Tag Archives: features

13 Features Being Removed From Future Releases of Dynamics 365

Normally we hear about all the great new features being added to Microsoft Dynamics 365. But you also need to be aware of the features and capabilities that are being deprecated

Technically “to deprecate” means “to express disapproval of (something)”. In the software world, it means something that is “usable but regarded as obsolete and best avoided, typically because it has been superseded.”

According to Microsoft deprecated means “we intend to remove the feature or capability from a future major release of Dynamics 365.” However, the feature or capability will continue to work and is fully supported until it is officially removed.

It is important for all Dynamics 365 users to be aware of which features are on the chopping block so that they can determine if it will impact their business and decide on the best strategy before their next upgrade.

In this article, Microsoft discusses 13 deprecated features that apply to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement as of version 9. Customer Engagement refers to the applications that make up the CRM portion of Dynamics 365: Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation applications.

Deprecated Features:

  1. Service scheduling in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  2. Dialogs
  3. Parature knowledgebase as the Dynamics 365 knowledge management solution
  4. Project Service Finder app
  5. Contracts, Contract Line Items, and Contract Templates entities
  6. Standard SLAs in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  7. Relationship Roles
  8. Mail Merge
  9. Announcements
  10. Ready-to-use business processes available through Add Ready to Use Business Processes setting
  11. Some client APIs
  12. EntityMetadata.IsInteractionCentricEnabled property
  13. Silverlight (XAP) web resource

When the Crowe CRM team looked at this list, we spotted  a few we felt would be most likely to impact our Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 clients during their next upgrades and would require additional planning.

  • Service Contracts – plan to migrate Contracts to Entitlements.
  • Relationships – plan to migrate Relationships to Connections.
  • Outlook Client – plan to migrate to new Outlook App including meeting the server side requirements.
  • Mail merge – change document templates.
  • Service scheduling – move to Field Service.

But it’s not all bad news. Microsoft is continually adding new functionality.  Two new features that our team is excited about are:

  • Advanced find: Advanced find now has the option to build a NOT IN query. For example, users can query for all cases that do not have a related task.
  • MultiSelect option set: Users who customize forms can now add multi-select fields to forms, quick view and quick create forms and read-only and editable grids.

These new features may sound simple, but they will be huge time savers for some organizations.

Next Steps

When features are removed, it is usually because there is now a better way to accomplish the same result. Microsoft gives recommendations for the functionally set to replace anything that is being deprecated. Working with a knowledgeable Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner, such as Crowe Horwath, means this planning will be done before your next upgrade.

If you are interested in discussing an upgrade plan for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM) contact us today.

Check out our offer on AppSource “Moving CRM to Dynamics 365: 3-Hr Assessment” if you are interested in moving to the Dynamics 365 cloud.

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner www.CroweCRM.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Still More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

 Still More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

The series so far:

  1. The SQL Server Features that Time Forgot: Data Quality Services, Master Data Services, Policy-Based Management, Management Data Warehouse and Service Broker
  2. More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot: Auto-shrink, Buffer-pool extension, Database Diagrams, Database Engine Tuning Advisor, and SQL CLR
  3. Even more SQL Server Features that Time forgot: In-Memory OLTP, lightweight pooling, the sql_variant data type, stretch databases, transaction savepoints, and XML indexes
  4. Still More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot: Active Directory Helper Service, Data Transformation Services, DBCC commands, English Query, Native XML Web Services, Northwind and pubs databases, Notification Services, SQL Mail, SQL Server Distributed Management Objects, Surface Area Configuration Tool, utilities, and Web Assistant

In the previous articles of this series, we focused on SQL Server components that are, for better or worse, still part of the product. We covered such features as Service Broker, auto-shrink, database diagrams, XML indexes, and a variety of others. I picked these features because of the buzz they’ve generated over the years and the landslide of opinions that went with it.

Despite all the brouhaha, Microsoft seems determined to keep these components in play, at least in the foreseeable future. Not all features have been so lucky. SQL Server’s history is checkered with memories of features past, components deprecated or dropped during one of the product’s many release cycles, sometimes with little fanfare. Many of these features have generated their own fair share of controversy, either because of how they were implemented or because they were removed. Other components have barely been missed.

Here we look at a number of features that were once part of SQL Server and have since been removed or deprecated, with some being dismissed many years back. For the most part, I’ve listed the features in alphabetical order to avoid prioritizing them or editorializing too much on their departure. You can think of this article as a trip down memory lane, without the nostalgia or remorse that often accompanies such reflection. Mostly it’s just a way to have some fun as we finish up this series.

Active Directory Helper Service

The Active Directory Helper Service, MSSQLServerADHelper, was introduced in SQL Server 2000 to help integrate SQL Server with Active Directory (AD). The service made it possible for the SQL Server service to register itself in an AD domain. In this way, the SQL Server service could run under a domain account with local administrative rights, while being able to add or remove AD objects related to the SQL Server instance.

Only one instance of the Helper Service ran on a host server, regardless of the number of SQL Server instances installed on that host. The service ran only when the SQL Server service needed to access AD. The Helper Service also played a role in replication and SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). To support the service, SQL Server included three system stored procedures: sp_ActiveDirectory_Obj, sp_ActiveDirectory_SCP and sp_ActiveDirectory_Start.

Microsoft discontinued the Helper Service in SQL Server 2012, removing the service and its associated stored procedures from the product. The company provided few specifics for why the service was removed, but it appears that the service was simply no longer being used.

Data Transformation Services

Anyone who’s been around SQL Server for any length of time will no doubt remember Data Transformation Services (DTS), that loveable collection of features and tools for carrying out data extract, transform and load (ETL) operations.

