CRM 2016 Release Preview Guide Introduction
Customer experience has become increasingly important for brands, yet there is a significant gap between how companies think they’re doing on delivering great customer experiences and what customers think. We believe companies must think about their customer journey and engagement models differently in today’s world.
Our mission with Customer Engagement solutions from Microsoft Dynamics is to enable companies to deliver amazing customer experiences via intelligent customer engagement. We provide end-to-end customer engagement solutions so that companies can deliver customer experiences that are personalized, proactive and predictive. Companies can:
- Personalize customer experiences by creating end-to-end, outcome-focused journeys that engage customers at the right time and place with the right message.
- Create proactive experiences by determining the next best interaction with your customer based on context.
- Make customer engagement predictive by using analytics, internal and external data to identify patterns and predict outcomes.
This document highlights the capabilities of the Dynamics CRM 2016 release, which includes updates to all online services, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update, and Microsoft Social Engagement 2016 Update that will further our customers’ abilities to deliver amazing customer experiences. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a major release that will be delivered to our online and on-premises customers. The online services – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update, and Microsoft Social Engagement 2016 Update – will be delivered as a customer-driven update. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 capabilities highlighted in this document will be delivered for both online and on-premises customers except where noted in the footnotes.
Key Investment Overview
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, we’re continuing on our journey to deliver Intelligent Customer Engagement to the market – helping companies deliver customer experiences that are personalized, proactive and predictive. The 2016 update includes all of our CRM services – Dynamics CRM, Parature, from Microsoft, Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Engagement and covers 4 major themes, Productivity, Intelligence, Mobility and Unified Service.
Productivity – At Microsoft, we’re committed to reinventing the way companies think about productivity and business processes. We build our CRM capabilities so that they are seamlessly embedded into productivity tools, including Office 365 so that sales, service and marketing professionals can leverage familiar tools that they prefer to use.
In CRM 2016, we’ll enhance the CRM app for Outlook, harness the power of Office 365 Groups, deliver Excel templates on top of the immersive Excel we added in the spring, surface trending documents from Delve, make it easier to create personalized sales documents in word and we’ll make it seamless to access contextual CRM documents across SharePoint, Office 365 Groups, OneDrive for Business.
Intelligence – With CRM 2016, we’ll deliver intelligent processes for sales, service and marketing with the power of the Cortana Analytics Suite and machine learning. We’re introducing capabilities like intelligent product suggestions (for up-sell / cross-sell) and recommended cases and knowledge to resolve customer service cases. We’re harnessing the power of Machine Learning for sentiment analysis in Microsoft Social Engagement. We’re also baking intelligent and contextual guidance into CRM throughout the entire customer journey.
Mobility – In CRM 2016, we continue to invest in mobile capabilities for tablets and phones with full offline mobile capabilities, the ability to create task-based mobile apps, Mobile Application
Management with Microsoft Intune and next-generation Cortana integration that surfaces CRM data to drive proactive interaction and voice-driven CRM.
Unified Service – With CRM 2016, we’ll deliver a single, unified solution for Customer Service across self, assisted and field service. This began with the integration of Parature knowledge management in the spring and continues with a new role driven agent experience, a native Knowledge Management solution in CRM and surveys to capture the voice of the customer. We’ve also added Field service capabilities with the acquisition of FieldOne.
We’re also investing in Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Engagement. We’re adding SMS as a marketing channel to our multi-channel campaigns. We’re increasing the sources and sentiment languages for social. We’re also introducing the concept of Intelligent Social with social selling, automated triage and adaptive sentiment.
Details on the features and capabilities in CRM 2016 for Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Social, Mobile, Online Visibility and Control, and Platform can be found below.
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing enables your marketing team to seamlessly go from planning to execution, leveraging the power of Office 365 and Power BI to measure your marketing performance across channels from start to finish so you can bring your marketing vision to life. You can engage customers one-to-one across channels, build your sales pipeline and demonstrate the impact of your marketing investments in real-time.
