Skip to main content

Update Policies for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Customers of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement have been notified in recent weeks of new policies for updates.  Customer Engagement refers to the traditional core components of what was formerly Dynamics CRM (sales, marketing, and customer service) as well as newer apps for Project Service and Field Service which have been added to the Customer Engagement subscription bundle.

The updates only apply to customers hosted in the Microsoft commercial cloud and not for on premises deployments which are managed by customer organizations. So far, the Microsoft government clouds for the United States and Germany are also operating on their own update schedules in order to maintain compliance with government security and privacy regulations.

I will not restate all the details which you can review at FAQ for Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps Update Policies as well as Previewing April 2019 release functionalities and updates for Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement.

Here are some highlights and thoughts on the update policies of cloud services.

  1. Cloud vendors are pushing updates more frequently.  They are under competitive pressure to release new features and versions, and this trend is unlikely to end.
  2. Cloud vendors prefer not to allow customers to choose update dates. This is especially true for bug fixes and security patches, which need to be applied as soon as possible.   
  3. Customers must test new versions. Innovation will lead to new features, and some will replace features which will be eliminated (deprecated) while others will offer new ways of doing the same thing.  The Unified Interface, for instance, provides a new menu system to navigate Dynamics, but for now can live side-by-side with the "classic" menus.  Before long, the Unified Interface will become "classic" and be replaced as well. Microsoft is not responsible for testing customer solutions and ensuring that they will function after major updates.  All they can do is provide notification and access to the new versions
  4. You need sandboxes more than ever. One of the most important features of a Dynamics sandbox (a non-production instance of Dynamics) is to allow testing before introducing a system to production.  You may need more sandbox environments to test your customizations on forthcoming versions of Dynamics.  
  5. Customers who deploy on premises will fall further behind. You can avoid the effort of continuous improvement and testing by sticking with on premises deployment, an option that Microsoft provides for now but which is not offered by cloud-only plays like Salesforce.  The tradeoff is falling behind on product features and potentially exposure to risks from not applying patches and other fixes.
Microsoft has been rewarded by the stock market for its commitment to cloud-first products.  I  predict that this trend will end and on premises software will be de-emphasized.  Microsoft will continue to offer benefits to cloud customers such as faster access to new versions and lower cost of ownership to encourage cloud adoption.



Popular posts from this blog

Power Apps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal

In case you have been reviewing Microsoft's new pricing for its Dynamics products which was released this month and have been unable to find Dynamics Portal, it has been rebranded as Power Apps Portal and shifted to the Power Apps side of the Microsoft product family. Rebranding the portal product underscores the importance of app scenarios involving external users such as customers and suppliers.  It also provides a simpler interface than Dynamics 365 for occasional users. The new portal pricing is based on the number of unique users who log into the portal each month (for authenticated users) and on the number of page views for anonymous users.  "A login provides an external authenticated user access to a single portal for up to 24 hours. Multiple logins during the 24-hour period count as 1 billable login. Internal users can be licensed either by the PowerApps per app or per users plans, or a qualifying Dynamics 365 subscription." Pricing starts at $200/mo

Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps

Source:  https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/ Microsoft has offered a number of forms automation products over the years, and the most long running was InfoPath which was released as part of Office 2003.  InfoPath is a powerful and flexible product that stores user data in XML while offering form features such as rules, data validation, scripting, and integration with SharePoint.  The popularity of SharePoint resulted in many organizations standardizing on InfoPath for forms, especially internal forms which are hosted on an intranet such as employee reviews, leave and payment requests, and human resources forms. Microsoft has discontinued InfoPath, with mainstream support ending July 13th, 2021, and extended support ending July 14th, 2026. Microsoft has named Power Apps as the successor to InfoPath .  Power Apps has much in common with InfoPath.  Both products include integration with SharePoint.  Both are geared toward the citizen developer and do not require advan

ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

I met Lou Guercia when he was president and CEO of Scribe Software, the leading CRM integration tool.  Scribe was acquired by TIBCO Software in 2018.  I recently reconnected with Lou and learned about ScreenMeet, the company he joined as chief operating officer.   The following is a description of the product provided by ScreenMeet: ScreenMeet is a cloud-based remote support tool designed to integrate with Dynamics 365 Customer Service. By enabling customer service and IT support organizations to address critical technical issues directly from their CRM or ticketing platform, it streamlines the process and provides a fully browser-based support experience. You can also use ScreenMeet with other CRM products or even on its own without a CRM. Here is a short video demo of ScreenMeet with Dynamics integration: ScreenMeet - Cloud-based Remote Support Integrated with Dynamics 365 Customer Support Once integrated with a Dynamics 365 CS organization, the ScreenMeet widget appea