First introduced in SQL Server 7, DTS provided the components necessary connect to SQL Server and other data sources in order to import or export data and transform it along the way. Prior to that, database developers had to rely on utilities such as bcp to move data from one place to another, with few useful tools for efficiently transforming the data.

With DTS developers could define savable packages that connected to heterogeneous data sources and performed ETL operations. They could then run the packages on demand or schedule them to run at regular intervals.

Unfortunately, DTS had a number of limitations, especially when considered against the backdrop of a rapidly changing data culture. For this reason, Microsoft effectively ditched DTS in SQL Server 2005 and offered in its place SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), a far more robust ETL tool that included advanced control flow, error handling, and transformation capabilities, along with a number of other new and improved features.

DBCC gang

Over the years, Microsoft has introduced and then removed an assortment of SQL Server DBCC statements. (DBCC is short for Database Console Commands.) One of these statements was DBCCDBREPAIR, which provided a quick way to drop a damaged database. In SQL Server 2005, Microsoft gave this statement the boot, informing customers that they should instead use the DROPDATABASE statement going forward.

Another DBCC statement that Microsoft finally ousted was DBCCNEWALLOC, which could be used to verify data and index page allocation within the extent structure. Starting with SQL Server 2000, Microsoft included the statement only for backward compatibility, removing it altogether in SQL Server 2014.

A couple other DBCC statements that have been laid to rest are DBCCPINTABLE and DBCCUNPINTABLE. The first was used to mark a table as pinned, and the second to mark it as unpinned. If a table were pinned, the database engine would not flush the table’s pages from memory.

Microsoft introduced the ability to pin a table in SQL Server 6.5 as a way to boost performance. Unfortunately, pinning a table resulted in adverse effects, such as damaging the buffer pool or causing the server to run out of memory. It wasn’t long before Microsoft disabled these statements, although they’re still part of the T-SQL lexicon. They just don’t do anything.

The DBCCROWLOCK is another statement that goes back to SQL Server 6.5. The statement enabled Insert Row Locking (IRL) operations on a database’s tables. However, this capability became unnecessary because Microsoft soon automated row locking. In fact, by SQL Server 2000, the statement was included for backward compatibility only, although it wasn’t until SQL Server 2014 that Microsoft finally removed the statement.

Microsoft also removed the DBCCTEXTALL and DBCCTEXTALLOC statements from SQL Server 2014. The DBCCTEXTALL statement verified the integrity of the text, ntext, and image columns for all tables in a database. The DBCCTEXTALLOC statement did the same thing, but only for a specified table. Both statements originated with SQL Server 6.5 and by SQL Server 2000 were included for backward compatibility only.

No doubt, plenty of other T-SQL statements have come and gone, many without leaving a paper trail, but SQL Server 2014 seemed particularly hard on DBCC statements. Perhaps Microsoft saw that as a good time to do a bit of house-cleaning.

English Query

Introduced in SQL Server 6.5, English Query made it possible to automatically transform a question or statement written in English into a T-SQL statement. Microsoft offered English Query as part of SQL Server and as a standalone product.

English Query included a development environment and runtime engine to support the query transformation process. Ideally, an end user could type a question into an application’s text box, English Query would interpret the question and generate the T-SQL query, and the database engine would return the results, just like any other query.

In SQL Server 2005, Microsoft ditched English Query altogether. From then on, customers could no longer install or upgrade the product. However, if they upgraded a SQL Server 2000 instance to SQL Server 2005, and English Query had been implemented in the original installation, the English Query component would still work. In addition, customers with a SQL Server 2005 license could apparently install SQL Server 2000 and then use English Query against a SQL Server 2005 database, but those days are long gone.

Like many SQL Server features, English Query received an assortment of mixed reviews. Some developers liked it and made use of it. Others did not. At some point, Microsoft must have determined there was not enough interest in the feature to bother, so English Query got the axe, which came as a surprise to a number of users.

Perhaps in this case, Microsoft had been ahead of its time. When you consider how far we’ve come with technologies such as Siri, Google Assistant, and even Cortana, the potential for English Query was certainly there.

Native XML Web Services

In SQL Server 2005, Microsoft added Native XML Web Services to provide a standards-based structure for facilitating access to the database engine. Using these services, an application could send a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) request to a SQL Server instance in order to execute T-SQL batch statements, stored procedures, or scalar-valued user-defined functions.

To carry out these operations, a SOAP/HTTP endpoint had to be defined on the server to provide a gateway for HTTP clients issuing SOAP requests. The T-SQL modules (batch statements, procedures, and functions) were made available as web methods to the endpoint users. Together these methods formed the basis of the web service.

Microsoft deprecated the Native XML Web Services in SQL Server 2008, with the recommendation that any SOAP/HTTP endpoints be converted to ASP.NET or Windows Communications Foundation (WCF) endpoints. These newer technologies were considered more robust, scalable, and secure than SOAP. Microsoft eventually removed the Native XML Web Services feature altogether.

Northwind and pubs databases

Who among us does not remember the pubs and Northwind databases? Even today, you can find references to them strewn across the web (mostly in outdated resources). They certainly deserve a mention as we stroll down memory lane.

The pubs database was developed by Sybase and came to Microsoft as part of the Sybase-Microsoft partnership in the early ’90s. The database included about 10 or so tables, based on a bookstore model. For example, the database contained the Titles, Authors, and Publishers tables, among several others. The pubs database provided a clean and simple example for demonstrating such concepts as many-to-many relationships and atomic data modeling.

But the pubs database was too basic to demonstrate more complex data modeling concepts and SQL Server features, so with the release of SQL Server 2000, Microsoft also introduced the Northwind database, which had its origins in Microsoft Access. The SQL Server team coopted the database to provide a more useful example of database concepts, without having to do a lot of the work themselves.

