The Microsoft Dynamics 365 9.0 update is here, and includes some impressive new features and designs, and even a couple things we’ve been wanting for a long time.
Now that I’ve had a chance to explore the new features, here are my top five favorite things about the new Dynamics 365 9.0 update:
#1: New look and feel
I really like the new look and feel of the screens. They’re really widgetized, if that’s a real word.
Take the account list. The screen looks a lot like the version that you would see on a tablet. It’s a lot cleaner and easier to read, and more consistent across devices. You’ll see it the same way on your browser as you will inside of the tablet.
The old version of the accounts list was not as crisp and clean and easy to display on the screen. But I really like the new layout.
If we start drilling into records, those screens are a lot cleaner now, too. Microsoft has eliminated a lot of the dead space, so all that extra white that you were seeing before that really just took up space on the screen and didn’t benefit you has been cleaned up.
There is more color to help organize information. Many headings are in light gray backgrounds that contrast against the white of ordinary fields. The fonts are more consistent, cleaner, and easier to read.
All this combines really nicely. As you click through, you’ll find that your screens look a lot better. The content fits your screen a lot nicer, and information is easier to see and process quickly. Hopefully, some of the changes many of us made in the past to live with older interfaces will now be unnecessary, and we can use the standard forms moving forward.
#2: Editable panel colors
I love that now you can change the panel colors inside of the sub-grids. You can color code the system a little better after the Dynamics 365 9.0 update.
For example, if you look at an account form, you can see the information is divided into distinct areas or panels. So you’ve got your account information, you have your timeline, you have your contacts, you have recent opportunities. Let’s say you want to change those recent opportunities to be a different color to stand out to users. You can do this now! See the video above for step-by-step instructions.
It might be a small thing to change panel colors but it actually can make a nice impact. We’re reminding our users to look in a certain location, or organizing information by color. It just makes the page look so much more organized, which I love.
#3: MultiSelect Option Set
The thing I really love about this update is the multi selection option set. I know it sounds simple but it never existed before and it actually would require a lot of programming and custom work to be done. We have been pushing for this feature for so long, and I’m really excited it’s finally here.
Multi selection option set is what it sounds like. It’s an option set that gives us more than one option. Before the Dynamics 365 9.0 update, we were limited to single selections on option sets. When we had an overlap of options, our only choice before was putting each option separately.
For instance, let’s say we’re tracking medical facilities for our customers. We want to know whether each facility includes a hospital, pharmacy, dental office, and/or family care center. A hospital could also include a pharmacy and we’d want to select more than one option there. When we add a new field to our account entity, we can now set that field as MultiSelect Option Set. See the video above for step-by-step instructions.
Now keep in mind that when you’re setting up a field you really want to think through whether it should be a multi selection option set or just a single selection. After you’ve established the field, you won’t be able to take a single selection option set and upgrade it to a multi selection, so really think it through with your team. If you’re not sure, I would set up a multi selection option set. That way you have that option there for the future in case you ever need it.
#4: Built-in Microsoft Flow integration
Microsoft Flow is incorporated inside of the system and you can now run it from records directly. If you’ve set up different flows to advance Dynamics 365 information into a different format or system, you can now perform those flows directly from records on demand.
Let’s say I’m on an account record. I can click the ellipses at the top of my screen, select the Flow, and then run whatever Flow I want on the account. That could be to send an email, or some other function that’s automated through Microsoft Flow. End users can actually perform flows on the records without contacting administrators.
You’re not just limited to the account entity. You can use contacts, opportunities, leads, whatever you need to. Most often, you’ll be using flows with leads, but you can always use them against other types of records.
#5: Sales Hub
Last but not least, I really love the new Sales Hub. Sales Hub launches Dynamics 365 in a different format intended to work for tablets and mobile. The navigation bar is on the left instead of at the top of the screen, and the display is a lot more streamlined. It’s really nice and slick and I think a lot of sales people will really prefer this over looking at Dynamics 365 in traditional format.
The navigation buttons on the left still let you go to your dashboards, which load nicely in the slick new format. Across the top of your screen are nice new action buttons that just look a lot cleaner and easier to read. You can add things quickly and easily, and your search functionality is still there for you of course.
You also have task flows you can click to quickly update records. You don’t need to actually go to the record. Instead, it’s pulled up nicely in a quick sneak peek format. This could be really, really handy for salespeople who want to look for, create, or update appointments, contacts, etc.
The Sales Hub layout is nice and easy to use, and still gives you that same Dynamics 365 functionality. It just uses a slightly different layout and feature set for the data on your screen. It works especially well on your mobile devices. If you click on a phone number, for example, Sales Hub knows that you’re dialing out. The traditional Dynamics 365 instance doesn’t do this.