Skip to main content

Getting the Most Out of Dynamics 365 Upgrades

Microsoft has settled into a schedule of providing significant enhancements to Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) every six months, so all of us who use the product must adapt to being in a constant state of adopting new features and preparing for the next upgrade.  Microsoft is investing heavily in development of Dynamics, and pouring the fruits of research and development such as artificial intelligence and analytics into the product.

The question for my clients is how to get the most out of this cycle of constant integration.  They want to know how much an upgrade will cost and how long it will take.  Here are some considerations that may help you make the best trade-offs for your organization.

I divide upgrades into three types of changes.   The easiest are improvements in performance or changes in the user interface that require no action on our part.  If forms or reports run faster, or Microsoft adds a new item to a toolbar, these improve the product without asking for a trade-off.  The only task it may require is for us to update user documentation or training materials when the screens change significantly enough to merit the update.

The second category is what I call negative changes -- when deprecation of an old feature causes our solution to break.  Microsoft has a pattern for this which involves early warning, so we usually have two or more versions which have backward compatibility before a feature is turned off or changed for good.  This post is a good example of Microsoft announcing feature deprecation, including the Outlook add-in, dialogs, mailmerge, Parature knowledgebase, and over two dozen APIs.  This kind of change is the reason that you must read the release notes as soon as they are published.  You have choices to make on when to replace deprecated features.  Sometimes Microsoft has announced the end of a product or feature only to extend it later, so bolder customers can wait until the last minute and hope for a reprieve, but I do not endorse this approach.

The most interesting category is improvements which allow you to enhance your solution, but that require action on your part. For instance, when Microsoft adds new apps such as Dynamics Project Service or Field Service, you may want to activate some of the features that they contain and have your users take advantage of these features.  In some cases they may replace customizations that you created before they were available, so you will need to migrate data and train end users.  Each version contains hundreds of new features, and offer many opportunities to take Dynamics to new heights.  Would you like to add artificial intelligence to analyze your client interactions? A chat bot to supplement live chat?

We recommend that you create a roadmap for your Dynamics solution and roll out new features over time rather than assume that your solution will remain static.  Users will come up with new requirements, new ways of accomplishing their work, and Microsoft will serve up new features that you will want to use.

Related Posts

5 Tips on Moving from Dynamics CRM On Premises to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Cloud
Upgrading Dynamics CRM, Part 1
Upgrading Dynamics CRM, Part 2
Upgrading Dynamics CRM, Part 3

Popular posts from this blog

PowerApps 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 PowerApps Portal and shifted to the PowerApps 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. for 100 dail…

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 appears on Case pa…

Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Licensing for Beginners

NOTE: Since this post was written, Microsoft has updated pricing.  For current pricing, see

Next month marks two years since Microsoft announced the preview of its Flow workflow automation product.  Since then, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow have been gaining in popularity.

We at InfoStrat are receiving more questions from customers on how PowerApps and Flow are licensed by Microsoft.  This is a brief overview with links to authoritative Microsoft resources with all the details.

What are PowerApps and Flow? Microsoft PowerApps is a framework derived from Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) that allow you to build apps either with or without a form interface.  PowerApps works with Microsoft Flow.

Microsoft Flow is is a cloud software tool to build automated workflows that connect to many Microsoft and non-Microsoft systems and services.  For instance, you could write a workflow which would create a record in Dynamics 365 whenever a new file …