The Northwind database was based on a manufacturing model and included such tables as Customers, Orders and Employees. The database was still relatively simple, offering only a few more tables than the pubs database, but it helped to demonstrate slightly more complex relationships, such as hierarchical data. With the release of SQL Server 2005, the Northwind database was usurped by the now infamous AdventureWorks database.

Notification Services

Microsoft introduced Notifications Services in SQL Server 2000 to provide a platform for developing and deploying applications that generated and sent notifications to subscribers. Notification Services allowed developers to build applications that could send critical information to customers, employees, or other types of users when data changed in a specified way.

Developers could set up the service to generate and send notifications whenever triggering events occurred. In addition, subscribers could schedule notifications to be generated and sent at their convenience. The service could be configured to send notifications to a subscriber’s email account, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or Windows Messenger account.

Microsoft pulled the plug on Notification Services in SQL Server 2008 because the feature was not being implemented enough, which I doubt surprised many. Notification Services had a reputation for being inflexible, confusing, and difficult to implement, requiring a great deal of patience just to get a solution up-and-running. That said, some developers were able to make Notification Services work and thought it could do some cool stuff, but they seemed to be the exception. For most, getting to that point wasn’t worth the effort.

After pulling Notification Services from the product, Microsoft recommended that users turn to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and take advantage of such features as data-driven subscriptions.

SQL Mail

I’m not sure when Microsoft introduced SQL Mail, but it was there in the early days of SQL Server, providing users with a tool for sending, receiving, deleting, and processing email messages. Best of all, the service could send messages that included T-SQL query results.

SQL Mail used the Extended Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) to communicate with an external email server and process email messages. However, to make this possible, an application that supported Extended MAPI also had to be installed on the server that hosted the SQL Server instance. The application would then provide SQL Server with the Extended MAPI components needed to communicate with the email server.

Microsoft introduced Database Mail in SQL Server 2005 as a replacement to SQL Mail because Database Mail was more robust and secure and offered better performance. Database Mail was also based on the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), rather than MAPI, and did not require that a local email application be installed. Microsoft finally dropped SQL Mail in SQL Server 2012.

SQL Server Distributed Management Objects

SQL Server Database Management Objects (SQL-DMO) were a collection of programming objects that facilitated database and replication management. The objects made it possible to automate repetitive administrative tasks as well as create and manage SQL Server objects and SQL Server Agent jobs, alerts, and operators. Developers could create SQL-DMO applications using any OLE Automation controller or COM client development platform based on C or C++.

By SQL Server 2005, SQL-DMO could no longer keep up with the new capabilities being introduced into the database platform. The time had come to replace the aging APIs. As a result, Microsoft introduced SQL Management Objects (SMO), a more robust set of APIs for administering SQL Server. SMO offered advanced caching and scripting features, along with a number of other capabilities, such as delayed instantiation.

To support backward compatibility, Microsoft continued to include SQL-DMO until SQL Server 2012, when it was dropped unceremoniously from the product. The thinking, no doubt, was that seven years was long enough for developers to update their apps and move into the 21st century.

Surface Area Configuration Tool

Remember the Surface Area Configuration Tool? It was introduced in SQL Server 2005 and dropped in SQL Server 2008, making it one of the product’s most short-lived features. The idea behind it was to improve security by providing a centralized tool for limiting the number of ways that would-be hackers and cybercriminals could gain access into the SQL Server environment.

The Surface Area Configuration Tool made it possible for administrators to enable, disable, start, or stop SQL Server features and services, as well as control remote connectivity. The tool leveraged WMI to facilitate these capabilities. Microsoft also made a command-line version of the tool available.

After dropping the Surface Area Configuration Tool, Microsoft recommended that users turn to such tools as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), SQL Server Configuration Manager, and policy-based management.

Utility hit list

As with many SQL Server components that have come and gone over the years, so too have an assortment of command-line utilities. Take, for example, the isql utility, which would let users run T-SQL statements, stored procedures, and script files from a command prompt. The utility used the old DB-Library protocol to communicate with SQL Server. Microsoft stopped including the isql utility in SQL Server 2005, pointing users to the sqlcmd utility as a replacement.

A similar utility, osql, does pretty much everything the isql utility did, except that it uses the ODBC protocol. However, the osql utility has been deprecated since at least SQL Server 2012 and will likely be pulled from the product in the not-too-distant future.

The same fate is in store for the sqlps utility, which launches a Windows PowerShell session, with the SQL Server PowerShell provider and related cmdlets loaded and registered.

Another deprecated utility is sqlmaint, which is slated to be removed after SQL Server 2017. The sqlmaint utility carries out database maintenance operations, such as performing DBCC checks, backing up database and log files, rebuilding indexes, and updating statistics. Going forward, DBAs should use the SQL Server maintenance plan feature instead.

A couple other deprecated utilities are makepipe and readpipe, which are used to test the integrity of the SQL Server Named Pipe services. Both utilities will soon be removed. In fact, they’re not even installed during setup, although they can still be found on the installation media. Same goes for the odbcping utility, which tests the integrity of an ODBC data source and verifies client connectivity.

Web Assistant

The Web Assistant, which I believe was introduced in SQL Server 7, offered a wizard for generating static HTML pages that contained SQL Server data. The wizard used a set of related system stored procedures to build the pages initially and to rebuild them if the data changed. The pages were fairly rudimentary, even by late ’90s standards, but were adequate enough for simple use cases.

With the release of SQL Server 2005, Microsoft did away with the wizard and kept only the stored procedures, which finally got dumped in SQL Server 2014. Whether anyone used the procedures after the wizard was removed is hard to say. Whether they used the wizard before that is even more of a mystery. I doubt many even noticed the procedures were gone.

