Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016: Release Timing and New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 is just around the corner, with some features already available and some to be rolled out during the next few months.

This blog, based on Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM release page, provides information on release schedules and new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016.

Release Schedule for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update is available now for all new CRM Online customers. For existing CRM Online customers, customer-driven update scheduling will begin in early 2016.

How to get the update: You'll be able to schedule the specific date when your update occurs. This is called a customer-driven update since you “drive” the timing of the update to be the most suitable for your organization. For more information about Microsoft's update policy and how this works for CRM Online, read TechNet: Manage Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online updates.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM (on-premises)
Dynamics CRM 2016 will be available in mid-December.

How to get the update: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 will be delivered for both online and on-premises customers except where noted. Contact FMT Consultants for information on CRM 2016 on-premises.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing
The Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update is available now.

How to get the update: The customer-driven update process will give admins better control over when new updates of Dynamics Marketing will be rolled out for your organization. For more information about how this works, read Manage Dynamics Marketing updates.

Microsoft Social Engagement
The Microsoft Social Engagement 2016 Update 1 will continue to roll out over the upcoming months.

How to get the update: The listed administrator within your organization will be notified by email about the specific timing of your update to the next version. These updates will happen automatically and Microsoft will send several reminder communications, with the details, as the scheduled update approaches.


New Features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

This section provides an overview of some of the new feature enhancements in Dynamics CRM 2016.

Productivity Enhancements

  • Dynamics CRM App for Outlook (CRM Online only): This new lightweight email tracking app makes it easy to track incoming or outgoing email and preview relevant CRM information right in your Inbox. Add contacts or create new CRM records to track email. Dynamics CRM App for Outlook works with Microsoft Outlook on the web (included in Office 365), Outlook for the desktop, or Outlook for Mac. It also works with phones and tablets. Learn more.
  • Excel integration: View sales data in familiar Excel templates, perform what-if analysis, and upload the changes, all from CRM. Export and analyze data in Excel from your mobile device with added support for the CRM mobile apps (tablets and phones). Learn more.
  • Document generation: Building personalized sales documents based on CRM data just got easier with document generation. With one click you can easily generate a document from CRM using predefined Word and Excel templates. Learn more.
  • OneDrive for Business: You can use the right storage option for the right situation. For example, store your private documents using the new OneDrive for Business option. For collaborative storage, use Office 365 Groups (CRM Online only), and to share documents with a larger team or the whole company, use SharePoint. Learn more. 
     OneDrive for Business is currently available only in SharePoint Online and will be available on-premises in SharePoint 2016.
  • Cortana integration (CRM Online only): CRM 2016 takes Cortana integration to the next level, by embedding sales activities, accounts, and opportunities, to surface what's most relevant to salespeople at any time. This feature is coming after the CRM 2016 release.
     Cortana integration will be available as a preview feature for CRM Online 2016 Update customers. Preview features are not supported by Microsoft and will be available on an opt-in basis.


Mobility Enhancements

  • Task flows (CRM Online only): Bring data from multiple entities together into a single user experience. For example, when you want to reach out to a contact on a deal, all relevant data is brought together in a coherent fashion so that you don't have to visit all the involved records (opportunities, contacts, and accounts). Learn more.
    Note: Task flows will be available on phones and tablets as a preview feature for CRM Online 2016 Update customers. Preview features are not supported by Microsoft and will be available on an opt-in basis.
  • Document management: View documents in the context of opportunities, cases, or any other entity, right in the CRM mobile apps. Seamlessly open various Office documents stored in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business from within the CRM mobile apps (tablets and phones). Learn more.
  • Modern mobile friendly experience: We're adding a variety of modern user interface (UI) controls, such as slider and calendar controls, for mobile apps. These new UI controls work across all mobile clients (tablets and phones) providing an engaging and immersive mobile experience. Learn more.
  • Preview forms: With the new mobile form previewer, see your mobile forms before deploying to CRM mobile apps (tablets and phones). Configure once and deploy everywhere. Learn more.
  • Mobile Management: Manage just about any device with Microsoft Intune, which provides mobile device management, mobile application management, and PC management capabilities from the cloud. Learn more.
  • App-to-app deep linking: Enables other mobile apps (such as email or your custom web-based app) to link and directly navigate to a record, view, or dashboard in CRM mobile apps. Learn more.


Service Enhancements

  • Interactive service hub: Dashboards and forms have been completely redesigned for the interactive service hub. Visual filtering and applied filtering in the new dashboards will help you prioritize your workloads and complete your most urgent tasks. The interactive service hub comes with a multi-stream dashboard for use by, for example, Tier 1 agents, and a single-stream dashboard for use by, for example, Tier 2 agents. Learn more.
  • Knowledge management: With the new interactive service hub, you can also turn customer feedback and issues into knowledge articles. Use the rich text editor to create and manage articles that include embedded videos and images. Learn more.
  • Field services: Field services allow you to more effectively manage distributed services where technicians and mobile resources are on the road delivering service and support for your customers. Learn more.
  • Survey designer: With the new Voice of the Customer survey designer you can create and send out questionnaires to collect feedback from customers about your products or services. Customers can take a survey on a phone, tablet, or computer. When a customer completes a survey, you can use rules to trigger follow-up actions that occur immediately. This feature is coming after the CRM 2016 release.
    Note: An Azure subscription is required to host surveys.
  • Unified Service Desk 2.0: Experience an improved setup that includes prerequisite installation, an updated wizard, and unattended support. We've added centralized auditing and diagnostics management. We also included the ability to distribute custom controls by using customization files. For more information, see What's new in Unified Service Desk for administrators. To learn more about how to extend and integrate Unified Service Desk 2.0, see the developer guide. Learn more.
  • Service intelligence: An interactive Power BI dashboard provides Customer Service Managers (CSMs) with an aggregate view of customer service performance. This feature is coming after the CRM 2016 release.


Platform Enhancements

  • Hybrid server-side synchronization (CRM Online only): If you currently use CRM Online and Exchange Server (on-premises), and you synchronize email, appointments, contacts, and tasks with CRM, or if you synchronize email with the Email Router, you can synchronize using server-side synchronization. Learn more.
  • Data Loader service (CRM Online only): Import bulk data into CRM Online with the new Data Loader service, accessed from a link in the CRM Admin Center. Learn more.
    Note: The Data Loader service is a preview feature for CRM Online 2016 Update customers. Preview features are not supported by Microsoft and are available on an opt-in basis.
  • No-code business rules: Business analysts can now define their own business logic, which makes it less costly to define and maintain rules.
  • Solution segmentation: Get tighter control over distribution of solutions and solution patches by exporting selected components instead of entire entities. Learn more.
  • For full details about new features for developers, check out the CRM 2016 SDK.Note: Many CRM Online 2015 Update 1 features now apply to CRM 2016 (on-premises). For a summary of CRM Online features that now apply to CRM 2016 (on-premises), see What's new for administrators and customizers in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and CRM Online.


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