Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Field Service and Azure

The Cloud is constantly evolving and adding capabilities. A company can build out resources in the Cloud and integrate them all together into one cohesive system. Microsoft Connected Field Service allows companies to leverage Azure with their Dynamics 365 Field Service deployment.

Until now, that meant you could create a new Azure Subscription for all the components such as the Azure Service Bus and IoT Hub. Already leveraging Azure? With the July 2017 Update for Dynamics 365, you now have flexibility to bring in the components you need from one of your existing Azure subscription.

Prior to the July 2017 Update, the integrated environment looks like the image below. The Customer Azure Subscription section in the bottom right shows all of those Assets in one subscription.

Azure

As of the July 2017 release the Customer Azure Resources section in the bottom right changes slightly. Instead of starting with a clean slate when creating the solution for the Customer Azure resource, customers can pull components from other Azure subscriptions they use which is great if these components have already been developed elsewhere.

Want to learn more? Here are some useful resources from Microsoft:

To learn more about Dynamics 365 July Updates, sign up for our Update Webinar Series – running now through August 22.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Please note: All content and information is presented on preview versions and not the launched product. Product is subject to changes per Microsoft's discretion.

Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Virtual Entities

Virtual Entities are a new, easier way to create a quick view of external data sources in Dynamics 365.

For example, users need to be able to see a contact's Social Security Number in CRM but the data cannot be stored in CRM. Using virtual entities allows the data to be visible in Dynamics 365 without it being stored in a CRM database and allows the external data to be read at runtime for the page load.

Virtual entities also provide the capability for System Administrators/Configurators to be able to configure a data integration, rather than solely relying on a developer to manage and implement data integrations.

The entities are stored in CRM with an internal metadata flag on the entity marked as virtual, which tells the system not to put a schema in the database. Virtual entities are organization owned, there isn't any CRM role level security for virtual entities. Each virtual entity points to a row from the data source.

Virtual Entities

Image from Microsoft

Ways to connect data using virtual entities:

Here are a couple of things to be aware of with virtual entities: They do not support business process flow, portal to business logic, and cannot trigger workflows, since virtual entities don't support or trigger an update of the data.

To learn more about Dynamics 365 July Updates, check out our Update Webinar Series on demand.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Please note: All content and information is presented on preview versions and not the launched product. Product is subject to changes per Microsoft’s discretion.

Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Customer Engagement Portals

As we have seen so far, there are many exciting new features with the Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update. Well that excitement continues with the updates to Portals!

There are some new features that are being added for Customer Engagement portals, let's take a look at the pros and cons of these features.

Portal Source Code Release:

The SaaS offering does not give us the access to the source code, but there is still a lot we can do with the customizations provided out-of-the box for portals. As part of this update, Microsoft will provide a one-time drop for the source code.

Pros:

  1. Portals can be hosted independently for CRM on-premises deployments — this is a major advantage
  2. Asp.net pages can be modified as required since we own the source code, which means custom integrations can be performed and new asp.net pages can be added as well
  3. We can have our own telemetry against the portal and have various alerting and logging applied
  4. Deployment of this portal can be embedded with CICD process

Cons:

  1. This will be a one-time drop and there will be no updates further to it
  2. No support will be given by Microsoft for the on-premises hosted portals
  3. Any upgrades to the SaaS offering will not be reflected to this on-premises hosted portal
  4. Maintenance

This is just an addition to all the SaaS offerings provided by Microsoft.

Administrative Wizard:

Portals have a ton of configuration, and there is a lot that we can do with that. However, creating these configurations can be tedious and may create confusion due to the architecture. As part of the July Update, there will be an Administrative Wizard that will make it much easier to configure and create portal data.

Pros:

  1. Create portal config data from one window
  2. Quick questions on the wizard will help you create the required portal content
  3. Reduced time spent on configuration

Cons:

  1. No edit experience as part of this update

More information on this handy wizard will updated in the near future.

Here are a few screenshots of the Administrative Wizard:

1. Navigate to Portal Administration

customer engagement portals

2. Create Portal Content

customer engagement portals

3. Questionnaire screens

customer engagement portals

customer engagement portals

4. Portal content created

customer engagement portals

Single sign-on configuration:

Azure AD-B2C is the future of the Portal authentication mechanism and of the other functionalities in Dynamics 365. This means that there will be deprecation of the local logon authentication and everything will be via Azure AD-B2C.

You can learn more about Azure AD-B2C here.

Azure AD-B2C is an Azure service that does not require an actual subscription, can be started for free, and can go live in Production within certain service limits.

Pros:

  1. The entire logon experience can be configured from the Azure Portal
  2. Azure AD- B2C will do email verifications for local logons
  3. It can be configured for two factor authentication
  4. Multiple identity providers can be selected as part of the configuration
  5. On selecting a single identity provider, the portal will go directly into the identity provider's logon page
  6. Azure AD-B2C login pages can be customized
  7. Fields that have to be on a sign-up page can also be selected in the Azure portal

Here are a few screenshots of the Azure AD-B2C Portal experience:

1. Azure Portal View – Identity Providers Selection

customer engagement portals

2. Select the data that will be part of sign up attributes

customer engagement portals

3. Customized Logon page

customer engagement portals

4. The new sign out experience will sign out from the identity provider and is configurable for each identity provider.

customer engagement portals

To learn more about Dynamics 365 July Updates, sign up for our Update Webinar Series – running now through August 22.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Please note: All content and information is presented on preview versions and not the launched product. Product is subject to changes per Microsoft's discretion.

Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Email Enhancements in the Customer Service Hub

Creating emails with rich text has always been a major need in Dynamics CRM, there are various resources and solutions available on the internet that aren't supported to achieve rich text requirements in CRM. Although, the rich text editor and html emails capability has not been introduced yet in Dynamics 365, Microsoft will now offer many new email enhancements in the Customer Service Hub (previously known as Interactive Service Hub) in the July 2017 Update.

customer service hub

Designer, HTML and Preview tabs will allow users to view and format the content across different form factors.
Customer Service Hub will provide an option to show the HTML code behind formatting of emails when the user clicks on the HTML tab on the email activity.

A bunch of controls and features provided like advanced styling, linking, find and replace, and insert images and tables will be made available on the email activity and will allow users to format the email instead of relying on external tools or solutions.

More information on the Customer Service Hub updates for July 2017 can be found in the below links:

What's coming for Customer Engagement, Enterprise edition, in the next update for Dynamics 365

Developers: What's coming in Customer Engagement in the next update for Dynamics 365

To learn more about Dynamics 365 July Updates, sign up for our Update Webinar Series – running now through August 22.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Activity Logging and Session Management for Security and Compliance

For new and current implementations of Dynamics 365 that require adherence to strict regulations such as FedRAMP and HIPAA, there are now powerful options available in the July 2017 update for Dynamics 365. These new features specifically address User Session Management, and Activity Log Management. To clarify for those slightly confused by the nomenclature of the latter, it does not specifically have to do with CRM Activity records, but is rather better described as functionality to replace the Audit Log.

User Session Management Settings in Dynamics 365

Some government regulations and company policies require strict management of session timeouts in software for security purposes. In previous versions of Dynamics CRM, the session timeout for a user was generally configured to 24 hours, which does not meet these guidelines.

Nevertheless, with the new User Session Management features in Dynamics 365 we can now easily configure within System Settings to change the timeout to what works best for your organization. This includes a setting for overall session timeout, as well as for inactivity timeout. Users can now receive a gentle warning when their session is about to expire, giving them the ability to save their work before it happens, or re-authenticate as needed. These new settings will reassure Compliance Officers that the system fully conforms with their security requirements going forward.

activity logging

Activity Log Management in Dynamics 365

Perhaps one of the more interesting enhancements in the July 2017 release is a completely new framework for Activity Logging, which would replace what was previously known as the Audit Log.

The new Activity Logging functionality in CRM essentially provides the following benefits over the previous functionality:

activity logging

With these new security tools available to organizations for configuring user sessions and audit logging, Dynamics 365 has demonstrated its long-term commitment to addressing the security and regulatory needs of all its customers.

To learn more about Dynamics 365 July Updates, sign up for our Update Webinar Series – running now through August 22.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Please note: All content and information is presented on preview versions and not the launched product. Product is subject to changes per Microsoft’s discretion.

Dynamics 365 July Update 2017: Unified Interface & Customer Service Hub

The Unified Interface is one of the biggest changes coming to the Dynamics 365 user experience. But what is the Unified Interface and is this really a big deal? This update changes how the application looks to the user—but the update is more than just cosmetic and there's a good reason behind it.

The Unified Interface is a framework for Dynamics 365 components that was designed with several things in mind: full accessibility, consistency across platforms, performance, and faster deployment. One example is the new grid control. Instead of having multiple types of grids (searchable grid, sub grid, associated grid, etc.), all the features of all these grids have been combined into one grid that display the same way regardless of the platform. This provides for a consistency from the web client, mobile web, or mobile app. The Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement is updated so that the user is treated to things like font standardization, white space reduction, theming, text wrapping, and styling.

What are the new features that the Unified Interface provide?

unified interface

unified interface

One of the apps that will incorporate many of the changes that the Unified Interface brings is the new Customer Service Hub (CSH). This app replaces the Interactive Service Hub (ISH), but still provides functional parity. The Unified Interface provides compatibility across devices, significantly improves performance, interactive dashboards, and provides new interaction for the user.

Along with the Unified Interface, there are several other new things being introduced as part of CSH. Besides the previously mentioned interactive dashboards, there is new functionality for working cases, creating rich email, and even a knowledge base authoring experience that allows content to be optimized for the desktop, tablet, or mobile user.

While working cases, users cans dock stages to the right-hand side of the form so that they can see all the case information as they make changes and keep progressing through the business process flow. At the same time, changes to the business process stage can also be made. In addition, the Timeline which provides all the related posts, activities, and notes that have been added.

unified interface

Another great new feature in CSH is the enhanced editor that provides the capability for rich emails. This means that there is much less need for external tools to get professional looking formatting.

unified interface

For those who are looking to upgrade to the new Customer Service Hub, the good news is that the process is supposed to be seamless for all components other than forms (a detailed upgrade guide will be coming soon). Forms will require some manual intervention for activation. They also will require configuration of security roles (to prevent access from web clients who should not have access).

To learn more about Dynamics 365 July Updates, sign up for our Update Webinar Series – running now through August 22.

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!

Please note: All content and information is presented on preview versions and not the launched product. Product is subject to changes per Microsoft’s discretion.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Changes to Dynamics 365 for Operations

There are a lot of changes spinning out from Microsoft, and while we've had a lot of blogs focused on changes to CRM, there are still oodles to showcase with Dynamics 365 for Operations. We won't cover them all, but we'll at least give you the necessities. But before we get started, hear from our ERP Practice Director, Carri Lesatz, on what exactly Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is and how PowerObjects can help!

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Now let's cover the latest and greatest applications:

The Name – Okay…Not an Application, but we Need to Cover This First

New Applications – Dynamics 365 for Talent

New Application – Dynamics 365 for Retail

New Application – Microsoft Relationship Sales

There are plenty of new features and updates with the latest changes to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition. While we can't cover them all in one blog, we hope this give you the jump start you need to prepare your business for the changes to come!

Happy Dynamics 365'ing!