To the best of my knowledge, Microsoft has not tried to replace this feature, perhaps deciding that static web pages provided little value, that HTML development has gotten far too sophisticated, that SSRS is more than adequate, or that a relational database management system was not the best place to be playing at HTML development. For whatever reason, Web Assistant and all of its offspring are gone for good.

History in the making

There are undoubtedly plenty of other SQL Server features that have gone missing over the years, in addition to what we’ve covered here. Perhaps you recall a few components that have a special place in your heart. Given how SQL Server has expanded and evolved over the years, it would be difficult to catch them all, especially if you also consider SSRS, SSAS, SSIS, or various other components. Whether or not you agree with their demise is another matter altogether.

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New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy Execution

Bpm’online on Thursday introduced software update 7.11 for its intelligent customer relationship management and business process management platform, with more than 200 improvements designed to accelerate strategy execution.

Among the key new features:

  • Machine learning capabilities and predictive algorithms that offer users relevant information and automation within a specific context based on analysis of historical data. These additions let the platform make intelligent recommendations across a variety of business applications, ranging from automatically identifying customer needs to specifying an opportunity category, or predicting the best agent to resolve an open case;
  • A revamped campaign engine, which makes marketing process automation simple and speedy. Its new interface lets users design highly personalized campaigns, set up complex branching based on multiple criteria, and create entrance and exit conditions for campaign participants;
  • Extended BPM and case management capabilities for streamlined process automation, including the ability to run processes for selected records in any section of the system; capabilities to deeply co-figure the rules and conditions of transition between all stages; tools to effortlessly track all tasks associated with a business process;
  • Mobile app enhancements, including extended filtering capabilities and revamped customizable push notifications for events, system updates and other items; and
  • One-click Bpm’online marketplace integration, which lets users easily install or add a wide variety of applications, add-ons or process templates directly from the marketplace.

The company provides a unified platform for marketing, sales and service.

200 New Features – Twice

Bpm’online rolled out its previous update, 7.10, this spring — also with 200 enhancements and updates, and featuring enhanced tools to help businesses accelerate strategy execution.

Two hundred “is not a magic number,” said Matthew Tharp, Bpm’online’s chief evangelist.

“It happens to be the number of updates and enhancements we were able to release for 7.11,” he told CRM Buyer. “We’re determined with each release to address as many requests and great ideas as possible.”

Bpm’online is “an agile organization, so we do updates every three weeks,” Tharp said. The company delivers three to four major releases each year that have “more substantial features and functionality.”

Machine Learning and AI

Bpm’online developed its machine learning and AI capabilities in-house using open libraries and algorithms, Tharp noted.

“Because of the strengths of the company’s BPM capabilities, it’s well positioned to use AI to automate not just recommendations, but processes for customers,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“Key to getting value out of AI is operationalizing it on a broad scale,” she told CRM Buyer. “Customer device data, for example, is a ripe territory for that.”

Giving Marketing a Boost

Update 7.11’s revamped campaign engine “can work with relevant marketing applications and can orchestrate across channels for a comprehensive marketing stack,” Tharp said.

The campaign engine has open application programming interfaces that let customers add custom elements as desired.

“Revamping of the marketing engine is great news, as it should drive down the learning curve for marketers and make them more productive in the long run,” Wettemann said.

For the Enterprise

Bpm’online developed its product with the complex architectures of large enterprises in mind, Tharp noted.

“Speed is … a major challenge for larger organizations, which have more systems and more complexity, and need technology that enables them to move as fast as smaller [companies] when it comes to changing or adding new process automation, or integrating new applications into an existing process,” he explained.

“The ability to scale and deliver not just implementations, but add-on products and capabilities, depends on the strength of the ecosystem,” Wettemann remarked. “Bpm’online’s advances in this area will make it easier for partners to monetize their intellectual property and strengthen partner relationships.”

Competitors for BPM deals include Pega and Appian, Tharp said. For CRM deals, BPM’online’s competitors include Salesforce and Microsoft.
end enn New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy Execution

Richard%20Adhikari New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy ExecutionRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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CRM Buyer

3 New Microsoft Dynamics 365 Features We’re Excited About

CRM Blog 3 New Microsoft Dynamics 365 Features We’re Excited About

Microsoft has recently made available its latest update for Microsoft Dynamics 365, which comes with a host of new features and enhancements. Many improvements and functionalities have been added to existing features, while new applications have also been made available to take your business even further.

While we’ve recently written about Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent, an application specifically designed for the management of human resources, here are 3 other new features that we at JOVACO Solutions are most excited about:

1. Microsoft Relationship Sales

This is a joint solution provided by Microsoft and LinkedIn, which brings together LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Enterprise Edition through deeper integration. It allows users to view and synchronize LinkedIn data for Leads, Accounts, and Contacts, as well as quickly track company and profile data, appointments and messages from within Dynamics 365. By centralizing all this information, the solution makes it possible to build stronger relationships with clients and buyers, while also improving productivity.

2. Multi-Select Option Sets

This may seem like a simple, basic functionality, but we’re really excited about this one. This new feature allows you to add simple, intuitive multi-select option sets on forms. The list is searchable, allowing users to quickly access the items they want, and then simply click their checkbox to select them. This makes it possible to better target customers, for instance, and identify them based on the criteria available in the set. Many practical uses can be applied to this seemingly simple feature, such as improving searches and customer targeting.

3. Unified Interface

All products under Microsoft Dynamics 365 will now use the same unified interface. Not only does this make it look sleeker, it also ensures that users can complete all their activities and tasks from one familiar and user-friendly interface. This of course improves productivity and increases user adoption rates by facilitating operations and tasks. Both mobile and desktop apps also use the same responsive UI across all devices, ensuring an intuitive, familiar environment wherever users are working from.

