Important list of Deprecated Features and Funcationalities in Microsoft Dynamics 365

If you are currently responsible for a Microsoft Dynamics CRM system or planning / delivering a Dynamics 365 solution, then you need to be aware of this important Microsoft announcement about the deprecation of some features and functionalities.

Microsoft defines “Deprecated” as an intention to remove the feature or capability from a future major release of Dynamics 365. The feature or capability will continue to work and is fully supported until it is officially removed. This deprecation notification can span a few years. After removal, the feature or capability will no longer work.

Hence, you should start planning replacing these features from your current Dynamics systems or avoid using these capabilities in your current Dynamics 365 implementation projects.

Here is the list of features, functionalities and capabilities officially deprecated and will be removed from Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM:

  • Dynamics 365 for Outlook (Outlook client) is deprecated
  • Service scheduling in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service is deprecated
  • Dialogs are deprecated
  • Usage of Parature knowledgebase as the Dynamics 365 knowledge management solution is deprecated
  • Project Service Finder app is deprecated
  • Contracts, Contract Line Items, and Contract Templates entities are deprecated
  • Relationship Roles are deprecated
  • Mail Merge is deprecated
  • Announcements are deprecated
  • Ready-to-use business processes available through Add Ready to Use Business Processes setting are deprecated
  • Silverlight (XAP) web resource is deprecated
  • The following client APIs are deprecated
    Xrm.Page
    Xrm.Page.context
    Xrm.Page.context.getQueryStringParameters
    Xrm.Page.context.getTimeZoneOffsetMinutes
    Xrm.Page.context.getUserId
    Xrm.Page.context.getUserLcid
    Xrm.Page.context.getUserName
    Xrm.Page.context.getUserRoles
    Xrm.Page.context.getIsAutoSaveEnabled
    Xrm.Page.context.getOrgLcid
    Xrm.Page.context.getOrgUniqueName
    Xrm.Page.data.entity.save(string)
    Xrm.Page.data.entity.getDataXml
    GridRow.getData
    GridRowData.getEntity
    Xrm.Mobile.offline
    parent.Xrm
    addOnKeyPress
    removeOnKeyPress
    showAutoComplete
    hideAutoComplete
    Xrm.Utility.alertDialog
    Xrm.Utility.confirmDialog
    Xrm.Utility.isActivityType
    Xrm.Utility.openEntityForm
    Xrm.Utility.openQuickCreate
    Xrm.Utility.openWebResource

 

For full details about these deprecations and the official Microsoft announcement, please refer to the following Microsoft Documentation:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/get-started/whats-new/customer-engagement/important-changes-coming

Please note that deprecations described in this post and in the original Microsoft Documentation announcement, apply to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement as of the July 2017 Update. All Dynamics professionals should use this information to prepare for future releases of Dynamics 365.

Customer Engagement refers to the applications that make up the CRM portion of Dynamics 365, which includes the Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation applications.

 

Difference between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Portals, ADX Studio, Portals from Microsoft, XRM Portals and Open Source Dynamics Portal

Does this blog post title sound confusing? If yes, then I have to admit it is intentionally written to sound confusing. I made it confusing because this is how I felt after reading about the so many names and naming combinations I heard about Dynamics Porals, ADX Studio portal recently acquired by Microsoft, Dynamics Portals by Microsoft and Microsoft Portals SaaS module.

To clear this confusion, I found this comparison on Adoxio website to be helpful to clarify the confusion:

Source: https://www.adoxio.com/xRM-Portals-Community-Edition/

For those who don’t know, Adoxio is the consultancy part of ADX Studio that Microsoft didn’t acquire.

So to clarify, Adxstudio portal were up to versions 7 before Microsoft acquired them.

Once Adx code was acquired, Microsoft rebranded it to Portal, from Microsoft. This is the new SaaS Dynamics Portal from Microsoft which is normally included in your Dynamics 365 Enterprise subscription. This is also known and referred to as: Microsoft Dynamics Portals, Microsoft Portals for Dynamics 365 and few other permutations. This dynamics portal is only available in the cloud (SaaS) and is not available for on-premise

Microsoft has then decided to release the source code as a one-off release to the Dynamics community. This is the release of the Microsoft SaaS portal source code at a specific point this year but as mentioned, it is a one-off, as is with no support or bug fixing. You can understand more from the comparison in the image above.