As part of our continued investments in making Dynamics Marketing the best-integrated marketing management system on the market, we are continuing to invest in advanced capabilities across the board in SMS and email marketing.
Marketers can truly go mobile. As a modern mobile marketer, you can create powerful SMS campaigns as well as integrate SMS marketing in your multi-channel campaigns. In this release, Dynamics Marketing will support both outbound and inbound SMS marketing in select markets. This means the ability to:
- configure inbound SMS campaigns with SMS keywords to get SMS opt-ins
- maintain a database of opt-in and opt-out preferences of your marketing contacts
- send outgoing promotional SMS messages to opted-in contacts for SMS
- tracking performance of your SMS campaigns
The capability to integrate SMS marketing in multi-channel campaigns truly stands out Dynamics Marketing in mobile marketing space and enhances its positioning as one of the best multi-channel integrated marketing management clouds for the modern marketer.
We continue our investments in core marketing pillars such as email marketing. We are enriching the email editor that we shipped in with the 2015 release with features to make it easier to use for marketers. For instance, you’ll see new capabilities to see the generated HTML in your emails interactively. The advanced editing experience has been improved in various ways. For instance, it will be possible to use the media library directly from the HTML code. We also continue to make service enhancements to scale our service in the backend. This will improve our service’s ability to handle high email volume, improved email deliverability, fault tolerance, and logging/auditing capability.
The way customers interact with businesses has fundamentally changed. Today’s customers are ubiquitously connected via mobile devices, plugged into their social network, and doing their own research. This means that the usual methods of doing business are no longer working. The sophisticated and more demanding customers of today expect to be engaged in new ways.
To continue to sell effectively, salespeople must adapt. The new way of selling requires salespeople to become trusted advisors, so it is even more critical to maximize sales productivity and free up time to engage customers with relevance. Microsoft’s Sales solution helps sales professionals transform into top performers who are highly connected and collaborative by surfacing the right information at the right time no matter where they are so they can engage their customers in meaningful ways to deepen relationships while growing the business.
In order to help salespeople be more productive and deliver amazing customer experiences, we are pleased to deliver the following features:
CRM App for Outlook
Outlook desktop and mobile browser. For Outlook on the desktop, Microsoft already delivers CRM for Outlook, which provides true offline and rich sales capabilities inside the productivity application that salespeople already use on a daily basis. In this release, Microsoft makes it even easier to stay productive by surfacing contextual information from Dynamics CRM right in your inbox. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM App for Outlook makes it easy to track emails, add contacts from within an email or even create new records to track emails against the browser on PC or Mac or mobile browser on phone. The CRM App for Outlook will expand support to include Firefox, Safari for Mac and Outlook for Mac in addition to the currently supported IE and Chrome.
To help increase productivity, Microsoft is providing the ability for salespeople to conduct analysis in Excel, directly within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This eliminates the time and effort required to switch between applications in the middle of completing a business process. Salespeople can now view sales data in familiar Excel templates, perform what-if analysis, and upload the changes, all while maintaining the work context.
Export and analyze data in Excel from your mobile device with added support for the CRM for Tablets and Phones apps.
Information comes to you proactively by surfacing Trending Documents from Office Delve inside CRM. Find what you need and discover new content and connections on a dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business has been added to complement how users store and share contextual content in CRM. Get a consolidated view of documents across SharePoint, OneDrive for Business2, and Office 365 Groups within the context of the CRM record.
Building a beautiful document based on CRM data is now simplified with Document Generation. You no longer need to manually extract CRM data for documents such as Account summaries, Quotes, Orders, Invoices, and product sheets. With one click users can easily generate a document from CRM using pre-defined Word and Excel templates. Authors can manage the pre-defined templates and using a wizard-like flow build custom templates in Word or Excel. Document templates are role-based by an entity to ensure users have the proper content to meet their needs. Word and Excel documents generated from CRM will open as a downloaded document with the exception of CRM Online where Excel documents will be rendered in the Immersive Excel Online capability.
