Dynamics 365 Spring Release: 5 Takeaways from an Business Solutions MVP


So the Dynamics 365 Spring Release Launch is upon us. 3 days, 14+ hours of videos and presentations and overwhelming amount of content and change. What does it mean for you? Over the next few blog posts, I will attempt to break down the changes and features discussed in each component to help the community understand the impact. However, I felt it would be great to talk about some “Hidden Gems” inside what was actual being presented and as I see it being a Technology Evangelist and MVP.


 

# ONE: DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS HERE TO STAY

Digital Transformation is HERE: If you haven’t noticed, or your still using your older CRM/ERP system, your company is at RISK to become insignificant in your marketplace or channel. Your competitors are deploying and using tools that help them understand their business like never before with predictive analytics from Customer Insights showing your customer retention percentage real-time, Social Engagement managing your social brand and online presence giving you the ability to quickly react, resolve and response before your company reputation is harmed. The “Walmart” class of systems is now available to everyone, at every level with Dynamics 365. Think about it too long, and you will get past by a company using AI models to predict, alter and change their business direction before you even know there’s a problem.

 

# TWO: CLOUD, CLOUD, CLOUD

Cloud Cloud Cloud: Cloud is here to stay and Dynamics 365 is taking full advantage of the Azure Cloud Platform. How many times was on-premises mentioned during the presentation by Program PMS you ask? I recorded only 1 time with security team mentioning security changes would come to on-premises as well. On Premises is dead when it comes to innovation. Deal with it. How many times have you been told Azure is nothing more than IaaS? Think again. The solution stack offered via the Azure platform is simply mind blowing, and in my opinion no other cloud partner or platform can keep pace. Azure is no longer about Virtual Machines and Hosting Solutions, it’s become a development hot bed, IOT,  global directory, intelligence & analytical powerhouse! It’s great to see the Dynamics 365 interaction with Azure and its offerings. Educate yourself on what Azure truly can mean for your company. HINT: It’s not just hosting.

 

# THREE: Versatile Platform

Versatile Platform: Many people did not catch all the underlying work to the platform that has enabled the Spring Release to finally escape a monolithic application model and truly become and app centric, modular platform where you can pick and choose the services you need, and that can grow when your ready. Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform team brilliantly executed this move that will set all of us up for the future in many, many ways. First of all, think about having to test all the areas and modules of Dynamics 365 at once. This leads to longer release cycles, inability for rapid change or fixes, and getting bloated to boot. By breaking apart the Dynamics 365 modules into Solutions for Sales (Business Edition/Enterprise Edition),  Marketing and Service this allows each of these areas to work independently of each, removing the dependency will speed up each of these areas ability to resolve challenges and provide new features worrying about a release cycle. I predict we will completely go away from major product releases with Dynamics 365, and follow the Azure release model, of continuous improvement for your business applications, just like the tool you use the most. Your cellphone! It’s updated all the time, with apps changing and updating independently of each other. For ISVs (as fellow MVP Steve Mordue tweeted), this means that Microsoft will now have to work in the same solution model we have been using for System Customization. This will mean great enhancements for the entire community.

 

# FOUR: Unified Client 

Unified Client: As mentioned, the design principals (Uniformity, Styling, Text Wrapping, Font Standardization, White Space Reduction and theming) behind the interface refresh  is based on the new Dynamics 365 interface called the Unified Client. The benefits of the Unified Client are Reusable, Fast Deployment, Deploy Once, Responsive Design, Accessible and Consistent. As seen in the Business Edition, Dynamics 365 App for Outlook and Mobile Versions. Enterprise Edition will get a small face-lift, until the Unified Client can be refreshed across the board. This means, that better than ever before, build it once and deploy every it everywhere. Making sure that all features are available is an amazing feat. As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella recently stated.. “When we talk about Mobile-First, we are talking about the mobility of the experience”. Customer experience is key and the new client looks amazing. Integration with Skype, new configurable timeline entity that final replaces the social/activity pane and so much more. An entire article will be devoted to these changes soon.

Business Edition Screenshot:

Enterprise Edition Screenshot

Finally, # FIVE: SMB on the same platform 

SMB Platform: The small. medium businesses or business edition version of Dynamics 365 has been eagerly awaited. And this is announcement should be a big win for everyone. I can remember talking about how to accomplish this with the Microsoft Product Team and several MVPS (Donna Edwards, Joel Lindstrom, Steve Mordue, and Gustaf Westerlund). Our concern was we didn’t want another version of CRM, seeing the failures of AX/NAV So-called CRM light offerings. We wanted a solution built on the existing platform with limits (number of  entities, users, workflows, records, processes). Well, we got our wish, and the same underlying platform we love, will soon host the Business Edition “APP” as well. This is a big win for partners and ISVs but also the community. Add in the power to migrate to Enterprise (and possible backwards in the future), this gives SMB the platform the need. Now if we can just stop people trying to find ways to cheat the enterprise license cost and use business edition instead… Think Team Members 🙂

 

 

 


Azure Medics Panel & First Webinar Date Announced!


