by Harry Crouch Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Consultant

Microsoft Dynamics 365 October 2019 release notes

Microsoft have now published their release notes for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 October 2019 release, now known as the ‘2019 release wave 2’. These release notes cover a wide range of new features which will be rolled out between October 2019 and March 2020. Microsoft’s AI technology will be at the core of Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the very near future, so the sooner you can adopt these features the further ahead of your competition you will be.

There are some key dates to bear in mind when digesting the release plan which are:

  • Now – Release plans are available
  • August 2019 – Early access is available
    • This is your chance to try new features, testing and validating them, before they get automatically enabled
  • October 2019 – General availability
    • From 1st October 2019 Microsoft will start to deploy the changes to production, releasing specific deployment dates by country and region nearer the time

During the last update in April, it wasn’t clear which features were going to be turned on by default and which could be configured, so Microsoft have made this clearer by labelling each feature as:

  • End users, automatically: something which is applied automatically, and you can’t change
  • Admins, makers, or analysts, automatically: administrative features which are turned on automatically
  • And users by admins, makers or analysts: something which must be turned on by an administrator to be used

    Our top features

    The following are our top 10 highlights from the next Microsoft Dynamics 365 release.

    1.    Marketing: Support for Microsoft Forms Pro

    Microsoft have recently announced the deprecation of their Voice of the Customer tool, which was previously the tool of choice for creating and distributing customer surveys. This will now be replaced with Microsoft Forms Pro, a much more feature rich product which enables many capabilities that Voice of the Customer didn’t have such as dependent questions and customisable journeys through surveys. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing will natively support the use of Microsoft Forms Pro in the Wave 2 release.

    2.    Sales: Business Card Scanning

    This is a much-requested feature from our customers, and the wider Microsoft Dynamics 365 community, and will finally be part of the core product from October 2019. Previously, customers and partners have had to use third party add-ons to scan business cards and harvest the data, but this will now be part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platforms.

    In addition to being able to scan business cards from within Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Microsoft have also made the control available as one of the default tools in PowerApps, allowing you to build your own applications with Business Card scanning in minutes.

    Business card scanning in Microsoft Dynamics 365 | Infinity Group

    Sales Insights: Conversation Intelligence

    Conversation intelligence is an exciting new feature that comes as part of Sales Insights. You can upload call recording from your phone system to Microsoft Azure as .mp3 or .wav files where they will then be transcribed and parsed using Azure AI.

    Once this information has been digested, you can then receive clear data pertaining to:

    • Emotion and brand detection to see which competitors’ customers are talking about and what their sentiment is
    • Your sales team’s behaviour, how often they pause and how long for, how quickly they speak and how much time they allow the customer to speak, which can then be compared to sales data to see who performs best
    • Conversations with your customers, allowing you to analyse which topics are successful or which competitor brands are being mentioned regularly

    Customer Service: Bot Assisted Agent Guidance

    Bots are not new, and people are getting used to the idea of interacting with them to solve simple problems from a customer’s perspective. This release takes the use of bots a step further, enabling them for internal use to guide your customer service teams, ensuring they undertake the next useful task and don’t miss anything. Think of it as an AI enabled call script, taking large amounts of data and working out the next useful action a customer services representative can undertake.

    The bot can suggest quick replies to the customer, relevant knowledge articles, similar cases and then next best actions.

    Customer Service Insights: Anomaly Detection

    Using Microsoft Dynamics 365’s Customer Service Insights’ AI engine, anomalies can be detected, KPIs predicted and sentiment analysed. Harnessing the power of AI to proactively detect issues and detect negative sentiment can allow you to detect and prevent customer service issues before they have even begun.

    Field Service: Mixed Reality Guides

    We have already seen the phenomenal power, and uptake, of Remote Assist for Field Service, which empowers engineers in the field by allowing them to dial in colleagues and collaborate using augmented reality.

    This release takes Remote Assist a step further with the introduction of mixed reality guides. This allows Microsoft Dynamics 365 users to create guides which can be utilised by remote users to access 3D augmented reality documentation for products and equipment, a picture speaks a thousand words here:

    Remote Assist in Microsoft Dynamics 365 | Infinity Group

    Project Service Automation: Joint Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Offering

    This has been a seriously hot topic in the partner community with various, very different, messages out in the field. Some have predicted the end of Project Service Automation altogether. At the recent Business Applications Summit in Atlanta, which we were lucky enough to attend, Microsoft made their position, and therefore the future of the product, clear. Project Service Automation is not going anywhere, and Microsoft are continuing to invest significantly in it.

    Microsoft are rebuilding Project Server (their ‘classic’ project management tool) on the Common Data Service, meaning that all project related data will then be available in Microsoft Dynamics 365. In addition, they are then utilising the more advanced work breakdown structure/planning tools from Project Server in Project Service Automation, so this is very good news for both products.

    Microsoft have promised that the upgrade path from Project Service Automation to the new combined Office (new Project Service) and Dynamics (Dynamics Sales Extensions for Projects) offering will be frictionless.

    Talent Attract: Candidate Recommendations

    Utilising the vast processing power of Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent can now suggest the right applicants for jobs as well as the right jobs for applicants with ease. The machine learning models analyse job requirements and candidate profiles to determine the best match, Attract can the display those recommendations to enable users to make decisions faster.

    Talent HR: Common Data Service

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent is growing fast and Microsoft are rapidly developing its capabilities. One of the real strengths of Talent compared to other HR solutions is the fact that it is integrated to Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365, allowing you to harness HR data in other areas, such as managing resources and skills in Field Service or Project Service Automation.

    To make this integration simpler, deeper and more flexible Microsoft are constantly adding more entities to the Common Data Service, opening up the possibilities of using HR data in other areas of the system.

    Power Platform: Wave 2 Release

    The Power Platform is now inextricably linked to Microsoft Dynamics 365 so the next wave of features for the Power Platform are as exciting as updates to the core Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications.

    Updates to the Power Platform could fill a separate blog, but some of the highlights are:

    • Microsoft Flow enhancements to make them easier to build and manage (using PowerShell and working offline) and of course new connectors are always coming
    • AI Builder which is a new tool which allows customers to automate process and predict outcomes using the power of Azure AI
    • Power BI updates to help with analysing big data sets, and also the ability to include AI in reporting

    The ability to harness the power of AI Builder in PowerApps with a few clicks opens up a vast range of possibilities to create compelling, useful, apps for your business with no code.

    Infinity Group are Microsoft Dynamics 365 Consultants, if you are interested in finding out more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 please get in touch