We’re taking our Cortana integration to the next level by embedding sales activities, accounts and opportunities into Cortana to surface what’s most relevant to salespeople at any time – across both personal and professional sources.
An increasingly connected digital world has changed the way customers engage with brands. In an age of commoditized products and services, companies look to customer engagement and experience as key levers of competitive differentiation. Customer Service organizations are at the epicentre of a company’s ability to deliver a differentiated and consistent engagement experience.
Providing personalized, contextual interactions across the customer service journey on any device for self and assisted service channels including field service, while still achieving business goals, is a customer service imperative. 87% of low effort interactions deliver higher customer loyalty. This supports the need to deliver “effortless” service experiences. Businesses achieve this with customers who are empowered with their choice of service options; agents who are empowered to deliver fast informed and effective resolutions; and field service that is seamlessly incorporated when there’s a need to have the service engineer show up on site to solve the issue.
Dynamics CRM enables companies to earn customer loyalty and advocacy for life by minimizing customer effort across self and assisted service channels with targeted, relevant service; by deflecting service issues with the ability to proactively recognize and anticipate issues; and predict service with the ability to forecast service outcomes based on patterns and trends.
In order to increase service organizations ability to deliver effortless service experiences, we are pleased to deliver the following features:
Voice of the Customer
Dynamics CRM 2016 includes a new survey designer that to create and send out questionnaires to collect feedback from customers about your products or services. Customers can take a survey on a phone, tablet, or computer. When a customer completes a survey, rules in Dynamics CRM can trigger follow-up actions that occur immediately. Survey responses are stored with a customer’s record in CRM, so your teams see the customer feedback history as they work a sale or resolve a service case.
Interactive Service Hub
This new online user experience (UX) design provides a modern and intuitive end-user experience for customer service roles.
The interactive service hub comes loaded with a multi-stream dashboard specifically targeted at Tier One agents. Users can view and act on their workload across multiple data streams. The streams can show data from Views or Queues (e.g.: My Activities, My Cases, Cases from Queues I’m a member of etc.). Interactive charts provide a visual snapshot of key metrics related to the work items and also double up as visual filters which allow agents to slice and dice the data. An additional level of filtering is available with Global Filters to bring focus to the relevant items. Customizers/Administrators can choose from four layouts to build these dashboards.
The interactive service hub also comes preloaded with a single-stream dashboard for Tier Two Agents. It comes with a single data stream on the left which would typically show an aggregate view of the workload. The stream can show data from Views or Queues (e.g.: All Active Cases). Like the multi-stream dashboards, single-stream dashboards also come with interactive charts that can be used to filter data. The Tiles on the right side (shown in blue) show a count of records from a Queue or a View. Users can get a peek of the records by selecting the tile. Customizers/Administrators can choose from four layouts to build these dashboards.
Modern and intuitive design
The case form design allows agents to find and act on data with reduced clicks and navigation. It unifies customer interactions and pulls together all related information, enabling agents to be productive and view what’s most relevant at all times. The Guided Business Process is further enhanced to show process stage information as a fly out. The timeline (Interaction Wall) allows for rich time and record based filtering capabilities. Quick actions on a search result, allow you to perform everyday functions with ease, such as marking a task as complete or responding to a customer’s email. The Reference Panel is geared towards a highly configurable experience that allows you to always show relevant related data. Agents have full access to the customer record and can see recent cases, eligible entitlement, and any other relevant information. With integrated Knowledge agents can deliver solutions to customers. This design pattern extends to other entities such as Account and Contact, as well as Activities.
External Party Access
External Party Access is the foundation that allows external parties such as Employees, Customers and Partners to access CRM data with the right level of permissions (e.g. Customer / Partner Portal scenarios). External Party Access is an enhancement to the CRM API and SDK that allows integration, access and actions by contacts, partners or other third parties you have modelled in CRM.
Enhanced knowledge base and global content model on CRM enables organization to create a single source of knowledge for the whole organization. A new content editor and editing experience help teams keep knowledge articles approved and up to date. The curation process is inspired by a Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) methodology.
