Microsoft Teams and its Impact with Microsoft Dynamics 365

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Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace in the Office 365 suite. Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams on November 2016, and was designed as a competitor to Slack. It is a platform that combines workspace chat, meetings, notes and attachments. By being able to integrate with the company’s Office 365 subscription office productivity suite including Skype, it features extensions for integrating other technologies. Microsoft Team’s promising features raises a lot of questions heading into the future as everyone is moving to the cloud with Microsoft Dynamics 365. In this blog, we will explore some of the main features Microsoft Teams has to offer and how it ties with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Teams has a goal of bringing everything together – people, conversations and content. It promotes easy collaboration such that a working team can achieve more. The chat space named Conversations is grouped into Teams, which can be further modularised into Channels. This is where persistent and threaded chats are used to keep Team members engaged. Team-wide and private discussions are available within these constraints.

image thumb Microsoft Teams and its Impact with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Conversations is not limited to messaging. Common resources shared within a Team are posted in the Conversations or pinned in Tabs for easy access. This includes shared files, calendars, and other content which encourages collaborative editing. Each Team and Channel can be customized accordingly when adding Tab. Shared and integrated components are publicly available to Team members. This ranges from anything in the Office suite, and other things such as website URLs, PowerBI dashboards, Zendesk and SharePoint.

On launch, Microsoft Teams shipped with over 70 Connectors and 85 Bots which can participate in conversations. For example, within Conversations, you can create polls using the Polly Bot by tagging Polly and adhering to the simple question-answer format. T-Bot is also available in Chat for assistance with anything related with Microsoft Teams. Establishing the Dynamics 365 Connector with Microsoft Teams will be further explained in a later blog post.

Currently, functionality between the Connector is still quite limited. It works similarly like the Office 365 Connector for Groups in which new or existing Office 365 Groups with Dynamics 365 are connected such that the Group is notified when new Activities are posted. This happens similarly with Teams where the connection is made on a Channel within a Team, and Team members get notified for any updates of activities from specific CRM records. In the image below, I established a Dynamics 365 connection in a Channel within a Team. Then in my Dynamics 365 environment, I tested the connection by making an Activity record for the Account record “A. Datum Corporation”. The Meeting details are highlighted below, and Teams handily includes a summary of the monitored CRM record such as Annual Revenue and Number of Employees.

image thumb 1 Microsoft Teams and its Impact with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 can still be used in Microsoft Teams as it is IFD by adding it in the Channel Tabs as a website. By simply entering in the Dynamics 365 URL, you can use Dynamics 365 within Microsoft Teams as normal. The user would still need to authenticate themselves by entering their username and password (you’d expect this to be done automatically especially since Microsoft Teams already uses Office 365 accounts).

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One thing to note though is that using Dynamics 365 within Teams is not intuitive to use and user friendly. For one, when navigating in and out of the Dynamics 365 Channel Tab would reset wherever you were previously in Dynamics 365 and it would take you back to the landing page. Most Dynamics 365 users also have multiple Dynamics 365 records open in multiple browser tabs or windows which Microsoft Teams does not do as it is not a committed browser. Another interesting thing to note is that a user has to enable Microsoft Dynamics 365 within your pop-up blocker. Notably, I initially could not use Advanced Find within Microsoft Teams because of the following pop-up error:

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It will be interesting to know how further development of Microsoft Teams will affect its integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Some things to consider include how Teams and its integration with Outlook items such as Meetings can transfer to Dynamics 365 and its congruent Dynamics 365 Activity records. Adding to these are Skype’s integration with video meetings, and implications of CRM for Outlook. This would of course depend on the demand of users who use Microsoft Teams as their centralized software tool.

Microsoft Teams is a promising tool to tie in multiple integrated technologies including Microsoft Dynamics 365. The use of Dynamics 365 in Microsoft Teams still need refining and tweaking. There is a lot of setting up to do within each Team and Channels, the technologies involved, and most importantly, setting up the actual process of people using the tool to collaborate and share information within a single centralized platform. It’s too early at this stage to know how Microsoft Teams will be accepted by users in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics 365, but it is exciting to see how it would go about in accomplishing its goal of bringing everything together.

 Microsoft Teams and its Impact with Microsoft Dynamics 365
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