We have several Azure MVPs & soon to be MVPS signed up to be your first panel for our upcoming Azure Medic Webinar on October 25th. Let’s introduce them here and make sure to follow them on twitter for additional content! I will be your host and moderator for these web events. More details and future webinar dates can be found on our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1033129676804625/

Greg Leonardo https://twitter.com/gleonardo

Kevin D. Wolf  https://twitter.com/ByteMaster

Santoash Hari https://twitter.com/_s_hari

Scott Dorman https://twitter.com/sdorman

 

 

 


Azure & Microsoft 365 Medics Coming Soon!


An idea started about 2 years ago during a conversation with my fellow MVPs Carsten Groth and Gustaf Westerlund. All of us usually speak on various topics at conferences all over
the world. A lot of these sessions are very interactive with our user community. After our presentations, we often we’re stopped packing up or walking in the halls by people who needed help
with their specific issue or need.

This is where the idea of the medics was born. We got with Tony from CRMUG and decided to host a table at the next event. Now, we didn’t want a table, and had elaborate
plans for a Mash Army style tenant, sofas and IV’s filled with cranberry and vodka!  We ended up with lab coats and a paper pad for prescriptions! But the end results
were fantastic, customers and users loved it. Our next step was take our show on the NET offering 4 quarterly webinars in which we would have this same open mic concept. Often
these meetings were often called “Stump the MVP” by the community.

Fast forward a few years, CRMUG Medic calls continue to happen quarterly and we engage at various events with a lot of other MVPS getting involved. My co-worker and fellow MVP Donna Edwards and I started listening to all the confusion around Dynamics 365 and Azure. So the concept of Azure and Microsoft 365 Medics was born!

Be on the lookout for the webinars and group launches listed below via both Twitter and Facebook. If you have interest in joining or helping out the community, please reach out to Donna or myself.

On Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AzureMedics

https://twitter.com/MSMedic365

On Facebook:

Azure Medics

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1033129676804625/

Microsoft 365 Medics

https://www.facebook.com/groups/667117780123470/

azuremedics

m365medicsazuremedic

 


CRM 2016 available, but not ready for your Production Server just yet!


Over the last few weeks my colleagues and fellow MVP’s have been working on a few CRM 2016 systems. Our general thought is that a lot of this code is from the CRM Online 2015 code base, and should really be production ready. However, the Microsoft CRM team has been hard at work delivering new features, so looks like we introduced a few bugs.

I’m going to recommend that you wait for update rollup 1 before deploying to your production system. There’s still plenty of time to test and install in your dev and test systems as you wait for these fixes. Here’s the main areas:

  1. Overall Outlook 2016 Client Configuration and Usage Issues – Support Recommended to stay with 2015 client
  2. New Form Rending Engine slowing overall form performance – fix in the works for update roll up 1
  3. Tweaks to the 2016 Solution Engine, breaking some backwards capability while importing solutions – fix in the works for update roll up 1
  4. Mobile Client performance issues

So we will re-test about the update roll-up 1 and provide future recommendations when we feel this is ready for production. Remember that there are some best practices and one is two wait until the first update roll-up is available. Stay tuned.


Microsoft announces Azure Express Route for CRM Online. Here’s why its important to you.


Jujhar Singh announced at Convergence EMEA at Azure Express Route is now available for CRM Online. Why is this important to you and your business?

CRM online is public cloud. Azure Express Route will allow dedicated network connections from your MPLS network to CRM Online. This will dramatically help improve not only connectivity to CRM Online, but also the ability to leverage Azure Services for your CRM data. This connectivity is big private cloud advantage that has just been neutralized and another step towards better integration as a hybrid cloud.

expressroute-basic

 

Read about it here:

https://community.dynamics.com/b/msftdynamicsblog/archive/2015/12/01/announcing-support-for-azure-express-route-for-crm-online


CRM, Azure and Me… A new journey has begun.


As I look forward into the future and beyond 2016, I have taken notice of what Microsoft is doing with Azure, and how they are positioning their products CRM, AX and others to leverage Azure services. Many people think Azure is nothing more than a private cloud or Rackspace and Amazon competitor. They couldn’t be more wrong.