Finally, Adoxio has taken the Microsoft Open Source Portals code and made it freely available on GitHub as XRM Portal community edition so that it can easily be downloaded, updated, and maintained by itself and anyone else, including other Microsoft Partners. This represents the definitive edition of Microsoft Open Source Portals for Dynamics 365 brought to you by the same team behind ADXStudio. xRM Portal community edition is available to be used both on-premise and cloud.

Hope this post has clarified the confusion between the various versions and the new promising XRM Portal community edition.

Understanding Dynamics 365 Business Process Flow Data Model following changes in December 2016 release (v 8.2)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 December 2016 release (version 8.2) included some significant changes to Dynamics CRM Business Process Flow data model and entities structure.

In the new Model, every time a business process flow is activated, a custom entity is automatically created to store the activated business process flow instances.

Before that, every time you create a business process flow, it is stored in the Workflow entity (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/mt622427.aspx).

The Workflow entity stores the business process flow definition. So once the entity is created, it is always in Draft state and its definition is stored in Workflow entity. XAML property is where the definition is stored and is mandatory/required.

Once you activate a business process flow definition (by changing the state of the corresponding Workflow entity record), a custom entity with the following name is automatically created to store the activated business process flow instances:

<activesolutionprefix>_<uniquename>

More details can be found in this MSDN Article here:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/dn481586.aspx

There is also the Process Stages Entity which contains: Step metadata for process stage (Client Data). It also contains stage Category (Qualify, Develop, Propose, etc.) as well as the Stage Name.

Properties represent fields of data stored in the entity. Some properties are read-only.

Name Type Details
clientdata Edm.String Description: Step metadata for process stage

Display Name: Client Data

Read-only property

owningbusinessunit Edm.Guid Description: Select the business unit that owns the record.

Display Name: Owning Business Unit

Read-only property

primaryentitytypecode Edm.String Description: Primary entity associated with the stage.

Display Name: Primary Entity

processstageid Edm.Guid Description: Shows the ID of the process stage record.

Display Name: Process Stage

stagecategory Edm.Int32 Description: Select the category of the sales process.

Default Options:

0 : Qualify
1 : Develop
2 : Propose
3 : Close
4 : Identify
5 : Research
6 : Resolve
7 : Approval

Display Name: Stage Category

stagename Edm.String Description: Type a name for the process stage.

Display Name: Process Stage Name

versionnumber Edm.Int64 Description: Version number of the process stage.

Display Name: Version Number

Read-only property

More information on the ProcessStages entity is here:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt790421.aspx

Finally, here is a Dynamics Community post with few more information and discussion on this subject:

https://community.dynamics.com/crm/f/117/t/241128

Video: Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition Sales App

The new Dynamics 365 Business Edition is targeting Small and Medium businesses who may not require the complete Dynamics 365 suite and platform functionalities but rather require a smaller smaller business focused capabilities and pre-built business processes that can still be easily configured. It is due to be released soon and there are lots of information available publicly now on the Dynamics Roadmap.

There is a new cleaner interface, simplified step by step guidance for setting up Business Edition but with a number of limitations. These limitations cannot be shared at this point of time. Dynamics Business Edition is also expected to come at a highly competitive price and much lower than enterprise licenses.

//The video has ben removed as it has not been officially announced / advertised by Microsoft yet. I shall re-post it again once it is publicly available.

 

Hope this helps!

Accelerate your GDPR compliance with Microsoft Azure Cloud – a Microsoft blog

As my blog readers are aware, I’m a keen learner, reader and blogger on GDPR Compliance and Customer Relationship Management solutions with focus on Dynamics 365 CRM.

Recently, Microsoft published an interesting blog post (which I’m sure won’t be the last) about how Microsoft Cloud can help businesses accelerate their GDPR compliance. You can read it all here:

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2017/05/24/accelerate-gdpr-compliance-microsoft-cloud/

I’m particularly interested in the fact that hosting your application in a GDPR compliant Cloud, minimises your business risks to GDPR fines (up to 4% of your business revenue). This is because if you host your solutions in the Cloud, you have “outsourced” a good portion of your liability to your Cloud vendor. This obviously does not remove your business direct liability for GDPR but it removes your need to spend time, resources and money ensuring that your on-premise data centre (or server rack!) is compliant with GDPR including who can access it physically and virtually/remotely.

