The release notes for the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Wave 1 2022 release are now available, giving us an insight into hundreds of new and improved features that will be rolling out from April onwards.
In this blog we’ve picked out our top seven, and bottom one, but you can view the entire release notes here. Whilst the next wave of changes is due to start in April, watch out for the Public Preview, Early Access, and General Availability dates on each feature.
This is a new and long-awaited feature that brings marketing and sales efforts closer together without the need for customisation. It is a request we have had from our customers in the past, and as a result we have come up with creative solutions to ensure users can see sales and marketing interactions for contacts in a single view (but this is now soon to be out of the box functionality).
The new feature will offer a single timeline view which combines standard Dynamics 365 activity data with marketing interactions combined into a single list.
The timeline will be filterable and offer the ability to view marketing emails sent to a contact. You can read the full details for the new feature, due to be available in June, here: Personalize interactions using a unified view of customer activity across Dynamics 365 Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service | Microsoft Docs
Another great marketing feature is the ability to respond to inbound SMS messages as part of a real time marketing customer journey. This gives us the ability to ask questions such as “Reply ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ to let us know if you’re attending.” and then drive the rest of the journey accordingly.
Additionally, as you can see above, an action can be set up for when no reply is received, or the reply is not understood. Also, the feature uses intelligent fuzzy matching and semantic analysis of keywords to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Continue the conversation with your customers by taking action on their SMS replies | Microsoft Docs
Conversation Intelligence is a great tool, and we have seen excellent uptake amongst our customers recently, along with the other Sales Insights features. We also use it internally and it provides great insights into our sellers’ calls, identifying useful trends for coaching, praise and improvement.
Enhancement to Conversation Intelligence in the next wave include the introduction of app notifications to ensure users don’t miss key insights such as when a call summary is ready or when they are mentioned in a comment.
Incorporating the dashboards for Sales Insights, currently accessed through a separate portal, into Dynamics 365 natively will ensure data that drives decision making will be right within the app when needed.
The ability to collaborate on call summaries is also a great improvement, users can mention their colleagues within comments against a call transcript, notifying them immediately that action is required.
Finally, improved searching means that users and managers can quickly access data within call transcripts, pulling out key insights when needed. You can read more about the feature here: Get the right insight, at the right time, at the right place | Microsoft Docs
The addition in this case is the ability to set the attributes which will influence the score based on the sales stage of the record. To translate this into a real-world scenario, it may be the case that early in your sales process, a prospect’s budget and timescale for closing a deal, may be the best way to determine its success. However as you move along the sales journey, other factors may become more influential such as their response to presales efforts or the number of stakeholders involved. By defining unique scoring criteria (which can be combined with a common underlying set of criteria), you can ensure your predictive AI model is as accurate as possible, giving certainty over scores and driving more accurate business decisions.
You can read more here: Assign attributes per sales stage to improve predictive score accuracy | Microsoft Docs
Another great update to the Sales Insights toolset is some enhancements to how quotas are managed within Forecasting. This is an excellent tool for visualising and managing your sales pipeline, allowing you to viewpoint in time statistics along with changes over time using the flow view to see how and why your pipeline has changed.
Forecasting already includes the ability to track pipeline against quotas. Currently quotas need to be manually curated in a spreadsheet before being uploaded, but this feature introduces the ability to edit quota information inline, massively shortening the process and making management of quotas far more agile.
Additionally, quotas can be automatically rolled up in the forecast hierarchy, again this had to be done manually previously. The hierarchy can be set by team, geography, or a custom rollup attribute.
Update quotas quickly with inline editing and quota rollups | Microsoft Docs
Advanced Find is one of the oldest, but most useful, tools in Dynamics 365. It allows users to query any table and column in the database, from creating a simple query to find records filtered by a single field to building complex searches joining multiple tables with AND/OR conditions.
With an updated new look matching the unified interface and intuitive access point from the global search box, the ‘new Advanced Find’ experience will be more modern and efficient.
Still with the ability to create complex queries on any table(s), select the columns you wish to view and share views, this new incarnation of the tool will add value to Dynamics 365.
The following screenshot shows how to access the new Advanced Find experience (notice the lack of funnel icon in the taskbar now):
You can learn more about the new capability here: Explore data through modern advanced find | Microsoft Docs
Another feature which has been requested a lot since Teams has been integrated with Dynamics 365 is the ability to create Teams meeting directly from within Dynamics 365. Whilst it’s been possible to create Teams meetings in Outlook and track them to Dynamics 365, this wasn’t the smoothest experience, so this new feature is a real improvement.
In addition to being able to schedule meetings from within Dynamics 365, you can also join them with a single click, more details here:
Create and join Teams meetings from in-app appointments | Microsoft Docs
Finally, a not so good accountment for those Project Service Automation users who’ve been looking to benefit from the new and improved functionality within Project Operations and waiting patiently for an upgrade path! This is now due, if you are using the Work Breakdown Structure, in August 2022.
We have customers where we have uninstalled Project Service Automation and installed Project Operations into an existing environment, migrating key data, to make this transition possible before the upgrade path becomes available, so whilst this is a time-consuming exercise, feel free to reach out to us if this is something you are interested in.
Upgrade from Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation to Dynamics 365 Project Operations Lite Deployment – Phase 2 | Microsoft Docs
This blog just scratches the surface of the number of incredible new features available across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform in the next release. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch today.
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