A few weeks ago we hosted a AzureCon.com web event at our Tribridge Office’s in Tampa. In little over 1 hour, many people, included myself were blown away. Of course, at first thinking, this is not real, or how can I build a data warehousing infrastructure, setup azure machine language and get English like responses in less than 15 minutes. This had to be vapor ware right? WRONG.

After the video, which can be found here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/azurecon/, I immediately spun up an Azure free trial. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/ I proceeded to walk thru the steps I had recalled and replayed the video. In approx. 25 minutes I had exactly the same setup configured and running. Amazing.

This is truly the next generation of not only cloud, but a complete cloud application development platform, that simply cannot be competed against or ignored. Another example in the video above is Azure Auto scaling capabilities. We have all had that performance challenge at the end of the month processing, needing more bandwidth, or end of the quarter, or even holiday sales event, where the hardware solution purchased couldn’t keep up with the demand.

This is now no longer an issue. With Azure Auto scaling, Azure systems can scale to meet these demands and give you the extra horsepower needed. Pay for only what you need, when you need, not all year long. Truly this is very innovative. We are not talking about adding extra VM’s, web servers etc, this is actually scaling the size of the physical machine, for memory, bus, data, a complete virtual computer. Very neat indeed.

Over the next coming year, I will be working across both CRM and Azure Product Lines, and hope to provide the same level of experience on both platforms with posts that can help everyone. Time to study….

 

 

 


Join me at CRMUG Summit in Reno NV October 13-16


Join me at the CRMUG Summit In Reno NV. This is the premier Dynamics CRM Event of the year. Don’t miss out, not too late to register below.

renosummit

 

More details..

http://www.crmugsummit.com/home

Here’s my preliminary schedule. Please refer to the website!

Monday, October 12

8:00pm-10:00pm @ Peppermill – Terrace Lounge Chapter Leader Bash

Tuesday, October 13

2:00pm-4:30pm @ Atlantis: Paradise D & E Volunteer Immersion at CRMUG Summit
5:00pm-8:00pm @ Hall 2 Welcoming Expo Reception

Wednesday, October 14

7:00am-8:00am @ Hall 1 Breakfast – Jump Into a Great Day
9:15am-9:45am @ Ballroom Lobby Networking Break
9:45am-10:45am @ D2 Getting Ready to Pull the CRM Trigger
11:15am-12:25pm @ C4 CRMUG Opening General Session – Microsoft Keynote
1:30pm-2:30pm @ D4 The CRM Superhero’s Tips, Tricks, and Toolbox
1:30pm-2:30pm @ D2 Scouting & Preparing as CRM GameDay Draws Near
2:30pm-3:00pm @ Ballroom Lobby Networking Break
4:00pm-4:30pm @ Ballroom Lobby Networking Break
4:30pm-6:00pm @ D2 ADFS & Upgrading with a Mobile State of Mind
6:00pm-8:00pm @ Hall 2 Expo Reception

Tribridge Customer Party – Invitation Only 7pm on..

Please contact me if your a customer or prospect and did not receive an invitation.

Thursday, October 15

7:00am-8:00am @ Hall 1 Breakfast – Jump Into a Great Day
8:00am-9:00am @ D2 Getting that CRM Upgrade to Purr Like a Kitten
9:00am-9:30am @ Ballroom Lobby Networking Break
10:30am-11:00am @ Ballroom Lobby Networking Break
11:00am-12:00pm @ C4 CRMUG General Community Session
12:00pm-2:00pm @ Halls 1 & 2 Networking Lunch and Expo
2:00pm-3:00pm @ D7 Going OnPremise to CRM Online
2:00pm-3:00pm @ C1 Take It to the Next Level with End User Experience Upgrades in CRM 2015
3:00pm-3:15pm @ Ballroom Lobby Networking Break
3:15pm-4:15pm @ D4 Ask the MVPs: Admin-Foundation Edition
3:15pm-4:15pm @ D7 Ask the Experts – User Adoption Edition: Enterprise CRM Strategies and Pitfalls to Avoid
4:15pm-4:45pm @ Ballroom Lobby Networking Break
4:45pm-5:45pm @ D2 Dissecting Multifaceted CRM Upgrades

Friday, October 16 – CANCLLED

8:00am-9:15am @ D2 Deployment Method of Choice  CANCELLED

 

 


Deploying and administering Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015


This deployment and administration documentation, known as the Implementation Guide or IG in previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, is a set of comprehensive deployment and administration topics that can help you plan, deploy, configure, customize, and maintain Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (on-premises) or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/library/hh699811(v=crm.7).aspx