Unified Service Desk
The Unified Service Desk is at the heart of delivering modern service by providing service organizations with the unique ability to deliver a single agent desktop with access to back-end systems and third-party applications.
This release improves the install experience by enabling upgrades/patches to be delivered through Windows Update / System Center and distributing custom control DLLs through CRM Server configuration. Improved auditing and diagnostics settings determine which events and agent actions are logged through the centralized auditing configuration. Out of the box integration is now available with any third party systems such as Azure HDInsights.
Based on customer feedback we are including the most commonly requested features such as progress bar during page loads and improved developer experience.
In a socially connected world, engagement with your customers can happen anywhere or anytime. Microsoft Social Engagement puts powerful social tools in the hands of your sales, marketing, and service teams – helping them connect on social media with your customers, prospects, and partners right within Microsoft Dynamics CRM or with a stand-alone app. Find social insights about your brand, products, and services to gain a true understanding of sentiment about your business.
With Microsoft Social Engagement, you can listen, analyze, and drive engagement all within Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, or standalone. Jump in and engage with your customers, reaching them in ways never before possible.
Social Listening & Social Analytics
In addition to Twitter, Facebook, Blogs (WordPress/Tumblr), Videos (YouTube) and News, you will now be able to search boards/forums and custom sources via RSS. This includes internal non-public sources, like Yammer.
In addition to the existing sentiment and localization languages – English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish – Social Engagement will be adding 14 additional languages: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Thai and Turkish.
To increase team efficiency for sales and service organizations, Microsoft Social Engagement will automatically detect potential leads vs cases. This will increase sales performance through suggestions on leads coming in from social channels as well as increase team efficiency for service organizations by identifying potential cases coming in through social channels.
Through adaptive sentiment, Microsoft Social Engagement will learn from curations of sentiment values to create domain specific models.
Group Collaboration and Custom Roles
Transform social interactions into end-end customer experience with the ability to create CRM actions like cases and opportunities from social posts. You can create these records from either the Post view or Social Center.
Publish tweets and Facebook posts from within the Social Center, including rich multimedia content.
In a mobile-first world, Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps you stay connected and productive, while on the go. Microsoft is delivering a seamless user experience across mobile devices, including tablets and phones, in a ‘configure once, deploy everywhere’ model.
Mobile offline support
We are excited to announce that users of Dynamics CRM Online will be able to get full offline experience with mobile apps. This provides the ability to get your work done even when there is an interruption in connectivity. Users will be able to create, change and delete records while offline. Automatic playback of offline actions helps synchronize local changes with Dynamics CRM Online. The mobile apps provide a seamless user experience when switching between online (connected) and offline modes.
This release brings the ability to view documents in the context of opportunity, case or any other entity, right within the CRM mobile apps. Users can seamlessly open various Microsoft Office documents stored in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business from within the CRM mobile apps (tablets and phones). For example, you can open a proposal presented in the CRM app using Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad or the deal summary using Microsoft Word for iPhone. After reviewing the document, you can easily return back to the CRM app by just tapping the ‘back’ button.
App-to-app deep linking
Enables other mobile apps (such as email or your custom mashup apps) to link and directly navigate to a record, view or dashboard within the CRM mobile app. In simple terms, this provides a URL addressable form/view/dashboard for mobile scenarios.
Modern mobile friendly experience
With this release, we are adding a variety of modern UI controls you can use in the mobile apps. Business Analysts have the ability to bind a data field to a new UI control, representing the data in a visual and interactive way. Slider and calendar controls are just a few examples of the available control-set of 15 controls. The new controls work across all mobile clients (tablets & phones) providing an engaging and immersive mobile experience. For example, users can easily visualize date-related CRM information within a calendar.