Of course, several other features have become available with the new update, including the new Microsoft Dynamics for Retail solution, designed to meet the specific needs of retailers. An activity timeline also displays activities and posts into a single feed, while optimized business process flows, enhanced customer insights and an updated Web client improve operations and client interactions. In short, we’re excited about this new iteration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and are looking forward to making the most of it.

By JOVACO Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics 365 specialist in Quebec

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

enCloud9’s Favorite 6 Upcoming Features in Dynamics 365

CRM Blog enCloud9’s Favorite 6 Upcoming Features in Dynamics 365

If you are a fan of Microsoft Dynamics 365, keeping up on the future direction of the application is probably important to you. Microsoft has made it easy with the Microsoft Roadmap for Dynamics 365. Bookmark this frequently updated page and you will always have a quick and easy way to keep up with features that are planned over the next 6 to 18 months. Visit this roadmap occasionally, as they keep everything up to date on new features coming out- even before their release dates.  In looking at it today, here are the top 6 that I’m excited about.

  1. Customer Backup and Restore
    • As part of our trusted cloud investments, Dynamics 365 (online) customers will be able to do their own Dynamics 365 backups and restores to meet their business data recovery plans. Customers will be able to back up their Dynamics 365 database to Azure storage using a secure data transfer (not the public Internet). Customers will also be able to download and connect their backup to an on-premises environment. This feature provides several potential scenarios, including a local developer experience.
  2. LinkedIn Engagement and Acquisition
    • Monitoring of LinkedIn Company Pages owned by your company, and engagement on posts and comments from Company Pages.
  3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales
    • This integration enables organizations to improve the performance of their sales processes by taking advantage of the information richness available on LinkedIn’s company and person public profiles:

      • Display Sales Navigator person and company information on every Dynamics 365 for Sales lead, contact, account and opportunity page
      • Automatically perform daily updates between systems so the accounts and contacts sales reps are actively working on in Dynamics 365 for Sales are saved to Sales Navigator. In addition, sales reps can see in Sales Navigator what people and companies are already saved in Dynamics 365 for Sales, and vice-versa
      • With a single click, write select Sales Navigator activities (InMails, messages, notes and call logs) to Dynamics 365 for Sales
  4. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
    • The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms allows you to automatically sync leads captured on LinkedIn with your Dynamics 365 (online) organization so that your sales and marketing teams can develop and nurture them.

      • This connector will be available as a separate standalone solution which can be installed from AppSource optionally (if you have Dynamics 365 for Sales).
      • This connector will be bundled by default with Dynamics 365 for Marketing (Business Edition).
  5. Relationship Analytics
    • Stay on top of your relationships and uncover new ones.  Understand what is happening with your team’s relationship with the customer with relationship KPIs, activity history and relationship health.
  6. Prospect to cash integration of Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Operations
    • This solution leverages the strengths of the individual Dynamics 365 components and connects them via Common Data Service. While the data is flowing seamlessly between Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365 for Sales, customers can carry out sales and marketing activities in Dynamics 365 for Sales and handle the order fulfillment with inventory management in Dynamics 365 for Operations. This solution provides powerful integration with a flexible solution and simplification of the integration process, without dependency on third-party solutions. These advancements offer the best of both worlds, each with significant productivity enhancements that help businesses and workers achieve more.

All of these updates will continue to transform how organizations use Dynamics 365 to manage Customer Engagement. Be sure to visit the Roadmap periodically to stay informed.

About enCloud9

enCloud9, based in Omaha, NE has one of the most experienced Microsoft Dynamics CRM teams in the US. From pre-sales to project management, and user support, we respond quickly with our expertise to answer your questions.

Our history dates back to 2009 – During the Dynamics CRM 4.0 days! – but our experience dates back even longer. Our consultants have been advising companies for almost thirty years to give them the tools to achieve their goals. Our experience leads to your success. We use our unique approach to help small and medium-sized businesses lower their costs and boost productivity through Microsoft’s powerful range of cloud-based software.

We can be contacted at our webform or call us today at 1-844-264-0729

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

NetSuite Adds More Features Across Billing, Global, Ecommerce and Deeper Verticals

04.26.17 suiteworld2017 evankeynote g9 15 9883 NetSuite Adds More Features Across Billing, Global, Ecommerce and Deeper Verticals

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director

Sue Vestri, CFO of Greenphire, a company that provides reimbursement and other financial services for pharmaceutical companies running clinical trials, has been a NetSuite customer at three different companies over nine years.

That lengthy and varied experience gave her some perspective on NetSuite’s growth.

“I’ve seen the evolution,” Vestri said from the stage on the second day of SuiteWorld17, NetSuite’s annual conference. “SuiteBilling is no different. It’s been a great tool for us.”

Introduced last year, SuiteBilling is a cloud solution designed to support the billing needs of any business model, whether product- or project-based or a combination thereof.

“We have a hybrid model with flat fees and usage-based billing,” Vestri said. “And the usage billing is tedious and manual. With SuiteBilling we upload usage-based data and it automatically populates invoices. It literally saves us days of work. I have used other point solutions that are usage base. I love that is core in NetSuite right now in a unified system.”

SuiteBilling and NetSuite Revenue Recognition were just some of the enhancements NetSuite announced at SuiteWorld on Wednesday. SuiteBilling and Revenue Recognition have been updated to support compliance with ASC 606, upcoming changes to the revenue recognition standards, and new billing price books, which allow for multiple pricing schemes with a subscription plan. Other recent enhancements to NetSuite span: global financials; revenue recognition and billing; SRP; supply chain management; Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and system performance. For more details read the press release on Next Ready ERP.