Microsoft Cloud has become the first Cloud Vendor (and I think the only so far) who commits to GDPR contractual commitment to all its Cloud clients.

You can read the rest of my articles on GDPR and CRM / Dynamics 365 under this section of my blog:

http://www.mohamedmostafa.co.uk/blog/category/gdpr/

Getting help with Dynamics 365 / Dynamics CRM solution problems and issues

I have been asked few times about how to get help from Microsoft on issues and problems with Dynamics 365 CRM. I have also been asked how to get an official Microsoft support case raised and how to get an official Microsoft response to an issue. For all these questions, I strongly suggest you visit the Dynamics 365 CRM support page here:

https://mbs.microsoft.com/customersource/northamerica/CRM/support/support-lifecycle/CRMSupport

On this page, you will see the whole range of support options you have from using Dynamics 365 Community forums (https://commuinty.dynamics.com) to guidance on how to open a ticket or raise a support request. You obviously need to have some sort of support agreement with Microsoft such as a Premium support contract or Dynamics Partner support tickets. You could also get support if you have a Dynamics 365 software assurance programme.

Hope this helps!

 

Dynamics 365 Learning Path versus Dynamics CRM customisable help

Dynamics 365 Learning Path is a new feature in Dynamics CRM that provides an improved experience over the legacy customisable help in Dynamics CRM.

Customisable help allows you to override the Default Dynamics 365 Help with its standard Microsoft CRM content. It allows you to point your CRM Organisation users to a different URL for a customised help experience. Alternatively, you could override the Microsoft CRM Help Content with your own content so you can better describe your processes.

On the other hand, Learning Path allows organisations to set targeted help for users when they open a page, click a help button or perform an action. Learning Path is more of a contextual in-app help tailored for your organisation’s business processes as opposed to Customisable help that is more of a static help non-contextual.

You could use either of them based on your business requirements but in my view Learning Path is the more modern and flexible contextual help that could deliver more benefits to your CRM organisation. However, please note that you cannot use both Learning paths and Customisable help together – you need to choose one of them to work with.

Here is an introductory video of Dynamics 365 Learning Path:

You can see more details and the source for the information in this post at the CRM Customer Centre here:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/create-your-own-guided-help-learning-path-for-your-customers.aspx

Azure Machine Learning for Dynamics 365 Products recommendations

One of the new exciting features in Dynamics 365 is the intelligent product recommendation features in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM.

Currently, Dynamics 365 product catalog includes some basic modeling ability to link various products for cross-sell / upsell and also accessory recommendations. This is a great feature which several businesses have found extremely useful. However, the limitation here is that these links are hare coded and require someone in your organisation to constantly maintain them and update links between various products on regular basis. At some point, these hard links will expire and will need to be removed and updated, etc. The other challenge is that it is base don assumption that customers who bought product x are also interested in product y. These will be business assumptions and not intelligently calculated linkage between various products.  Maintaining these hard links require the constant overhead and complexity of analysing recommendations ranking and imagining all possible combinations of products that can be sold together.

Now Microsoft is offering a much more advanced and intelligent solution that is quite unique amongst CRM system. Microsoft Dynamics 365 can now build the product links based on recommendations which use real-world transactions as a basis for their calculations and links that can evolve over time based on current customers buying trends and without requiring any maintenance overhead.

By connecting your Dynamics 365 Solution to Microsoft Cognitive Services (called Cognitive Services recommendations services – which is based on Microsoft Azure Machine Learning), you will have recommendation modeling techniques making recommendations without any manual intervention. Using real-world transactions or interactions to find products that are sold or viewed together, Microsoft Cognitive services will push through product recommendations into your Dynamics 365 solution.

Once you add the product recommendation feature in Dynamics 365 a capability is added to the product catalog to generate automatic recommendations. You can set up the product catalog and synchronisation to build a “machine learning based recommendation model” that makes recommendations in a ranked list at various places in Dynamics 365, such as at the account, opportunity or order level.

