An Overview of Project services

Project services for Dynamics CRM has been released in the CRM Online Spring release. Project services will enable all aspects of a project to be managed in CRM from Pre sales opportunity management through to project planning, delivery and billing.

Project services will be delivered under an add on license to a CRM Online Basic or Professional sku. When trialing Dynamics CRM Online you will be able to load as a solution a trial of Project services.

The core capabilities of Project Services are:

  • Opportunity Management
    • Estimate, quote, and contract work, Plan and assign resources and Enable team collaboration
    • This great feature allows for a project quote to be created off the back of a work break down structure definition. As pre sales you will be create a draft project, start from a project template and adapt for the specific needs of the opportunity. Once the plan has been approved you can import in the project lines in to the quote and summarise the details by role or phase. Using the new word template functionality you will then be able to create a nice looking word document for your quote / statement of work.
  • Project-based contracts
    • Project contracts relate quotes and orders to project plans, financial estimates, labour pricing, and billing arrangements, like time and materials or fixed price. The contract highlights key metrics, including profitability and feasibility.
  • Project planning
    • Visual project planning and estimation includes predecessors, automatic task scheduling, and views of sales and cost information for time and expenses. You can use the resulting plan in quotes and project contracts.
    • WBSpic
  • Resource management
    • Resource information includes the skills and proficiencies of your workforce. You can view and filter resources based on skills and availability, so you can assign the right people to the right projects. You can also track resource utilization and forecasting metrics.
    • Resourcing of projects can be performed by a centralized user role or by the project manager depending on your organisation needs.
    • Resource Availability screenshot
    • ResourceAvailability
    • Resource Utilisation screenshot
    • Resource Utilisation
  • Time and expenses
    • Capture time, expense, and progress data for real-time insights and accurate invoicing
    • Team members can use the web or mobile apps to record time and expenses for multiple projects. Managers can easily approve new entries while understanding the financial implications of the newly-approved items.
    • Screenshot of the time recording grid view
    • timerecording
  • Project billing
    • Project invoices reflect the terms of the contract and the approved work and expenses. The financial impact of project work, including costs, unbilled revenue, and invoices, is recorded for use in analytics and integration into financial systems.
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What’s new in the CRM 2016 Spring Release

Dynamics CRM 2016 Online SP1 has been released and again its another big release for Dynamics with a lot of new capabilities being added. The focus has been heavily on expanding the service and mobile capabilities of Dynamics CRM

In this blog I will summarise some of the changes and values that they bring you as a business:

Mobile:

  • The big news here is that it has gone Offline, you can now define the rules for offline access via the new administration settings area in Dynamics. Some caveats to be aware of, its only available to organisations that have 5 or more professional licenses or 1 enterprise license, the licenses do need to be assigned to users for mobile offline to be engaged, it is not available for trial or sandbox environment, and any changes to a user security privileges will not take effect for offline until after the next synchronization.
  • Data for the offline users is stored in a separate SQL Azure Database and for offline access stored on the device in a local database. It is important if you are going to use CRM Mobile Offline that you utilize tools like Intune to manage the devices connecting for security of local data. iOS and Android mobile applications can now be managed in Intune MAM without enrolling the device.
  • For more information on setting up Mobile offline see Offline User Guide
  • Other mobile enhancements include the ability for service reps to manage Knowledge base articles
  • For sales professionals to manage quotes, orders and invoices via mobile
  • Improved start up performance after admin changes
  • Ability to set-up mobile device conditional access – You configure conditions for CRM access at the Azure Active Directory group level. For example, you might want to set up conditions that require multi-factor authentication for mobile users accessing CRM when they’re not at work—or maybe you want to require it at all times. You can also set up conditions that require the user’s mobile device to be compliant with your policies before the user can access CRM.

Productivity:

As with every release a high degree of focus is placed on productivity as with this release. The following improvements have been made:

  • Collaboration with Office Groups – Office groups can now be reconnected to other records in CRM.
    • Notification of deleted groups within CRM to allow you to reconnect to another group
    • Project team members are automatically added to a group
  • Email signatures – you can now define signatures for users and queues for web client emails
  • Inline Help – Learning path is a new guided user experience tailored to roles in the organisation. The first release will see the content pre canned for some of the new features, we hope in future releases this will be opened up for configuration so that we can create personalized content for a releases

Service

Service has seen some major enhancements with the release of Project and Field Services as core components of Dynamics CRM Online. These new features are licensed as an add on to a Basic license so are not included in the base license.

