On January 27 of 2020 the release notes came out for 2020 Release Wave 1 for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform and on February 3rd, 2020 we were able to enable some of these features for early access. These new features will be released between April 2020 through September 2020. This is the third article on this subject. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. In this article on the 2020 release wave 1 I’ll be discussing the new features for D365 Field Service and Sales Insights. You are probably aware that on January 27 of 2020 the release notes came out for the 2020 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform and on February 3rd, 2020 we were able to enable these features for early access. If you haven’t read the first part one of my article series where I’m discussing the D365 Sales updates, you can do so here. The second article of the series was about D365 Customer Service updates and you can read that article here.
In today’s article, I am going to discuss the Dynamics 365 Sales Insights and Dynamics 365 Field Service updates. Please note that since the classic interface of Dynamics 365 is deprecated since September 2019 and will no longer be available starting October 1st, 2020 most of these features will only work on the unified interface. The topics I’ll discuss in this article are:
- Timeline Enhancements
- Filter Enhancements
- Dynamics 365 Sales Insights Enhancements
- Conversation Intelligence
- Auto Capture & Who knows Whom
- Dynamics 365 Field Service Enhancements
- AI-based Suggestions
- Power Automate & Intune Integration
- Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Integration
- Next Gen schedule board experience
- Enhanced Work Hours Calendar
- Requirement Dependencies
- Resource Scheduling Dashboard
- Time Sheets
- Booking Timestamps Enhancements
- New Auto-Numbering Function
Besides updates to the modules in Dynamics 365, I also noticed some generic enhancements, like those on the timeline. The first thing I want to mention is that users can now use formatting when creating notes. When you create a new note and start typing, you’ll see that a format bar loads on the bottom of the note window. We have the ability to change the font, change colors, add links to text and many other options. I think this is a great addition to the timeline, but I wish we could use this for activities as well!
The timeline itself has also been updated. Users now have the ability to use the filter to perform a keyword search of all the data in the timeline. When I was on the account record searching for an email that was tracked regarding a contact, I was still able to find it by performing the search from the account level! I also noticed that it’s much easier to identify the status of an activity, the ‘Overdue’ status, for example, is a bright red and pops nicely on the screen. Lastly, an additional filter has been added to for user and auto-posts.
The ability to filter on ‘contains data’ and ‘doesn’t contain data’ is back and so much more has been added to the filter capabilities in this release! We now have much of the same filter options we see when we use advanced find filtering. For example when you filter on a date field, you see all the date filtering options like ‘on or after’, ‘this month’ etc. The lookup filter has also been enhanced; we can just start typing the name of the record, no need to scroll!
Dynamics 365 Sales Insights
This looks like another promising feature that has been added. This feature allows organizations to setup custom call recording solutions that work with D365 Sales Insights. Customers who currently utilize the D365 Channel Framework for their call needs, now have the ability to record those calls. Conversion Intelligence has the ability to analyze these recorded conversations and visualize the conversation sentiment directly on the phone call record. According to Microsoft’s documentation the sentiment AI/logic is based on vocal patterns and nuances of speaking tones. Can you imagine being able to use this data to train your sales staff and to be able to quickly identify who needs that training and who doesn’t?
The relationship assistant is now called ‘D365 Assistant’ at least that’s what it was referred to in Microsoft’s documentation. The assistant has a new updated user interface with a brand new look and feel. This new layout shows the content of the card better and users can take action directly from within the card without having to navigate away. The cards will also be shown grouped by type so they’ll be easier to find: for instance cards that show tasks or meetings that are due today will be shown in the notification section, while predictive cards will be filed under insights. Users will have the ability to drill down to the details of a card if they need to.
Auto-Capture & Who knows Who
Not too much to mention here, yes there are updates but these are more ‘behind the scenes’. Microsoft did release a new version of auto-capture that is currently in public preview. Microsoft is using AI capabilities to improve the mapping of activities to the appropriate records, and new contacts mentioned in saved activities are automatically detected. This functionality will become generally available as part of the current release wave.