Please note that, Microsoft Dynamics 365 product recommendations feature supports existing line item entities (OpportunityProduct, QuoteDetail, SalesOrderDetail, and InvoiceDetail) and custom line item entities, as well as standard and custom product relationships.

Source for this information and more details can be found here:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt703320.aspx

and here is a step by step guide on how to enable Cognitive Services for Dynamics 365 product recommendation:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt703320.aspx#BKMK_ConnectLearnRec

Hope this helps!

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integration with Dynamics 365 for sales from the Dynamics 365 Public Roadmap

In my post yesterday, I discussed the LinkedIn Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms as highlighted in Microsoft’s public Dynamics 365 Roadmap website: http://roadmap.dynamics.com
Microsoft is presenting that the LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales enables organisations to improve the performance of their sales processes by taking advantage of the information richness available on LinkedIn’s company and person public profiles.
As I’m sure you must have heard, LinkedIn data is the Golden Dust everyone wanted and only Microsoft managed to get (which made SalesForce really annoyed). This direct integration between Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn is surely just the first step in a number of enhancements, capabilities and features that will massively differentiate and advance Dynamics 365 over and above Saleforce and other competitors.
This capability is promising to bring LinkedIn data such as company and person public profiles across to Dynamics 365. You can imagine how many beneficial uses such feature can bring from data cleanliness to data enrichment to competitor advantage due to data and relationship knowledge that your organisation will have while integrating Dynamics 365 with LinkedIn.
Microsoft further explains the feature as follows:
  • Display Sales Navigator person and company information on every Dynamics 365 for Sales lead, contact, account and opportunity page. This is just the start but I guess everyone will agree there is a lot more expected including the ability to bring in LinkedIn information into custom Dynamics CRM entities as well.
  • 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. Again an excellent feature that could make real difference to many organisations and sales teams.
  • With a single click, write select Sales Navigator activities (InMails, messages, notes and call logs) to Dynamics 365 for Sales providing better communication, connectivity and full 360 degree view of customers including your communication through LinkedIn messages and InMails.

Personally, I think this connector is a winner and will massively differentiate Dynamics 365 way above its competitors such as Salesforce. I have been in CRM selection meetings where clients are already finding it a “no-brainer” to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 just for the sole reason of having LinkedIn data in their CRM system.

With that said, we expect a lot more from Microsoft when it comes into LinkedIn integration with Dynamics 365.

Full details and source can be found at the public Dynamics roadmap here: https://roadmap.dynamics.com/#area=#application=326f31ea-2992-e611-80dc-c4346bac0910

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms – From Dynamics Roadmap

I strongly recommend that everyone regularly checks the publically available Dynamics Roadmap website: http://roadmap.dynamics.com

Most recently, Microsoft announced the improved integration between Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and LinkedIn. Now on the public Dynamics Roadmap, you can see more details about the Dynamics 365 connector for LinkedIn Lead Generation forms.

Using this upcoming feature, we will be able to bring our LinkedIn leads into Dynamics 365 (online / cloud) to follow-up and nurture these leads as well as applying your CRM Sales processes onto them. This also means you can bring in your sales and marketing teams to qualify, develop and nurture these leads.

Here are some of the features Microsoft announced will be included in the Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn:

  • Support for multiple LinkedIn member accounts: You will be able to setup your Dynamics 365 organization to access and bring leads from campaigns run by multiple employees using different LinkedIn member profiles.
  • Ability to customise lead creation and matching: We should be able to configure how lead submissions captured on LinkedIn are associated with and updated on Dynamics 365.
  • Measure and Analyse leads performance across multiple sources: This includes to track and analyse the performance of leads captured on LinkedIn versus other sources.

Microsoft also noted that the LinkedIn integration app is useful only if you use the Lead Gen Forms capability of LinkedIn to capture leads on LinkedIn.

The Dynamics 365 connector is promised to be available as a separate standalone solution which can be installed from AppSource optionally onto your Dynamics 365 for Sales. The connector will be bundled by default with Dynamics 365 for Marketing (Business Edition).

More details and source: https://roadmap.dynamics.com/#area=#application=326f31ea-2992-e611-80dc-c4346bac0910