Task Based Experiences
New task based experiences are immersive experiences that allow users to focus on the tasks they need to perform, not the records they need to interact with. With task based experiences, data from multiple entities are brought together into a single user experience. For example, when you want to reach out to a contact on a deal, all relevant data is brought together in a coherent fashion so that you don’t have to have to visit all the involved records (Opportunity, Contact & Account). It also helps guide users through complex tasks ensuring that they perform the right actions at the right circumstances. The experiences are supported by platform capabilities such as branching logic to show the right pages, business logic for data verification and UI updates.
Mobile client form preview
With the “Configure once, deploy everywhere” paradigm at our core, we are simplifying the business analyst experience to easily visualize their configuration changes. When designing forms in the CRM, you can now easily preview the tablet/phone forms and dashboards directly from within the browser.
Web Resources and IFRAME
Last year, we introduced IFRAME and web resource support in CRM for tablets as a ‘preview’ feature. With this release the feature will be generally available and we are adding support for Windows tablets (Windows 10) as well.
Intune. Customers will be able to secure the CRM data in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scenarios
with Mobile Application Management (MAM) capabilities of Intune. This allows users to separate their personal data and corporate data on their own devices. The integration utilizes Intune App SDK and we will release policy managed (MAM-protected) apps for CRM in the Android and iOS app stores.
Policy-managed CRM mobile apps can support Intune management policies such as:
- PIN enforcement
- Prevent data leakage on the device (for example, disable copy + paste to personal apps) Enforce encryption of app data at rest
- App-level selective wipe
Online Visibility & Control
CRM Online is a world class, global SaaS service delivered and managed by Microsoft. In order to meet the business requirements of our customers around the globe, we continually make investments
in our core service infrastructure and platform. These investments often focus on security, compliance, performance and management and global expansion.
Data encryption for CRM Online (server)
CRM Online currently offers the ability to encrypt the full customer database by leveraging SQL Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) to perform real-time I/O encryption and decryption of the data and log files to provide data encryption at rest. Through the approach, customers can seamlessly protect the database without affecting any of the core capabilities of CRM Online. In this scenario, Microsoft manages the keys and handles the management of encryption. This is available today on demand.
In addition to encryption at rest, a common ask from customers is the ability to have control over the encryption keys that are used for encrypting the database. This provides great control to the customer as it enables them to change keys or revoke access on demand in a completely self-service manner. In this model, customers generate a key for encryption and upload it to a vault controlled by the customer. The CRM service then uses this key to encrypt the data for that specific customer.
Data Performance Dashboard
This admin driven optimization experience within Dynamics CRM enables customers to understand the performance over time of components with long running queries, improve the performance of components with optimization recommendations and assess how well existing optimizations are performing.
In CY2016 we will introduce new CRM Online datacenters in Canada and India. The Microsoft Canada geography consists of the Canada East Region (located in Quebec City, in the province of Quebec) and the Canada Southeast Region (located in Toronto, in the province of Ontario). The Microsoft India geography consists of the Northwest Region and the Southeast Region (Chennai and Pune).
With the inclusion of these new datacenters as well as those recently added in Japan and Australia, our global customers will be serviced from data centres located in 9 global regions around the world. More information on our data centre locations can be found here.
Bulk Data Loader for CRM Online
Bulk Data Loader for Dynamics CRM Online is a new cloud service built by the Dynamics team. The main purpose of this service is to enable bulk import/export of data into Dynamics CRM Online. This tool will allow uploading large data files to cloud staging tables where you can perform lite data quality functions and then push the data into CRM Online. This service will also support recurring data import/export. The Bulk Data Loader will be accessed from a link on the CRM Admin Center website that will redirect users to the Dynamics LCS (Life Cycle Services) website (https://lcs.dynamics.com).
Compliance and data protection
Continuing with our effort to be transparent, we have established the CRM Trust Center as a single location for you to access all information regarding our approach to security and compliance. Each time we receive a new certification information will be posted at this location. We have achieved a number of industry certifications which ensure that we are meeting the appropriate regulatory and country requirements.