Who knows who has better and more granular controls, including privacy controls. Office 365 users can now independently opt-in and out (of connection graph which fuels this) without a system admin.
Dynamics 365 Field Service
This functionality wasn’t included in the early access features but will be available for public preview in April 2020. According to the documentation, there will be two types of AI-based suggestions coming out in the 2020 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 Field Service: Incident Type suggestions and IoT Alert suggestions. For incident type AI-based suggestions the system will analyze completed work orders and their related records, such as products and services. Based on the historical data of used services, actual duration, and used products it will make suggestions and improvements. IoT AI-based suggestions are also based on historical data like service history and past actions. It will provide suggestions on how to treat the alert (I.E Suggesting a priority or incident type)
Power Automate & Intune Integration
If you read my previous article regarding 2020 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 Customer Service, you saw that SLA automation will now be handled in Power Automate. The agreement process maintenance in Dynamics 365 Field Service will also be moved to Power Automate. I think this is a great idea since this means it will no longer take up resources in Dynamics 365 plus we can do a lot more with Power Automate vs with workflows. This functionality is scheduled for public preview in April 2020.
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service that focuses on mobile device management and mobile application management. This integration will make it easier and more secure for organizations to manage mobile devices and applications. The intune integration will be available for early access in February 2020.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Integration
I’m very excited about this one! This provides integration between Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and Dynamics 365 Field Service for warehouse, payment types, shipment methods and assets leveraging the common data model and common data service. This functionality is also available for early access in February.
Next Generation Schedule Board
Microsoft is working on a completely new version of the schedule board. If you are a Microsoft partner you have the ability to sign up for the private preview by filling out this form. Microsoft customers can also enroll, they have to sign up via the Dynamics Insider program here.
Please note by using this feature, you acknowledge that this feature is in preview and you agree to the Preview Terms, which includes confidentiality provisions. If you do not agree to the preview terms then do not use this feature. Note this is a preview feature, not meant for production environments.
Enhanced Work Hours Calendar
In this release, the work hours calendar for resources has received a much-needed facelift. The new experience is using a PCF control and is now accessible through the unified interface.
You might have encountered Field Service scenarios where work has to be completed in a certain order. For example, before installing a washer the technician might have to make sure there is a connection for water first. The requirement dependencies allow this work to be scheduled (requirements) in a specific order by using dependencies. The two different types of dependencies are predecessor and successor and they will determine the order of the requirements. Keep in mind that this feature works with RSO (Resource Scheduling Optimization) only. If your organization doesn’t have the RSO add-on then you won’t be able to test this feature.
Resource Scheduling Dashboard
Dynamics 365 for Field Service now comes with an out of the box PowerBI Dashboard with resource and utilization related data. To access the dashboard, you need to navigate to the resources area in the Dynamics 365 Field Service App. It will be visible under ‘Analytics’. If you also have a license for Resource Scheduling Optimization, there are two additional dashboards available called RSO admin and Optimization summary. I also learned that at some point in time Microsoft will release the PBIX files of these reports, meaning that organizations will have the ability to make changes to these reports.
You’ve probably heard or maybe even worked with Inspections by Resco. Microsoft is coming out with its own inspection functionality. According to the Microsoft, documentation inspections should be available for public preview in April 2020. After reading about it, it looks like it will be similar functionality as Resco’s inspections: users will be able to create inspections through a designer, attach it to a work order and complete it through the mobile app. I can’t wait to get my hands on this!
Another long-awaited feature! This utilizes the same time sheets entity that is used with Dynamics 365 Project Service. No, you don’t need to have Dynamics 365 Project Service installed in order to use timesheets with Dynamics 365 Field Service. With this feature, we will be able to capture timesheets after a work order has been completed. We can configure Field Service to create these time sheets automatically from booking time stamps or have the techs enter them manually. You can configure this by navigating to the settings area in the field service app. Under the general section, you will need to navigate to Field Service Settings and open the Field Service Settings record. There will be a time entry tab where you can access the configuration.
