Do you want to staff your business 24/7 to meet customer demands? No, not many do.

Hence the Dynamics 365 Self Service Portal. Your customers can find out what they need to know, when they want to know it without you paying someone to be there. There are four defined templates; Customer Service, Partner Support, Community Engagement and Employee Self Service. It’s included with every subscription so you can improve your accessibility and service levels without an additional fee.

Do you put customer surveys out using an externally integrated tool? Tomorrow, we talk Voice of the Customer Surveys.


Keeping on top of your social channels can be laborious and disjointed from your other systems.

Step up Microsoft Social Engagement. Available to all subscribers (thought subject to the usual security permissions), what’s happening on social will connect to Dynamics 365 and trigger actions such as alerting you to negative threads. A customer’s social account can be linked giving you a full picture of what’s of interest to them and any direct social interactions they’ve had with you such as a message on Facebook. You can add multiple streams so Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and so on that will let you keep a track of competitor activity, subject discussions, customer interactions. Users can search by activity and choose a format to surface the results.

Want to know how Dynamics 365 will help your customers help themselves. Find out tomorrow.

Dynamics 365 now provides a Non-Production environment as standard when you are purchasing full user licenses (apps or plans).

This is effectively your testing environment and you get one non-production environment per love instances (although more can be purchased). Users can test, develop, demonstrate or design changes to the Dynamics 365 set up without putting it live. It’s a big improvement on what was on offer with Dynamics CRM when only 25 or more users received a non-production instance. Customers with fewer than 25 users either had to publish their customisations directly on their live instance, or pay an add-on cost for a sandbox. Neither of these were great scenarios for businesses who needed to phase in changes for employees or who had concerns about testing on live systems. Thankfully, Dynamics 365 includes 1 x non-production instance as default enabling all administrations to test updates separate from their live CRM instance.

Interested in how Dynamics 365 integrates with social activity? Join us tomorrow to find out.

We now feel that realistically, there’s very little reason for anyone to be On-Premise now.

With Microsoft’s UK Data Centre, your Cloud storage is governed within the UK with other data centres throughout Europe and the US should you need them. The security is tight. Even the UK’s Ministry of Defence is using Microsoft Cloud in the UK. There’s a lower hardware investment, a lower IT resource requirement and it’s quick to set up. The Dynamics 365 Online offering is always going to be more comprehensive than On-Premise. It’s simply the way the world is going and it makes sense to go with it. If you’re currently on premise, your transition to Dynamics 365 is the time to look to Cloud to make the most of all the features and save money over the longer term. Dynamics 365 for On-Premise is still a strong product, but we think, over time, you’ll have to accept that there will be features and benefits that you’ll lose out on. This is not yet confirmed but we believe that the tools available to provide Online services cannot always be used to provide On Premise services. Assuming that’s the case, there will be instances where Microsoft need to use a tool that will be available Online, but not On Premise such as tiered pricing, PowerApps, Enterprise Plan functionality limitations and use right differences on Team Members.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk a little about the Non-Production Instance.

The Dynamics 365 for Marketing App hasn’t launched yet but we’re excited about the announcement that Adobe integration will be at its core, delivering all the power of the Adobe marketing suite from within your CRM. We believe it will include everything you’d expect and need to drive initial target audience awareness, to nurture and convert your prospects and of course, to ensure customer engagement and retention.

In the meantime, the Dynamics 365 for Sales App integrates nicely with Power Mail Chimp for email, or Click Dimensions for marketing automation, both tools that we have always recommended.

Tomorrow, we’ll help you with the Cloud vs On Premise debate.

This is the tool for businesses with staff working out in the field such as engineers, contractors, installers, surveyors and/or maintenance.