  • Project Services – manage project based sales, includes:
    • Estimate, quote, and contract work
    • Plan and assign resources
    • Enable team collaboration
    • Capture time, expense, and progress data for real-time insights and accurate invoicing
    • Project based contracts
    • Project planning
    • Resource management
    • Time and expenses
    • Project billing
    • Watch the video at Project services YouTube video
  • Manage your Field service workflows
    • Field service, the recent FieldOne acquisition has now been fully embedded and enhanced for Dynamics CRM.
    • Field service is an end-to-end solution that delivers advanced scheduling, inventory tracking, and asset management for service depots and highly mobile, in-field specialists who need to fulfill work orders and provide preventive maintenance across multiple sites under complex service agreements.
  • Create SLAs for any entity
    • With this release you can now easily create SLAs for a select few system entities and all custom entities. For example you could create an SLA for a Lead first response in, conversion SLA. Lots of possibilities for SLA configuration.
    • The following system entities are included:
      • All activity entities (such as Email, Task, and Appointment) except recurring appointments
      • Account
      • Contact
      • Invoice
      • Opportunity
      • Quote
      • Lead
      • Order
    • For more information on SLA configuration see My post on SLA set-up and SLA Help guide
  • Interactive service hub enhancements
    • Apply service level agreements (SLAs) for Case and custom entities. This functionality is the same whether you use the web client or the interactive service hub.
    • Track progress of SLA KPIs with the timer control.
    • Remove redundancies between similar cases by merging them into a single case.
    • Access forms and dashboards easily using keyboard navigation

Analytics Features

  • New Service Content Pack includes several key indicators such as cases created, cases resolved, satisfaction percentage, top agent leaders, and most used and viewed KB articles.
  • Improved Sales Manager Content Pack includes OData (Open Data Protocol) version 4.0 support.
  • The ability to embed Power BI tiles directly into CRM user dashboards. This allows you to launch an interactive report from Power BI tiles directly from a CRM user dashboard, without having to switch to the Power BI service.

Portals

Self service portals will be released slightly after the general release of Dynamics CRM Online and will include a set of preconfigured portals that can be deployed utilizing the Adxstudio recent acquisition capability. The following portals will be made available and will utilize Azure services:

  • Custom portal. The custom portal is a basic portal that contains flows and pages common to all portals. It includes basic support content as well as custom applications to meet the specific support needs of different organizations, including login/authentication features and contact pages.
  • Customer Self-Service portal. Lets customers access self-service knowledge and support resources, increasing customer satisfaction, reducing call center volumes, and ultimately allowing service agents to focus their efforts on issues of greatest impact.
  • Employee Self-Service portal. Creates an efficient and well-informed workforce by streamlining common tasks and empowering every employee with a definitive source of knowledge. Employee self-service is now available worldwide using CRM and portal capabilities, and is available in all CRM Online markets.
  • Community portal. Enables peer-to-peer interactions between experts in the community, subject matter experts within an organization, and internal and external users. Communities organically grow the catalog of available knowledge from knowledge base articles, forums, and blogs. Participants can provide feedback through rating and comments features. Contributors can also receive alerts on content revisions and workflow updates.
  • Partner portal. Create an environment for interacting with your partners and collaborating on sales opportunities to provide products and services based on your customers’ needs.

Unified Service Desk Enhancements

A number of improvements were made to the Unified service desk these include:

  • Interactive service hub integration. The interactive service hub can now be integrated with Unified Service Desk so users can open and control interactive service hub pages inside Unified Service Desk.
  • Windows Update. Unified Service Desk also supports Windows Update now. Windows Update is an easy and free way to help keep Microsoft applications (like the Unified Service Desk client) safer and running smoothly. Just turn it on, and you’ll get the latest security and other important updates from Microsoft automatically, or you can choose to apply updates manually.
  • Demo packages. New demo packages include samples for new Unified Service Desk environments, upgrading existing Unified Service Desk environments, interactive service hub integration, and Dynamics CRM 2013 or later web client.
  • Telemetry. You can now help improve Unified Service Desk by sending usage data to Microsoft anonymously.

Company News

  • The Company news and timeline solution lets users see the latest and most important news from Bing news on their mobile devices. News articles are organized by time (Today, This Week, Last Week) and contain the headline, date/time, and source of the news article. Important events are detected and categorized, including management changes, earnings releases, new offerings, cost cutting, growth, legal issues, acquisitions, and partnerships.You can use a new custom control to add and configure a news feed for the mobile apps.

Hybrid server-side sync (CRM on premises to Exchange Online)

  • You can use server-side synchronization to automatically synchronize email, tasks, appointments, and contacts between CRM and Microsoft Exchange. Now you can do a reverse-hybrid scenario by connecting CRM on-premises with Exchange Online. This means you can now use server-side synchronization for all four connection scenarios:
  • Serversidesync CRM 2016SP1

CRM APP for Outlook available for CRM On Premise

  • The CRM APP introduced in the CRM Online 2016 release is now available for CRM ON Premise. The following table defines the versions and functions available:
    Read email Compose email
    Outlook on the web (OWA) on all major desktop browsers Yes Yes
    Outlook 2013 Yes No
    Outlook 2016 Yes Yes
    Outlook for Mac Yes No

 

Customer Field

  • The customer field is a special field you find on some custom entities that let you select an account or contact record as the customer. In the new release you will be add a new field as a type of Customer to your system entities.
  • This feature will be available slightly after the general release of CRM

Dynamics CRM 2016 Release Preview Information

Dynamics CRM 2016 in the name of the next release for Dynamics CRM expected this Fall (December / January), and what a release it looks like it will be.