Guided User Experience
CRM Online 2016 includes an in-product and context-based learning layer that speeds up your CRM Online training so you can get productive right away. The interactive assistance provided by the learning layer is specific to your role. For example, if you’re a salesperson, you’ll see what’s new content tailored for your role. If you’re a customer service rep or service manager, you’ll see different what’s new content. Over time, we’ll add more learning experiences in different contexts. With assistance tailored for your role, you’ll get just the right content at the right time.
Powerful tools allow you to tailor Microsoft Dynamics CRM to meet your unique business requirements. Microsoft Dynamics CRM facilitates the delivery of rapid business value with an agile solution framework that can be easily tailored and configured. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform provides a declarative paradigm that ranges from defining the data model to providing integrated persistence, security, API access, user experience and programming paradigms based on a modern open architecture. The following investments in our platform capabilities further our commitment to an open, customizable and extensible product and online service.
Modern web API
One of the most critical aspects of any business application is a strong API that allows for the development of first and third party client experiences and enables integration with other systems. Dynamics CRM has always provided this capability, and had evolved it to leverage the best technology available as the industry landscape has evolved. This feature aims to take the next step in that evolution and provide CRM with an API capability that matches today’s industry norms, serves our broad set of constituents, and puts the product in a position to succeed wildly.
Dynamics CRM will provide web APIs that leverages the most broadly adopted industry standards for protocol (HTTP and REST), security (OAuth 2), format (JSON), and expose its rich set of data capabilities via open industry standard OData v4, recently approved by OASIS and the standard for new web services created by Microsoft. This approach moves us from a .NET focused set of capabilities to a position of being open to the wide variety of technology platforms that power our industry today.
We have made investments into the solution capabilities of CRM to allow for sub-components of a Solution Package, patching support, lifecycle Improvements for integration with the Marketplace and parallelization of deployment.
Stay productive and up to date no matter where you are or what device you’re on. With server-side synchronization, administrators can easily manage the synchronization of email, tasks, appointments and contacts between CRM and Exchange.
The server-side synchronization capabilities currently support synchronization between CRM Online and Exchange Online and between CRM On-premises and Exchange On-premises. This release will introduce support for the hybrid scenario of synchronization between CRM Online and Exchange Onpremises.
Next generation search
This enhanced search experience provides a single list of results across entities, sorted by relevance to the search text, matched to any word across any search enabled field in any search enabled entity. This new search capability will be off by default for everyone. Once enabled, end users will still have the existing multi-entity Quick Find experience, which has been renamed to Categorized Search, available in the user interface.
Azure Machine Learning
This release will introduce machine learning “ML” scenario based integration with Azure ML for product cross-sell recommendations and suggested knowledge articles with text analytics. Azure ML integration offers a configuration experience and insights integrated into the CRM user interface, removing the complexity of requiring data scientists or understanding ML models.
Continuing our commitment to deliver CRM functionality on the latest technologies we will continue to update the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Compatibility List providing an up to date view of recent and upcoming compatibility testing results.
Microsoft is committed to our vision of delivering Intelligent Customer Engagement and helping our customers deliver amazing customer experiences. We will continue to help companies build longterm relationships with their customers that are personalized, proactive and predictive.
With these releases, we’ve made great enhancements across sales, service, marketing, and social. We are redefining the way companies think about business productivity, and building our CRM capabilities so that they are seamlessly embedded into our productivity tools, including Office 365. We are bringing together self, assisted and field service for a unified solution for customer service. We are further enhancing our intelligence capabilities by harnessing the power of machine learning and contextual guidance. We are strengthening our mobile capabilities with full offline support, Mobile Application Management with Microsoft Intune, and next-generation Cortana integration. We are adding SMS as a marketing channel to our multi-channel campaigns. And we’re introducing Intelligent Social, and increasing the sources and sentiment languages for social.
It is truly an exciting time to be engaging with Microsoft Dynamics CRM! Microsoft looks forward to keeping you informed of the innovations and exciting capabilities that Microsoft Dynamics CRM will deliver for you now and into the future to help your business thrive!