Go Global, Stay Local

Backed in part by the resources of Oracle, NetSuite’s next phase of international expansion is to “act global, go local” with capabilities for countries and cultures, said Craig Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Enterprise and International Products.

“Being local means going the last mile — or for those from Europe — the last kilometer,” he said. “We recognize that being local is critical to your success and the work of your employees.”

As a result, NetSuite plans on more hires to staff local teams and local product managers. Already, NetSuite has announced new capabilities for Nordic-based countries in OneWorld.

Greater Vertical Depth

NetSuite also continues its focus digging deeper into industry verticals. Executive Vice President of Development Evan Goldberg detailed new grid order management and weekly style trend summary features that will serve customers like Journelle and Toad and Co. In fact, NetSuite is delving deeper into fashion with an offering for fashion accessories and other microverticals like advertising agencies and campus book stores.

“If you don’t see your microvertical in the presentation today, don’t worry, it’s coming,” Goldberg said.

Other feature enhancements target outsourced manufacturers and professional services with an emphasis on project-centric ERP vs. product-centric ERP. Rather than base the relationship off of a sales order, it will start with the project, enabling businesses to better track labor costs and material costs.

“Our vision is to make every part of the project successful from scoping to sign off,” Goldberg said.

New SuiteCommerce Edition Unveiled

NetSuite also unveiled SuiteCommerce Standard, new ecommerce software that provides more than the baseline SiteBuilder software but without some of the advanced functionality of SuiteCommerce Advanced that some customers have said they do not yet need. SuiteCommerce Standard is intended to give customers the ability to quickly set up a webstore with a low total cost of ownership. Additionally, new SuitePromotions allows marketers to create online promotions from right within NetSuite via point and click controls in an enhanced user interface. NetSuite automatically applies promotions to the customer’s cart and can use best offer logic to suggest additional items.

Finally, Goldberg focused on performance improvements NetSuite has made. A two-year effort to focus on the pages customers access most, viewing customer records and sales orders, has resulted in 29 percent faster load times. Additionally, with best practices learned from the SuiteSuccess initiative, some customers have seen improvements of 47 percent faster loads.

Posted on Tue, May 2, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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The NetSuite Blog

New Features – Dynamics 365 Data Storage

With the upgrade to Dynamics 365, Microsoft has doubled the basic data storage included with your subscription. Previously, Dynamics CRM Online Subscriptions came with a basic 5 GB that you could use across all instances, including production instances and sandboxes. That 5 GB could be used up pretty quickly and we helped clients to maximize their storage usage in many different ways. With Dynamics 365 CRM, the default storage limit was increased to 10GB across all instances within a tenant. In addition, Organizations can add more storage to their organization in 2 ways – They can purchase additional storage from the Office 365 portal at an additional cost per month. Today that cost is $ 9.95 per GB per month. The second way to increase Dynamics 365 is to add additional Storage – An additional 5 GB of storage is added for every 20 full user licenses. There is no limit to additional free storage (previously this was limited to 50 GB) up to the technical limit of 5 TB.

 New Features – Dynamics 365 Data Storage
via Microsoft Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide

The Data Hogs

While 10 GB of storage seems like a lot of data at first, over the years that data will be consumed, sometime way faster than might be expected. We have identified several Data hogs that should be monitored

One of these factors is Auditing. Lots of companies turn on auditing for the entire CRM instance without thinking of the ramifications of Audit Logs. If auditing is turned on for too many CRM entities, the size of the audit logs quickly become very large. If you choose to use Auditing, then plan to audit only the most relevant entities and keep an eye on those audit logs.

Another factor leading to over usage of data is Workflows – Workflows lead to several situations – An incorrectly created workflow can result in thousands of workflows in a suspended state. These suspended workflows take up lots of storage as well as slowing your CRM system down. Also logs full of completed workflows can take up lots of data that can be recovered. .

However the leading factor that causes data usage is Attachments – both email attachments and attachments to notes – While we like to encourage users to attach their relevant emails into CRM, attaching too may emails with large attachments can quickly eat up the available storage. Monitoring large attachments and

What happens when you use too much storage?

When your system consumes 80% of available storage, System Administrators will begin to receive frequent email notifications as well as nag screens when they access CRM. I have never found a way to shut these off and they do become annoying. The only cure is to reduce the storage used below 80% or purchase additional storage through the Office 365 Administration portal.

So how do I reduce my database usage?

In our next blog we will talk through several tools and strategies for minimizing and controlling data usage. In the meantime, if you have any questions on managing your storage or licensing Dynamics 365, call our sales team at 1844-264-0729. We love helping You to make the best usage of your CRM system.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

New Features in Dynamics 365: Using PowerApps and Microsoft Flow with CRM

CRM Blog New Features in Dynamics 365: Using PowerApps and Microsoft Flow with CRM

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Subscriptions includes PowerApps. We have used it to build a custom app for a client to be used by their Field Service team to track site visits. This differs from the traditional Dynamics 365 Tablet and Phone app in that PowerApps allow their technicians to use an application that focuses directly on the task at hand. The app is specific to their need to access work orders, update information on the work orders and then submit the work orders at the end of their visit. The Dynamics 365 Tablet and Phone app would have more distractions for the technicians – sales, marketing etc are included by default.

Luis demonstrates several apps including a Customer Survey app to track customer sentiment and a custom sales app:

If what you see above interests you, feel free to contact enCloud9 – we are Dynamics 365 and CRM professionals. It’s all we do, and we do it very well. For more tips, please subscribe to our blog. To discuss how enCloud9 can make CRM better for you and your users, please contact us at 402-235-8540 or fill out our webform. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Webinars 3/30-5/31: R Script, Marketing Insights, Modeling Deep Dive, New Flow Features, Power BI Embedded, and Visualization Best Practices from Marco Russo

We have an exciting selection of webinars coming up over the next few months! Whether you’re a Power BI modelling expert, a PowerApps developer, or someone who is curious about Microsoft Flow — or anyone in-between — we’ve got a free webinar for you, featuring experts from both within Microsoft and your community.

