Comparing Dynamics 365 Outlook App to Dynamics 365 Outlook Client

By Brian Dewulf, CRM Practice Director

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM (now D365) Outlook client has long been a staple of most CRM implementations.  The client provides the ability to access CRM directly from Outlook. It also allows for synchronization of data between Outlook and CRM.  The Outlook client does have some drawbacks.  It requires the full version of Microsoft Outlook. It is an application which must be installed on every client computer.  It tends to get disconnected from CRM, often leading to the need for technical support calls.  It also only works when Outlook is open.  This becomes an issue when you have workflows that are sending emails on behalf of a user.  If that user is on vacation, and their PC is shut down, those workflow emails won’t be sent until the user logs back into Outlook.

To overcome these issues, Microsoft released the Outlook app.  The app has been around for a few years now, but some recent enhancements have finally made it a valid replacement for the Outlook client.  Here are some of the main reasons that I recommend using the Outlook app instead of the Outlook client.

  1. The Outlook app supports Outlook (full client), Outlook Web Access (OWA) and Outlook mobile.  The Outlook client only works with the full Outlook client.
  2. The Outlook app is pushed out to the client directly from within D365.  There is no need to manually touch every client computer.  Pushing the client to a user once will provide the Outlook app functionality to all supported platforms that the user may access.
  3. The app does not require the user to be logged into Outlook to work.  Synchronization of Outlook data happens server-side. No need to worry about those workflow emails not getting delivered.
  4. The Outlook app provides an easy method to create appointments, phone calls, and tasks that are associated with D365 records.
  5. When an Outlook item is tracked to D365, the contact card for the D365 record is displayed, providing basic information about that record.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the app.  First, server-side synchronization with Exchange is required.  If your environment does not support server-side synchronization you will not be able to use the app.  Second, the app does not provide an interface to navigate D365.  You would need to access CRM using a browser or one of the mobile apps.  Below are some screen shots of the app and how it is configured in D365. We also have a video walkthrough of the app on our YouTube channel.

Clicking the D365 icon, highlighted in yellow, will open the Dynamics 365 pane.  Clicking the plus sign icon, also in yellow, in the regarding box provides the ability to create a new task, appointment, or phone call for that D365 record.

The screenshot below displays the results of clicking the create phone call option.

This screenshot shows an appointment:

In D365, click on Settings, Dynamics 365 App for Outlook to manage the app.  Users who have been configured with server-side synch will show up in the list of available users.

Click here to view a walkthrough of the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook.

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So What Happened to Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Well, it has reinvented itself with a new name, new features and a new, flexible-licensing model. 

On November 1, 2016, Microsoft launched Dynamics 365—a modern, mobile and intelligent ERP AND CRM cloud business application. With this transition, the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is now within three distinct apps:

  1. Sales
  2. Marketing
  3. Service

Like the CRM you already know, these three Microsoft Dynamics 365 apps still work seamlessly together in the cloud.

New Name

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is now known as Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Marketing and Service.

New Features

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is simple to use and, because it lives in the cloud, you can access it from anywhere (on any device), simply by logging into your Microsoft account. Productivity tools like Office 365 and Adobe’s Marketing Cloud seamlessly integrate within Dynamics 365. Additionally, features that have previously been costly add-ons to Dynamics CRM, will now be built within these applications including social listening and knowledge management functionality.

Plus, intelligence features like Cortana, Power BI and Azure Learning Machine are integrated within the Dynamics 365 subscription. Speaking of subscription, Dynamics 365 is now licensed in a new, flexible way.

New License Model

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is built on a subscription licensing model, which means:

  • Lower monthly costs
  • The most up-to-date features and versions
  • Costs are based on consumption (per user/per month basis)

Start with what you need to run your business and then add apps as your needs change. The Sales, Marketing and Service Apps– are now separately licensed, but they will work together like the CRM you know and love. Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives businesses more choices.

There are two editions within Dynamics 365: Business and Enterprise.

The Business Edition (releasing in spring 2017) will include Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Apps for organizations with 0 users or less. Each business application will cost $40 per user/per month, or you can purchase a plan for $50, which includes all of the applications and functionality.

The Enterprise Edition (available now) includes: Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service and Project Service Automation for organizations with over 250 users. Each enterprise application is individually priced at $95 per user/per month, or you can purchase a plan starting at $70 per user/per month, which includes all of the applications.

Contact us to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics for Sales, Marketing & Service.

Implementing Editable Grids in Dynamics 365 Step-by-Step

By Ryan Talsma, CRM Product Manager

What Are Editable Grids?

Editable grids have certainly been one of the most requested features within the Dynamics CRM community for years, and we are very excited about it now being built in as standard functionality within the latest release of Dynamics 365. Editable grids provide you the ability to edit records from directly within a view without out even having to open the record. Editable grids can also be activated in sub-grids as well. Additionally, this functionality is not exclusive to the web client and works within the phone and tablet interfaces as well.

How Do Editable Grids Work?

Working within editable grids within Dynamics 365 is very easy and takes minimal time for users to learn how to use them. Users who specifically like to manage their records in an “Excel” type environment will have a very high adoption rate to this functionality, as they are now able to work with multiple records in an overview grid format as opposed to having to open records individually. Once, enabled a user simply can click within any given column on a specific record, and make the necessary changes.

