365UG Summit

Approaching the halfway mark of my first CRMUG Summit.  I have been to a dozen of Microsoft and other related conferences, and this one is turning out to be one of the best.

Part of the excitement was the official announcement of Dynamics 365.  I think it might take me a while to start referring to essentially what is the XRM platform as “Dynamics 365”

There are dozens of new features and technologies that make up Dynamics 365.  These extend beyond traditional XRM/CRM and tie in some new Azure based technologies, and a little product called AX.  During the keynote, my twitter feed lit up with pretty much everyone I follow taking pics of the presentations.  Who needs to download PowerPoint decks when you have twitter?

Here is a list of some of new features that I am excited about:

  • Improved CRM for Outlook App (can we just kill the old CRM for Outlook add-in already?)
  • Site map editor (in CRM, but we had this as part of XRMToolBox)
  • New drag and drop interface for processes and business rules
  • Customer insights
  • and much, much more (did I mention Editable Grid?)

Also improving and evolving is PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and the Common Data Model.  As much as the demos looked neat, I have team members in the lab back home running into various “version 1.0” issues.  However, these technologies will only get better.

Walking around the expo, I was able to catch up with a few of my favourite ISVs.  Dynamics 365 does a lot of great things, but there are some add-ons that add those extra features or efficiencies that make it better.  If you are a user or administrator of Dynamics CRM you *need* to check out the following ISVs:

ClickDimensions – if you do *any* kind of marketing or email marketing, this solution fully rounds out Dynamics CRM.

North52 – This should be installed in every CRM installation and deployment. Period.  This tools allows the point and click folks to create plug-in level functions essentially using Excel-like syntax.

If your sales team needs to piece together various configurations to put together quotes, then they ideally should be using Experlogix.

If you want to empower your front line users with a super easy to use navigation and scripting, then TKDialogs is your tool of choice.

MSCRMAddOns provides a full toolbox of CRM extensions that fill quite a few gaps in the product.

There are many more ISVs that address particular horizontal and vertical needs of Dynamics 365.

Today I attended some really great sessions on Asynchronous development, Using Powershell with CRM, checked what was new with the Portal Connector and a really neat session on CRM Bots.  This is the great value of these conferences, I have been working with Dynamics CRM since version 1.0, and still I learned a lot of great new stuff.

This conference also is a who’s who of Dynamics CRM community superstars.  I got to catch up with a lot of colleagues, MVPs and other CRM celebrities.  I finally got to meet a lot folks in person whom I only have ever interacted with online.

Tomorrow I will be going to head to head in the XRMFactor competition.  While I am a HUGE fan of the XRMToolBox, I think my CRM Bookmarklets could be the darkhorse in the competition.  Check it out TCC21 at 4:30pm.

Looking forward to the rest of the CRMUG Summit!  (Or should I be calling it the 365UG Summit?)




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