In the past you’ve asked for us to try some different platforms for our webinars, and this Spring we’re pleased to announce the addition of YouTube live video to our lineup! Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get automatic updates and reminders, or use the “Subscribe and join live” links below to be taken right to the event.

Using R Script with Power BI by Leila Etaati

In this webinar, Dr. Leila Etaati will walk us through one her favorite topics: how to take advantage of R Script with Power BI. This demo-rich session will cover a number of topics, including how to use R script as a data source in Power BI Desktop.

Register today!
When: 3/30/2017 12:00PM

About Leila Etaati

 Webinars 3/30 5/31: R Script, Marketing Insights, Modeling Deep Dive, New Flow Features, Power BI Embedded, and Visualization Best Practices from Marco Russo

Dr. Leila Etaati is Principal Data Scientist, BI Consultant, and Speaker. She has over 10 years’ experience working with databases and software systems. Leila has enabled Enterprise companies take advantage of cutting-edge cost-saving BI technologies and practices around the world. Leila has PhD of Information System department, University of Auckland, MS and BS in computer science. Leila is Microsoft Data Platform MVP.

Marketing Insights with Power BI webinar by Ken Puls and Miguel Escobar

Understanding your online site traffic, email marketing campaigns, newsletter subscriber signups, and Social Media performance are just a few of the challenges that modern marketers have to face. The data that we want to analyze is spread across different systems, like Google Analytics, MailChimp, Twitter, and even inside our local database or spreadsheets, and trying to consolidate all of the data into one single report is an extremely complex task. We often miss the bigger picture! Fortunately, this is a problem of the past, thanks to Power BI. In this session, we’ll showcase a real life solution that two Power BI professionals use to track their marketing efforts online, and talk about how Power BI has helped them grow their business.

Register today!
When:  4/06/2017 10:00 AM

clip image0027 Webinars 3/30 5/31: R Script, Marketing Insights, Modeling Deep Dive, New Flow Features, Power BI Embedded, and Visualization Best Practices from Marco Russo

About Ken Puls

Ken is a Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA, FCMA) in Canada, and the president of Excelguru Consulting Inc. Ken’s passion lies in exploring tools to turn data into information, and teaching others how to benefit from them.  He has held the Microsoft MVP distinction since 2006, have been recognized as a Fellow of my accounting organization and as one of the “Top 20 under 40” business & community leaders on Vancouver Island and currently leading the PowerBI Usergroup in sunny Vancouver Canada

About Miguel Escobar

“Music by night and data by day” summarizes the passions of this Excel-specialist-turned-BI-expert. Miguel is the co-author of ‘M is for Data Monkey’, a frequent blogger, and also the YouTuber behind a series of powerful Excel tricks on video. 

Deep dive into data modeling using Power BI desktop and SQL Server Analysis Services

The Analysis Services model used in both Power BI Desktop and SSAS allows the solving of very complex modelling issues. In this session, we will look at solving several complex modelling problems, like many-to-many, using the latest version of Power BI Desktop and Analysis Services. This is a “Level 300″ webinar, and you’ll need to have some understanding of Power BI Desktop and data modelling to get the most out of it.

Subscribe and join live!
When: 4/13/2017 12:00PM

Getting Started with the Common Data Services by Jono Luk

This topic is based on requests from early webinars! The Common Data Services (aka CDS) is a relatively new and unique opportunity for managing data. We will learn about the value of CDS for many purposes and how to make the most of the out-of-the-box entities, as well as learn some basic principles around when to, and how to, create your own custom entities!

Register today!
When: 4/18/2017 10:00 AM

About Jono Luk

Jono is the Group Program Manager for the Common Data Service, the data and app platform for the Microsoft Dynamics 365 service and applications. The CDS is tasked with enabling the broad spectrum of business customers and partners, from citizen developers to high-end ISVs, to adopt and thrive on the Microsoft business app platform. As GPM, Jono is responsible for the definition, development and execution of the product vision and usage of the CDS, with a focus on feature and business development for the Core Entity Model, Data Access, Data Integration & Connectivity, Security/Trustworthiness and Collaboration & Productivity, Admin and ISV scenarios.

Introducing a New Flow Feature to Better Enable People-based Automation

This is an exciting webinar — we’ll be debuting a new feature live, on screen! Microsoft Flow helps you automate a variety of business processes, including streamlining approvals. In this webinar, Merwan Hade, Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft Flow team, will announce and walk through a brand new Flow feature that you can use to quickly set up personnel-dependent workflows, enabling time savings through automation. The specific feature details are being intentionally withheld for pending announcements — join us to be the first to find out.

Subscribe and join live!
When: 4/20/2017 10:00 AM

Getting Started with PowerApps Controls

PowerApps currently has seven media controls, including Barcode and Video controls. This webinar will present key best practices regarding the use of these controls. Don’t miss out on this session, where you’ll learn how to enhance your PowerApps, and make your them stand out in a crowd!

Subscribe and join live!
When 4/25/2017 10:00 AM

Microsoft Flow best practices and examples for Business Analysts by Jon Levesque

Microsoft Flow can create workflows, notifications, automation, collect data and synchronize files between practically any application, services and most data sources. In this webinar, Jon Levesque, Senior Program Manager Flow team, will focus on those activities and talk about design patterns that enable business analysts to get the most out of this do-anything software tool.

