What are the top 7 productivity tools in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

The new Microsoft Dynamics 365, which includes CRM (Client Relationship Management) and Dynamics CRM Online 2016, includes a myriad of features that takes the CRM experience to the next level.

These latest improvements are focused on enabling businesses to deliver a better customer experience through enhanced productivity tools, machine learning intelligence, predictive capabilities and enhancements to the user experience, in particular for those in service based roles.

There are so many great features it’s hard to cover them all. Here’s my pick:

1. Social Engagement

Microsoft’s social engagement capability creates new opportunities for organisations to build and maintain relationships. It integrates with Dynamics CRM to allow you to search social media platforms, news, forums and custom sources such as blogs.

You can tailor views based on roles so sales people, for example, can find leads and get a feel of the conversations around targeted accounts. The user can then ascertain social buying signals, dissatisfaction or a need for more information—creating an opportunity to engage.

Social Engagement will automatically detect potential leads versus cases. Suggestions on leads coming in from social channels can increase sales performance and improve customer service by identifying potential cases.

Watch this video on Social Engagement:

2. Interactive service hub

If you work in a service-based organisation, you’ll love this. Dynamics CRM introduces a role-based experience where users can view their workload and interact with records through a real-time dashboard. Cases can be updated directly from the dashboard by selecting the case and the appropriate action.

Watch this video about Interactive Service Hub:

3. Knowledge Management

The new Knowledge Base article designer has an enhanced WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that allows you to embed videos and images. Articles can be scheduled to publish or expire at a nominated date. Knowledge can be enabled on any entity and over 80 languages are supported.

Articles can be shared with external users or analysed internally to better understand how information is used.

Watch this video on knowledge management:

4. Built-in training guides

Fast track user training with Learning Path in-app guides. Each guide is tailored to the user based on their role and other defined criteria. For example, if you’re a sales person, you’ll see guided help just for sales people.

Learning Path takes you through specific tasks step-by-step while using the CRM. It also provides videos, eBooks, and help topics in context just when you need them. You can also create your own guides specific to your organisation and any system customisations.

Watch this video on learning path: 

5. Project management

Project service automation helps sales and delivery teams manage projects in the one platform so they don’t miss a thing.

Project managers and team members can share calendars, files and notes critical for collaboration to help deliver projects on time and on budget to their customers.

Internally, project managers can easily track and manage project status, progress, expenses, invoices, resources, etc. Externally, project status and tasks can be communicated to your customer via the customer portal.

Project service automation capabilities help you:

  • 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

Watch this video on project service capabilities: 

6. Manage your field workforce

Field service is perfect for service depots and highly mobile staff who need to fulfil work orders and provide preventive maintenance across multiple sites under complex service agreements. Reduce cost and improve customer service by getting the right people, with the right skillset to the right place and give them the right resources to do the job.

Schedule work, track inventory and manage assets. Benefits of field service capability include:

  • Centralisation of scheduling and dispatch
  • Communication updates and notifications
  • Work order management
  • Preventative maintenance management
  • Service parts and asset management
  • Inventory management and purchasing
  • Repair and return processing
  • Mobile collaboration and offline access

Watch this video on field service capabilities: 

7. Analytics with enhanced Power BI (Business Intelligence) integration

For those who rely on data to make decisions, Power BI provides data analysis and visualisation capabilities to get better business insights. You can discover, analyse, and share data with the enhanced Power BI integration. What's new:

  • Key indicators such as cases created, cases resolved, satisfaction percentage, top agent leaders, and most used and viewed Knowledge Base articles.
  • 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.
  • Improved Sales Manager Content Pack includes OData (Open Data Protocol) version 4.0 support.

Watch this video on Power BI: 

In summary

There's a lot to digest with the new features of Dynamics 365 and CRM Online 2016, so I’ve made it short and sweet for you.

  1. Social engagement: For sales & marketing teams to listen to brand and customer sentiment to develop new opportunities, improve customer service and align sales & marketing activities with customer needs
  2. Interactive service hub: For customer service teams who can view and update activities directly from their dashboard
  3. Knowledge management: Internally and externally share and update knowledge such as frequently occurring issues, FAQs, videos, etc.
  4. Built-in training guides: Role based in-program guides to get new users up-to-speed
  5. Project management: One-stop shop for project managers. Keeps track of project tasks, resources, time frames, budget, invoices, suppliers, etc.
  6. In-field workforce management: For service providers to schedule work, track inventory and manage assets on the move.
  7. Power BI: easy reporting of key indicators now integrated with CRM

Feel free to contact me for more information about Dynamics 365 and CRM capability.

Paul Griffin, Business Solutions Manager - Microsoft Dynamics
Phone +61 3 9922 5519


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