What’s New in Dynamics CRM 2016—My Top 11 List


I’m a CRM guy who happens to be a big fan of mockumentary movies such as This is Spinal Tap.  Every time I hear Nigel talking about his amps “going to 11,” I laugh uncontrollably.

With the release of Dynamics CRM 2016, Microsoft has truly given every CRM aficionado the opportunity to “take it to 11.”   This latest version not only offers significant functionality and feature improvements, it also closes the functionality gap that exists between the 2015 on-premise and online versions. 

As a tribute to Nigel and his cohorts, this post will outline my top 11 features of CRM 2016.  Over the next few blog posts, I’ll do a comprehensive deep-dive on the new functionality.

  1. Interactive Service Hub

    The Interactive Service Hub is a new feature designed for customer service agents.  You can create real-time dashboards that allow your agents or managers to have an interactive, role-based experience.  In addition, you can update case status directly from the dashboard.

     interactive service hub microsoft crm

    The interactive service hub dashboard can be configured as a multi-stream board (targeted for Tier 1 agents) for users to view and act on their workload across multiple data streams.  You can also configure the dashboard as a single-stream dashboard (for Tier 2 agents), which helps keep a user focused on their case queue.

  2. FieldOne (www.fieldone.com)

    Last year, Microsoft acquired FieldOne.  In CRM 2016, the FieldOne Sky solution is available to CRM customers as part of their professional license.  FieldOne is a field service management solution that provides service scheduling, resource management, agreement tracking, inventory tracking and a host of other capabilities available through the CRM web interface, the FieldOne mobile app and CRM portals.  The schedule board is a particularly powerful and useful screen for tracking resources in the field.

     field one schedule board

  3. Case Routing Rules

    Case routing has been around in some form since the 2013 release.  New in 2016 is the ability to Save & Route a case directly from the case record.

     case routing rules

  4. Word Templates

    If you’ve ever tried creating a Word merge template prior to CRM 2016, you know how challenging it can be.  Once you have the template built, actually performing the merge can take upwards of 26 distinct steps to complete.  Not very efficient.

    With CRM 2016, creating, deploying and using Word templates has never been easier!  You can create new forms or use existing ones provided to you by Microsoft.  Here’s an example of an out-of-the-box Word template:

     microsoft word templates

  5. Excel Templates

    The process for creating and using Excel templates is very similar to how you create and use Word templates, with the obvious difference being using Excel instead of Word.  Here’s an example of an Excel template:

     Microsoft Excel templates

  6. CRM App for Outlook

    The CRM App for Outlook is a lightweight app you can use in Outlook 2013 or in Outlook Online to view Dynamics CRM information and track emails from within Outlook.  The CRM data appears directly in your Outlook Inbox.

    Note: This app currently does not synchronize appointments, contacts or tasks, but this functionality is on the radar for future releases.

     microsoft crm app for outlook

  7. Private Document Storage in OneDrive for Business

    Storing documents is available to CRM users through the SharePoint integration.  While it’s an excellent alternative to the CRM Notes functionality, the SharePoint integration does not allow you to limit who has access to the documents. 

    With CRM 2016, you can leverage OneDrive for Business to store your private documents.  If you use Office365 groups, you can then limit which groups can view or edit those documents.

  8. Export/Import with Excel (available in 2015 Update 1 online and 2016 online/on-premise)

    In prior versions of CRM, you have just one option to export and you can only export to an XLS file.  In 2015 Update 1 and 2016, you can export to XLSX files AND use that same spreadsheet to import updated information back into CRM.  Quickly conduct pipeline analysis and update your CRM in one step!  This is fully supported for mobile devices and the CRM app for tablets and phones.

     export/import with microsoft excel

  9. Knowledge Management

    New functionality provides an excellent platform for improved knowledge management for the entire organization.  A new content editor helps keep your knowledge base relevant and timely, and a new curation process is based on Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) methodology.

     knowledge management

  10. Date Math in Calculated Fields (available in 2015 Update 1 online and 2016 online/on-premise)

    Calculated fields are a very powerful way to represent calculated information on a record.  One way calculated fields can help is to determine the age of a record or identify the number of days since last contact.  Prior to 2015 Update 1, date math was not possible with the standard interface.

    With the newer versions of CRM, performing date math is easy, making it possible for you to know at a glance if a deal or lead has gone stale, a case is past due or if a customer needs attention.

     date math

     date math 2

  11. Folder Level Tracking (available in 2015 Update 1 online and 2016 online/on-premise)

    Folder level tracking enables users to designate a folder in Outlook to automatically track emails in CRM.  Any email that is manually moved to that folder or moved using Outlook Rules will be synched to the regarding record you set in CRM!

    Each user can have up to 25 folder tracking rules enabled.  This feature requires Server Side Synchronization enabled and does not support the email router.

     folder level tracking

There you have it!  All the way to 11 for this blog post (and honestly, I probably could have gone to 13 or 14!).  Stay tuned for future blogs as we do a deeper dive into these features and discuss practical applications for them.

By SVA | Feb 25, 2016

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