ensure that relevant fields for quick find views have been included for the tables/entities set up for the search.
The site map is improved allowing the groups to be minimised.
Advanced lookup will be defaulted - this gives a much better way of finding the lookup record you're wanting.
There are new column options in grid view page that allow the user to reorder, add and remove columns directly.
One thing to note is that IE is no longer supported and users will see a warning message. Users will need to switch to a modern browser such as Edge or Chrome.
Dynamics 365 in Teams
One of the big announcements (actually made at Microsoft's Inspire event on the same day as the Wave 2 announcement) is that Dynamics 365 and Teams will be much more tightly integrated at low cost. The implications for the way we work and licencing costs aren't completely clear yet, but more should be revealed over the next few months. There's a great blog post on this from Dynamics 365 MVP Jukka Niiranen.
The deal manager workspace will allow sellers to prioritise and manage their leads and opportunities more effectively. MVP Dian Taylor has an excellent video introducing the deal manager workspace.
The forecasting features continue to be added to, and this is well worth considering as an alternative to goals.
For organisations with a large sales pipeline, the Accelerator Workspace is being enhanced with features including sequence automation, lead routing and ways to improve lead quality. The Sales Accelerator is part of Sales Insights which has a separate licence, so the improvements to the speed and targetting of sales need to be assessed against the cost.
Direct Teams calling and Teams meetings will be available from D365 Sales in 2022.
The Customer Service workspace will be getting usability improvements and an inbox view. The current documentation isn't totally clear which features are available just for Omnichannel (which needs a separate licence) and which are included in the Customer Service workspace (available to all Customer Service users), but I'm hopeful that these improvements will be included in the workspace.
Similar to D365 Sales, there will be an integrated voice channel based on the same technology as Teams.
There will also be usability improvements for knowledge articles and the subject tree.
Silverbear 365 Users
Silverbear 365 Sprint 149 has been tested against the Early Access release to ensure it's supported with Microsoft Wave 2. Please contact our Support Team if you don't already have plans in place for Sprint 149 or higher.