Microsoft recently introduced the Dynamics 365 Roadmap. The roadmap gives you a glimpse of features that have already been released and those still in development. Because the software is constantly in flux, the roadmap is a very useful tool. According to the Dynamics 365 roadmap, there are a couple of new features in development for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales as of February 2017. For several of these features, depending on your location, you may be able to access a preview mode. To enable preview features, visit the What are Preview features and how do I enable them? page on Microsoft’s site.
Bulk Data Loader for Dynamics 365
In an effort to reduce implementation costs for its users, Microsoft is currently developing a Bulk Data Loader for Dynamics 365. The intention with this feature is that users will no longer require custom code or third-party tools in order to import or export bulk data to or from Dynamics 365.
The Bulk Data Loader works by uploading bulk data files to a cloud staging table. Once the data is in the cloud staging table, users can perform a limited number of data-quality functions. Once the data is ready, it can then be pushed into Dynamics 365. The data loader can be found on the Dynamics Life Cycle Services (LCS) website directly, but users can also access the LCS website by clicking a link in the Admin Center of Dynamics 365.
Dynamics 365 users based in North America currently have access to the Preview mode version of the Bulk Data Loader. Along with the benefit of early access, the Preview mode allows users to provide feedback so Microsoft can continue to make improvements to the tool. While the Preview mode isn’t currently usable for production, right now is a great time to test out the tool to determine whether it will be useful for your company in the future. Currently, the preview mode only features the ability to bulk import, but bulk exporting is on the way.
Another feature Microsoft currently has available for preview is Cortana integration with CRM Online 2016 Update. For those who are not familiar with Cortana, it is the virtual personal assistant found on Windows devices, such as computers and mobile phones. Cortana will be embedded with the sales activities, accounts, and opportunities from CRM, giving salespeople easier tracking ability.
The Cortana integration will also include a sales digest containing all recently updated objects, along with how they will impact the pipeline. Through Cortana, users will also be able to access deal overviews (including product SKUs, competitors, etc.) and meeting preparation details.
The preview of this feature is currently available in all English-speaking countries. We can expect to see Cortana expanded to other languages once translations are finalized.
Between the Bulk Data Loader and Cortana integration, there’s quite a bit to look forward to for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. I highly recommend testing out the preview modes of both features before they’re officially released. Not only will you have the chance to try out new features, but you can help provide Microsoft with some valuable feedback to further improve them.
As new features are announced on the Dynamics 365 Roadmap, we’ll be certain to keep you up to date with this blog series.
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