Despite the challenges businesses currently face in light of Covid-19 and the ongoing lockdown, the demand for sophisticated tools, platforms and services remains as strong as ever, as organisations aim to thrive, not just survive, in the current climate.

Therefore, new details of the highly anticipated Dynamics 365 release wave one will excite businesses across a range of sectors, as they welcome the opportunity to learn more about the innovations and features coming to the platform in the months ahead.

Outlining new features scheduled for release between April and September 2021, release wave one promises business-enhancing capabilities that will allow organisations to improve their operational efficiency and deliver better results to clients.

From improved marketing features, designed to deliver deeper personalisation and better customer engagement, to new sales tools that give businesses access to important data-driven insights, the release plan contains a range of features for businesses to utilise.

In this blog, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the key innovations that organisations should keep an eye out for over the course of release wave one.

Customer insights

The current lockdown means it’s more important than ever for businesses to uncover customer insights based on the data they’ve collected, using these to drive the organisation forward during an uncertain period.

Through the new audience insights capabilities, organisations can better understand their customer data, harnessing it for intelligent insights and actions. Adding the customisation and extensibility capabilities of the customer view, professionals will have the tools needed to drive personalised engagements across various channels.

Using out-of-the-box AI models and custom algorithms, businesses can build on unified profiles to access detailed insights. Through a combination of aggregated audience intelligence from first and third-party enrichments, rich customer profiles can be easily built, allowing businesses to better understand their target audience.

Meanwhile, a new engagement insights feature in Dynamics 365 enables individual and holistic interactive analytics over web, mobile and connected products. Expanding to multichannel analytics with data from other channels, businesses will be able to access more detailed customer analytics and optimisations.

Sales

Widely regarded as the market-leading sales tool, Dynamics 365 Sales empowers organisations to sell more by understanding their customers and the way they want to buy. Built around the customer relationship, the service helps businesses understand customer needs, driving relevant and authentic engagements that make selling easier.

Within the release plan, Microsoft has outlined three key focus areas that will be addressed with the rollout of release wave one, these include:

  • Time saving – new automation and sequences will be introduced that will adapt to the changing needs and behaviours of customers. The record side panel will allow you to customise your workspace in the same place, while the deal manager workspace allows sellers to view information easily.
  • Easy access to intelligence – data-driven insights are needed to make informed day-to-day decisions, and they must be accessible during important moments. Conversation intelligence will provide insights on top of video calls, whilst new filters in the deal manager workspace will allow sellers to search for specific opportunities. New, premade data visualisations will also be made available, offering greater interactivity for users.
  • Enhancing the mobile experience – modern business requires users to remain productive whilst on the move. Therefore, field sellers must have the tools needed to manage their workload from their mobile, so they can monitor and process activities accordingly. With the Dynamics 365 Sales mobile experience, sellers can get up-to-date LinkedIn information relating to meetings, deals and accounts using AI integrated accessibility.

Marketing

The pandemic has changed the business landscape, meaning the rules of engagement have changed and customer expectations have evolved. To have your voice heard above the other noise and distractions, you must be able to deliver the right messages in the right moments, so that they resonate with customers.

Building deep engagement and meaningful connections is now more important than ever before, and the only way to do this effectively, is to infuse data with AI, so that deeper personalisation is possible when it comes to your communications.

In release wave one, businesses can author dynamic content with ease through a new point and click interface, whilst creating deeply personalised emails from a flexible set of data sources. This improved personalisation will allow businesses to connect better with their clients.

Meanwhile, users will be given the tools needed to create meaningful emails quickly, using search, version and mange options to tag their digital assets in a new centralised library. AI-driven recommendations will also be made available, allowing businesses to select and deliver the best image or document within their messages.

Finally, sophisticated analytics features will improve marketing effectiveness, so that businesses achieve their goals quickly. A new set of built-in dashboards will give access to cross-journey insights, allowing organisations to monitor customer journeys in real time.

More to experience…

These three areas are just some of the key focus points of the upcoming release wave – there are many more innovations spanning other important areas such as, finance and operations, human resources, commerce and industry accelerators. The full list of improvements can be found here.

With general availability expected to commence on April 1, businesses have a couple of months to prepare for the release, making the necessary adjustments before the rollout begins.

If, for whatever reason, your business is yet to experience the full potential of Dynamics 365, then now is the perfect time to implement a solution that meets the unique requirements of your business, as the countdown to the official release begins.

If you need help finding a solution that works for your business, then contact our in-house team of experts for further advice and guidance.