I have listed some resources that share some of the new features and content:

Microsoft Blog by Bob Stutz

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 – Delivering the Next Generation of Intelligent Customer Engagement

YouTube Video on the new features

Youtube2016

Preview Guide

CRMPreviewGuide2016

Critical update planned for Dynamics CRM in April for any Chrome based users

If you use Chrome to access Dynamics CRM then please read:

Users of Dynamics CRM that use Chrome as a browser to access Dynamics CRM due to a Chrome update (version 37 or higher) support for some features in Dynamics CRM has been deprecated. The deprecated feature of Dynamics CRM is the support for Modal Dialogues i.e. if you open up the form customisation and try and save and publish in Chrome on the latest version you may notice it does not save or publish.  This is because Dynamics CRM is using a modal dialogue, likewise you may see this behaviour on editing dashboards or updating status reasons. The current fix for this is a registry update which can be found here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3000002, or using an alternative browser.

Microsoft has just announced that in April they will be releasing updates that will fix the feature deprecation. In order for customers, who are using Chrome browser, to continue to function, they will need to upgrade to the upcoming CRM versions listed below:

CRM 2011 – A COD will be delivered on CRM 2011 UR18(On prem Only)

CRM 2013 – A COD will be delivered in CRM 2013 UR3(On prem Only)

CRM 2013 SP1 – Fix will be included in CRM 2013 SP1 UR3(Online & On Prem)

CRM 2015 – Fix will be included in CRM 2015 UR1(Online & On Prem)

*Note: COD = Critical On Demand Fix

Please be aware that these updates are coming and will need to be applied to your environments to ensure Chrome based users can fully function on the latest versions. If you need support from Intergen to help with these updates then pleas get in contact with your Customer Services Manager or Account Manager or get in contact with me.

Dynamics CRM 2015 available for download, all links included

It is here CRM2015 has been released. Details below:

For CRM Online, provision a new trial and you are up and running with CRM 2015. If you are an existing customer you will be able to schedule your upgrade to occur via the CRM admin centre in the Office 365 Portal. To access, just log in to Office 365 and then select Admin -> CRM. See this video for more information https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f3KTlFaQ64&list=PLRvH_Jgj96NlxvDPfoNw28caAHn0zU6dJ&index=13

For On Premise customers, you can download the new server components from here:

Naked CRM blog is featured in the top 25 Dynamic CRM sites

This week my blog was featured in the top 25 dynamic CRM blog, but more to the point the list is a resource for CRM information. Lots of my fellow CRM MVPs are mentioned so great work and keep up the posting!

For the complete list see https://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/dynamics101trainingcentercrm/archive/2014/09/29/top-25-dynamics-crm-sites.aspx.

Thanks again Microsoft Dynamics Community.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide in the public domain!

Its exciting times again as we are again looking forward to the next instalment of Dynamics CRM named Dynamics CRM 2015 due to be released in the Fall 2014, for non US customers this is the 4th quarter of the calendar year. As with previous releases I would expect this to be the later part of the quarter.

So first of all here is the link to the preview guide: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide and the link to the press release http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2014/sep14/09-16crmpr.aspx

So what can we expect in the next release, lots in short, but in summary:

  • Dynamics Marketing
    • Multi-channel marketing
    • Email editor – with drag and drop features
    • Campaign Management Console enabling A/B testing, cross channel operations and others
    • Integrated Social Listening with embedded social insights for CRM
    • Sales Collaboration via a marketing calendar
    • B2B Marketing with enhanced rules and webinar integration
    • Marketing Resource Management with new calendars
    • Internal Process Automation via approval workflows
    • Geographical Expansion
  • Sales
    • Improvements to the sales processes enabling branching of the process based on business rules applied in real time
    • Product Families enabling bundling of products, product lifecycles, product attributes that can be inherited and identifying cross sell and up sell products and territory price plans
    • Sales Hierarchies for accounts, products and users that enable traversing a tree hierarchy. The hierarchy can include roll up fields
  • CRM for Tablets
    • Role tailored dashbaords
    • Hierarchy views
    • Offline draft mode
  • Customer Service
    • Further Case Management enhancements including pause and resume SLAs,  and tracking time of case on hold or waiting on customer,
  • Microsoft Social Listening
    • Further Source analysis
    • Location filters
    • More availability options
  • Platform enhancements
    • Global search similar to the existing mobile client search
    • Search added to navigation bar
    • Advanced find button added to the navigation bar
    • Synchronise additional types of information with Outlook
    • Enhanced Business rules
      • They now execute everywhere including server side
      • Richer business logic with If and Else If statements
      • Pre filling information when a record is created
    • Business process flows can now be accessed via the client API
    • Calculated fields (yeah) are now supported
    • Roll-up fields are now supported
    • Field Level Security is now supported for out of the box fields
  • A new updated compatibility list can be found here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2669061