Subscribe and join live!
When: 5/2/2017 10:00AM

Power Apps in-depth by Archana Nair

With six months of producing PowerApps applications inside of Microsoft and with our largest customers, the team has amassed a series of best practices, tips, and tricks for PowerApps development. In this week’s webinar, Archana Nair will walk you through her list of top tips that will help you be even more productive with your PowerApps development.

Subscribe and join live!
When: 5/16/2017 10:00AM

What’s New, Exciting, and Coming Next for Power BI Embedded by Aviv Ezrachi

Power BI Embedded is an Azure service that enables you to integrate impactful and interactive data visualizations built in Power BI Desktop into your web or mobile applications. In this webinar, Aviv Ezrachi will start with a level set as to what Power BI Embedded offers developers, walk through some announcements of recent and forth coming releases, and finish with the team’s future priorities.

Register today!
When: 5/18/2017 10:00 AM

About Aviv Ezrachi

image181 Webinars 3/30 5/31: R Script, Marketing Insights, Modeling Deep Dive, New Flow Features, Power BI Embedded, and Visualization Best Practices from Marco Russo

Aviv is a seasoned Product Manager (MSC) with over 12 years’ experience in various roles in telecom and enterprise software development.

Power BI visualization best practices by Marco Russo

Designing great looking Power BI reports and dashboards isn’t just about beauty; it also makes the information easier to understand. In this webinar, Marco Russo will give us a sneak peek at his soon-to-be-released training series on this exciting topic.

Subscribe and join live!
When: 5/31/2017 10:00AM

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Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Two Great New Power BI Features

Today I have decided to stray from my normal topics to talk about two exciting updates in Power BI Desktop this month. March 2017 really was a great release, but the 2 things I am most excited about are the new Matrix preview and Custom Report Themes (color palettes) also in preview.

The capability of the matrix visual has been a big gap for a very long time (since the beginning actually).  The current matrix barely meets the minimum capability to make it usable.  It is fine if you want 1 item on rows and 1 one columns, but it falls away very quickly thereafter. All that changed last week with the delivery of a new matrix preview.

Turn On The Preview

Microsoft often releases functionality that is not quite finished but is good enough to let it loose on the community. All these preview items can be turned on/off in the preview settings window. You can find the preview features window at File\Options and Settings\Options.

image thumb 4 Two Great New Power BI Features

Once you set the options, you will need to restart Power BI Desktop for them to take effect.

After turning on the preview, you will see there is an additional matrix visual.

image thumb 5 Two Great New Power BI Features

I like this approach as it means anyone using the existing basic matrix can continue to do so without breaking anything while Microsoft builds out the new features.

Expand, Collapse, Drill and Filter

Expand and collapse behaves just like a pivot table however with a slightly different UI. The new matrix experience is however entirely consistent with the chart drill experience so it is very intuitive.

matrix ppp Two Great New Power BI Features

The new cross filter behaviour is of course not possible in a regular pivot table in Excel (without VBA). You can select any column, row or cell in the matrix and it will cross drill the other visuals on the canvas as can be seen above.

Staggered Column

The staggered column formatting is is a nice touch allowing the user to change the offset of the nested columns as you can see below.

stepped layout Two Great New Power BI Features

The second killer feature this month is custom report themes.  I’ve worked on developing custom software and solutions for many years. In my experience custom color palettes can be a deal breaker for some users. Custom colors won’t help you improve the quality of the analysis but if you don’t let the users have their corporate colour palette, then you will be on a hiding to nothing. I figure just let them have the colors they want and move on.

Custom report themes are also in preview and still have a way to go before they are fully integrated into the UI. But thankfully Microsoft has fast tracked the preview to allow those that need these to get started.  You can turn on this preview feature the same way as before with the matrix.  After you turn on the preview feature, you will be able to import your own custom theme as shown below.

image thumb 6 Two Great New Power BI Features

But before you can do that, you need to create your own theme file.

Create a JSON Configuration File

To use the preview feature, you need to create a JSON configuration file that contains the color codes you want.  This is not very user friendly in its current form, but that is the price you have to pay to get the feature more quickly as a preview feature.  It is pretty easy to create one – I just did it using Notepad.exe.

It is also very helpful to get a screen colour palette tool to help you. There are many on the web that you can use – I used this one to find something l liked.


If you already have a corporate palette then you really just need a way to accurately select the correct color hex codes (eg using a screen color picker tool) – I use FastStone Capture.  If you want to build something from scratch, then a web based color palette tool can be your friend.

Here is the content of the JSON file I created








I just added the above code to a new NotePad file, then saved this as a text file with the name Excelerator.json (make sure it doesn’t add .txt to the end by first selecting file type *.*) and then I imported it to my Power BI Desktop file using the menus I showed above – it worked first time.

image thumb 7 Two Great New Power BI Features

When I went to select a color thereafter, here is the palette I had available.

image thumb 8 Two Great New Power BI Features

OK, I admit I am not a graphic artist and this first attempt isn’t great.  One really nice thing about the theme feature is that you can specify only a few colors or as many as you want (literally hundreds and hundreds).  In my example above I only specified  2 colors (the 2 light blue columns of colors), and Power BI filled out other possible colors automatically for me across the screen (you can see 6 additional color families).  Also all the color variations down the length of a column are automatically generated by Power BI.

OK, so I didn’t like what I had, so I went back to my color palette tool and tried again.  This time I got something softer on the eyes (less electric).  But of course the whole point is you can have what ever you like.

image thumb 9 Two Great New Power BI Features

Here is my final JSON file








Ironically I started a new project with a client today and these 2 features were on the “I hope they arrive soon because we really need them for this project” list. Perfect timing Microsoft!

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