Automatic Time Entries
As a work order’s booking status changes as work is performed (traveling, in progress, on break, etc) the system automatically creates time stamp records each time this booking status change occurs. Once the booking status is changed to Completed, the system automatically creates time entries from the timestamps. When the work order system status (not the booking status) is set to Closed-Posted, ‘actual’ records (aka actuals) are automatically created based on the previously created time entries. Actuals represent the cost of the field tech’s time.
Manual Time Entries
Users can enter time manually by navigating to ‘Service’ area in the Field Service App. Time entries are visible under the ‘Scheduling’ section. Users simply click the ‘+New’ button and enter data to add a time entry. Users can also add time entries from the Field Service mobile app.
Keep in mind that time entries can be related to other records. (I.E Work Orders, Bookable Resource Bookings)
Time Off Requests
When a user enters a time off request the system will automatically create a time entry record in Dynamics 365 Field Service. Keep in mind that if a resource is configured to need approval for time off requests, the time entry will need to be approved. If you make a change to the date or duration of the time-off request, the time entry will automatically be updated and vice versa. When a time-off request is created in the field service mobile app the system will create the time entry after the data is synchronized back to Dynamics 365 Field Service.
Booking Timestamps Enhancements
In this release, admins have the ability to configure Dynamics 365 Field Service to create timestamps at a more granular level. Currently, time stamps are created when a field service status changes, with this new feature we have the ability to configure the system to create timestamps when a booking status change occurs. Admins can configure the time stamp frequency by navigating to the settings area of the field service app and opening the Field Service Settings record. The time stamp frequency selection can be done from the Work Order/Booking tab.
Timestamp Frequency: Per Field Service Status Change vs Booking Status Change
Booking Status records are the statuses the field techs pick from when they update their booking. If you look at booking status records, (Resources Area>Booking Statuses) you’ll notice there is an associated field service status for each individual record. In the example below, you see that there are 2 booking statuses that have the related ‘In Progress’ field service status associated with them: the ‘Working’ and ‘Area Setup’ booking statuses.
Scenario: A field tech changes their status to ‘Area Setup’ and then 15 minutes later to ‘Working’.
If the system is configured to create a timestamp when the field service status changes one timestamp will be created because for both ‘Area Setup’ and ‘Working’ the associated field service status is ‘In Progress’. While the field tech changed the booking status twice, the field service status remains the same.
If the system is configured to create a timestamp when the booking status changes two timestamps will be created: one for ‘Area Setup’ and one for the ‘Working’ booking status. At this point, the system doesn’t care what the related field service status is.
New Auto Numbering Function for Field Service Entities
I noticed the ‘Opt-In to Auto-Numbering’ button on the field service settings record. When clicking this button a screen pops up informing the user they are opting into an improved version of auto-numbering which is utilized by several Field Service entities. According to the pop-up the benefits of using the new auto-numbering solution are:
- Guaranteed unique record naming
- Fewer gaps in the names of affected entities since the name of the record is not generated until after a record is created
- Starting number for names can be changed to a smaller number should the max be reached
- Number length for names can be specified on a per entity basis
The changes with the new auto-numbering solution are:
- The auto-number will only be assigned after the record is saved
- Configuring each name’s format will be managed in a dialog
- When importing an entity as a separate solution from one org to another the auto-numbering format definition for the entity will be carried across orgs.
Keep in mind that once you opted into the new auto-numbering you cannot revert back to the ‘old’ auto-numbering. It’s also recommended that opting-in takes place when there is no activity in the system as new record creation may fail. The opting-in process will take a few minutes to complete.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Be sure to check back next week for a new article tomorrow!