Shown below is an example of editable grids enabled on my Account entity, where I am able to quickly and easily update the phone number for a specific account:

How Do I Enable Editable Grids?

Editable grids can be activated very quickly and easily by navigating to the Settings module. Under the Customization section, select Customizations, and then finally click Customize the System. Editable grids are enabled at the entity level. Select the entity you want to enable editable grids for, click the control tab, and add the editable grid control. In my example below, I will enable editable grids for the Opportunity Entity:

Settings > Customization > Customizations

Select Customize the System

Select the entity, then click the Controls tab, and Add Control…

Select Editable Grid and click Add:

Select the interfaces you want editable grids enabled for, and finally click Save, and then Publish

Upon publishing your changes, you should now be able to navigate back to your Opportunity entity and see that the changes have been published and that the Opportunity entity views are now editable.

Want more in-depth information on editable grids in Dynamics 365? Check out this technet article.

Also for a video demonstration on how to enable editable grids, watch the online video.

About Ryan Talsma:
Ryan Talsma is the CRM Product Manager at InterDyn BMI, who has previously spent time as a functional, technical, and support consultant. Ryan has extensive experience in CRM installs, upgrades, IFD/AD FS implementations, JavaScript, workflows, solution architecture, and implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online as well as On Premise. 

Editable Grids in Dynamics 365

Watch this recorded webinar to get a brief overview of the new editable grids feature in Dynamics 365, including how to configure and enable them, as well as a demonstration of how they work after being configured.

Want to learn more about how CRM works within Dynamics 365? Attend our free webinar on December 6! Register now

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Transition to Dynamics 365

By Brian Dewulf, CRM Practice Manager

Many of you may have already heard about Dynamics 365, the next generation of business applications from Microsoft. If you are like us, you probably have many questions about how this transition will affect your current CRM implementation. As InterDyn BMI’s CRM Practice Manager, I will do my best to answer common questions about this transition and also talk about some of the new features that will be available in this upcoming release.

How will the transition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 affect my current Microsoft Dynamics CRM system?

The answer to that question depends on whether you are running Dynamics CRM on-premises or Dynamics CRM Online.  For those of you currently running an on-premises version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the short answer is, you don’t have to do anything.  You can continue to run your existing version of CRM on-premises for as long as you like.  Those of you using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will need to transition to one of the new Dynamics 365 licensing plans when you current CRM Online agreement expires.  Most CRM Online subscriptions renew annually.  The renewal date is based on when you first signed up for CRM Online.  Your BMI account manager will be able to assist you with this transition.

How do the Dynamics 365 licensing plans differ from Dynamics CRM Online?

Dynamics CRM Online licensing offered several different license options.  Customers could choose between Enterprise, Professional, Basic, Essential, and Self-Service licenses.  Until the recent addition of the field service and project service modules, these licenses gave users differing levels of access to the Sales, Marketing and Customer Service modules. Those are the modules which have traditionally been part of the core CRM functionality.  Two different versions of Dynamics 365 will be available. Dynamics 365 Enterprise becomes available for purchase on November 1, 2016.   Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition includes the traditional core CRM functionality, including the field and project service modules.  In Dynamics 365 these CRM modules are now referred to as “apps”.  These apps can be purchased individually or as part of a plan.  If you only need traditional CRM sales and marketing functionality you could purchase just the Dynamics 365 Sales app.  If you need the traditional CRM service functionality you can purchase the Dynamics 365 Customer Service app.   Also available is the Dynamics 365 Operations app.  This app has traditionally been know as Microsoft Dynamics AX.  It offers a wide range of enterprise resource planning functionality.  Customers requiring access to more than one app have the ability to choose between two different plans. Plan 1 includes all of the traditional CRM functionality, including field and project service.  Plan 2 includes everything in Plan 1, plus Dynamics 365 Operations.  All of these apps and plans have 2 types of licenses, as opposed to the 5 licenses available previously.  For users who only need minimal access to the system, for things like knowledge sharing and BI access, customers can purchase the team member license.  Users who need more than this light access, will require a full license.

What are the benefits of transitioning to Dynamics 365?

  • The primary benefit of transitioning to Dynamics 365 is access to all of the latest features available in this new release. Here is a list of just a few of the new features:
  • Enhancements to the project service module including an integration with Microsoft Project client software
  • An all new business process flow and business rule visual designer with drag-and-drop functionality
  • The ability to launch workflows from business process flows
  • All new editable grid functionality which allows the user to perform inline editing of records in both the web and mobile clients
  • New Email Engagement functionality which allows you to see when your email has been opened, a link has been clicked, an attachment viewed or a reply received
  • The ability to set a reminder to follow-up if you don’t receive a reply or if the email is not opened
  • Relationship Insights analyzes your CRM and Exchange data to provide actionable knowledge about the strength of your customer relationships
  • Enhancements to the CRM App for Outlook including improved performance and support for on-line to on-line, on-prem to on-prem, and hybrid scenarios
  • Native integration between Dynamics 365 Enterprise CRM and Operations apps
  • Microsoft PowerApps and FLOW are new tools designed to allow customer to create “no-code” applications which can connect to multiple data sources, including Microsoft Dynamics 365

InterDyn BMI would be happy to answer any other questions that you may have regarding your specific situation.  Please reach out to your account manager or contact me directly by email: brian.dewulf@interdynbmi.com.