Releasing an update to Dynamics CRM is an easy way to get me excited. Whether it was the navigation improvements introduced in the 2015 Spring Wave or the ability to configure Word templates Microsoft rolled out with Dynamics CRM 2016, there’s always something I can see myself using and a few things I think our CRM clients will appreciate.
With the general availability of Dynamics CRM 2016 Spring Wave hitting on May 23, I wanted to take you through my top 3 new features. End users probably won't see them until June.
1) Project Service
This isn’t a single feature, it’s a major addition to CRM that allows you to quote, sell and manage multi-day projects directly within CRM. According to Microsoft it was developed with Microsoft Partners in mind – which might explain why I’m so excited about it – but anyone that’s struggled with project management can see the value in this feature.
You can start by setting up price lists for time and materials and using them to accurately quote out engagements. Once you’ve secured the business, you assign out resources – sorted by availability and skills. Finally, using the CRM mobile app or the CRM calendar, the resources track time and materials directly within CRM, ensuring accurate and efficient invoicing.
2) Field Service
A few months back Microsoft acquired FieldOne, a fantastic third-party field service provider. It was just a matter of time until it was officially incorporated into Dynamics CRM and it’s finally happened. With FieldOne you can manage work orders, schedule resources (like trucks, crews or equipment) and quickly invoice for completed work orders.
For any business that has field employees working at client sites, this is a game changer. Those employees no longer need to call or visit the office to see what they’ve got schedule for the day. They can also close work orders in real time from mobile devices, which means you can invoice quicker and get a real-time view of what’s being worked on.
3) Guided Navigation
I made this my number three pick because I think it’s got a lot of potential and addresses one of the most common issues we encounter with new CRM clients. Right now, guided navigation includes a canned series of prompts and videos that guide new users through some of the basic steps within CRM. It's customized to each use based on security role and how much they've accessed the system. (Early on they get basic naivgation tips, later they'll see move advanced content.) It’s useful, but kind of limited.
However, I see this is as the first step towards allowing customers to build fully customized navigational aids. As someone who has seen users struggle when trying to master the basics of CRM, I can see the ability to develop a set of prompts that supplement user training as a game-changer for a lot of less tech-savvy users.