The flow of information between users results in smoother processes and as you’d expect, happier customers. For example, an office based user may generate a work order defining the task, the skills needed, required parts and job duration. The best Field Service employee is identified by availability, location, skills and inventory. The service request is scheduled and field employees are notified of their allocation whilst the job is posted to the Scheduling Board where the status of scheduled works and resource availability is summarised for office staff to monitor. Field users are informed of new jobs by text, email or phone. They can see their scheduled work orders, read job notes, get directions, manage the parts they need, take notes, upload images, confirm location, submit sign off confirmation and create follow up work orders if required. All of this is happening on Dynamics 365 meaning that the single customer view is consistently accurate providing the management users with insights to drive improvements.

Sadly, the Dynamics 365 for Marketing App won’t be released in time for those Christmas events but we’ll tell you what we do know tomorrow.

This is Dynamics 365’s Project Management tool.

If there is any point in your business process flow where you need to manage a project, you can hook everything into the CRM, manage your time against it and your sales/customer services teams can see everything that is happening. The functionality lends itself extremely well to the complex projects that manufacturers need to manage.

The single customer view continues to be invaluable, helping your team run projects more effectively thanks to better internal collaboration, saving time and effort. The app includes Project Estimates, Gantt Chart, Approve Project Expenses, Project Contracts, Manage Project Resources, Customer Billing, Mobile Productivity and Resource Competencies.  Users that only need to submit time and expense entries can do so with the Team Member license. It also includes Non-Production License, Social Engagement, Knowledge Management, Voice of the Customer and Team Member capabilities.

Tomorrow, we’ll give you a snapshot of The Dynamics 365 Field Service App

Dynamics 365 for Customer Service is another example of how Microsoft are bringing collaboration to businesses.

Traditionally, Customer Service may have operated without sight of the rest of a customer’s interactions with the business. With this app, users can raise cases but see what else is happening e.g. outstanding invoices, pending complaints or enquiries, recent feedback etc. and be guided through the best next action. It vastly improves customer service, but also increases opportunities.  The unified platform makes customer information available across all relevant roles and departments with one single customer view. It can be accessed anywhere via Outlook with full read across all Dynamics 365 Applications. At an edit level, processes include Enterprise Case Management, Unified Service Desk, Customer Service Agents Queues and Scripts, Customer Service SLAs and Entitlements, Contracts and Contract Templates, Facilities and Equipment, Services, Resources and Work Hours. It also includes Non-Production License, Social Engagement, Knowledge Management, Mobile Offline, Voice of the Customer and Team Member capabilities.

Tomorrow we’ll give you the lowdown on what the Project Service Automation App is all about.

The functionality of the Sales App has been designed to allow your sales team to run efficiently.

It has the same core functionality as Dynamics CRM Online but with the massive benefit of being able to see what’s going on elsewhere in the business that will help the Sales users to spot opportunities.

Access is desktop, tablet, mobile and via Outlook to sales lead management, sales opportunity management, competitor tracking, sales product management, sales price lists, sales quote, sales order, sales invoice, marketing lists, marketing and quick campaigns, unified service desk, sales goals, territory management, business units and teams.  It also includes Non-Production License, Social Engagement, Mobile Offline, PowerApps for Sales, Knowledge Management, Voice of the Customer and Team Member capabilities.

Tomorrow we’ll give you the quick hit on The Dynamics 365 Customer Service App.

Team Member Licensing lets businesses license read access to apps that the user doesn’t require full access (write/edit) to.

It allows those users to have full visibility of a customer’s interaction with other departments, making it easier to spot opportunities, potential problems and to improve customer service. So, you may have some users on Plan 2, giving them read/write/edit access to all available apps but only require other users to be able to see what’s going on. Instead of paying for these users to have full access, you buy them light access to read only. It is a much more cost effective way of keeping transparency throughout the business and it’s tiered too, offering further cost benefits where you have multiple team members. Of course, you can restrict certain views if required. Where a business buys a user an individual app on plan 1, it will include a team member’s license for other apps that the business licenses for other users. Team Member access varies between plan 1 and 2.

Knowing what to get someone for Christmas is a headache. We gave our Sales team Sales App licenses. We’ll tell you about it tomorrow.