What's new in Dynamics 365 (online), version 9

We're excited to announce that Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0 is available for trial and purchase! Stay tuned for information about when you can update your existing organizations.

See also these links:

  • Learn about late-breaking issues in the Readme.

  • Learn about what's new in Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0 for developers.

Areas of investment

The main areas of investment in this release are:

  • UX enhancements to improve readability and usability of the web apps, and to make data entry faster and easier.

  • Extensibility and app platform enhancements, including improvements to security and data management.

Additionally, there are enhancements to the in-app Designer tools that allow admins and customizers to tailor apps through a graphical user interface instead of writing code (App Designer, Site Map Designer, and Business Process Flow Designer).

  • A new Unified Interface framework used for the Customer Service Hub, Dynamics 365 for phones and Dynamics 365 for tablets, and Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. Unified Interface is also available in the App Designer so that customizers can build app modules using this new look and feel.

User experience enhancements in web apps

With this release, the user interface of the web apps has been refreshed to improve usability and visual appeal. These changes are consistent across these web apps: Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation. The changes apply to all the main application areas such as forms, dashboards, grids, dialogs, and the search screen.

User interface refresh (applies to all the Enterprise edition web apps)

Now users will see forms with customer data grouped in easy-to-read containers that streamline data entry. There’s new field styling to make empty fields easier to see, and the text wraps within fields to improve readability.

The user interface changes include:

  • Removal of unneeded whitespace on forms and dashboards. Containers for content now have defined borders. There is consistent spacing between sections. Empty containers have a helpful message and icon.

    Example of improved interface

  • Improved visual hierarchy by means of a new clipboard structure for the content shown on all pages, such as forms, dashboards, and grids. The page and panel header colors used for the clipboard are customizable.

  • Use of standardized fonts for a more consistent look and feel.

  • More intuitive user experience for elements such as tabs, buttons, and input fields on forms to help users be more productive.

Top customer asks

These enhancements address popular feature requests from customers:

  • On forms, long text labels and values are wrapped. Admins can control word wrap through system level settings.

  • The color of a sub-grid header can be customized at the form level.

To change the color:

  1. Go to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System and select the form for an entity you want to change.

  2. Open a record, double-click on a subgrid, and enter the color choice in the header field. Use only the hex color schemes. For example, the code #fofofo represents grey.

  • There are now three new standard themes to choose from:

    • CRM Blue Theme

    • CRM Default Theme

    • CRM Orange Theme

To customize a theme:

  • Go to Settings > Customizations > Themes and clone the theme you want to customize. Selecting a header color in a theme will auto-populate the rest of the theme colors with system-suggested defaults that can be edited.

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.

To do this, users launch advanced find from the icon on the navigation bar. In the query, they choose what type of record to look for, and then select a related record type to see the Does not contain data operator.

More information: Use advanced find

Unified Interface framework for new apps

In this release, we’ve invested in a new Unified Interface framework that provides a uniform experience for all new applications. We designed the Unified Interface framework from the ground up with accessibility in mind, which means:

  • People with screen readers can skip to content directly and navigate to sections that are important to them.

  • People using reading plugins receive great results.

  • People using browser plugins can jump to specific sections on a page.

  • Keyboard users can save time and effort by using the tab key and keyboard shortcuts.

The Unified Interface also uses responsive web design principles to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience for any screen size, device, or orientation. For example, subgrids morph into lists for smaller screen sizes.

New LinkedIn Connector solution

A new solution, initially available for version 8.2 of Dynamics 365 (online), allows users to run LinkedIn lead generation ad campaigns, and then sync resulting leads with Dynamics 365 for Sales. It will be updated for version 9.0 soon after the initial release. The new solution will be available on AppSource and is called Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.

The solution includes:

  • Support for multiple LinkedIn member accounts. Set up your Dynamics 365 (online) organization to access and bring in leads from campaigns run by multiple employees using different LinkedIn member profiles.

  • Customizable lead-matching strategies. Customize lead-matching strategies to define which fields the system uses to find matches with Dynamics 365 (online) leads. For example, you can match on someone’s email address, last name, company name, or other field. When there’s a match, the data from the person’s LinkedIn profile is included in corresponding fields on the lead form.

  • Ability to analyze lead performance across sources. Track and analyze the performance of leads captured on LinkedIn and compare them against other sources.

To use the LinkedIn Connector with Dynamics 365 (online), you’ll need access to the LinkedIn Campaign Manager as part of your LinkedIn subscription. You’ll also need to use LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms to run native ads.

More information: LinkedIn connector

Customer Service Hub

With this release, the Customer Service Hub (called Interactive Service Hub in earlier releases) has been rebuilt on the new Unified Interface as a stand-alone application.

The Customer Service Hub shows you all your vital customer service information in one place, and makes it easier for reps and managers to prioritize and act on service cases.

Note

If you're a developer, see also What's new for developers.

New and improved business process flows

The stages in a business process flow can now be displayed in floating mode, along with docked mode. Stages can now be aligned in a vertical layout, instead of horizontal, which makes it easier to see which steps are required to be completed before moving forward. You can also choose to include an optional step in the business process flow and define criteria to trigger it. Business Process flow is now an entity and you can create custom views. Business Process entities can now be made available on the site map.

Timeline and activity feed enhancements

An improved timeline lets service reps view all customer interactions for a case in a single stream. Reps can create, update, and manage notes, posts, and other interactions directly on the timeline. The Activity feed on the timeline gives the service team visibility into what’s going on so they can resolve cases and collaborate more effectively.

The timeline includes textual and visual filters that let reps view and sort activity types to help them focus on the just the details they need. Reps can keep track of what they may have missed from the previous day or week in the What’s new section, which shows new notes, unread emails, and new activities created while they were away.

Activity management

New Quick Create forms have been introduced for Task, Phone Call, and Appointment with customization capabilities. You can also benefit from the updated email editor control with its rich editing capability.

Knowledge Management

With the latest release, Knowledge Management is based on the new Unified Interface, and is included as a part of Customer Service Hub. You can author, edit, search, publish, and translate the knowledge articles using Knowledge Management.

Some of the key enhancements are:

  • Advanced options to create content in the rich-text editor. You can now preview the content to view its compatibility on multiple devices, like tablets or phones.

  • Better support for editing the HTML source of the knowledge article.

  • Improved search functionality for knowledge articles. Knowledge Base is now enabled for relevance search in the global search UI. Relevance search utilizes the Azure search service to index and search records. Relevance search provides improved search functionality like better relevance, highlighted search keyword text, and search within attachments and notes.

More information: Customer Service Hub overview

Outlook app

The updated version of Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is now available as a preview feature for Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0.

With Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, users can tap the power of Dynamics 365 (online) while using Microsoft Outlook—a tool they’re already familiar with.

The new version of Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is built on the Unified Interface framework. The app keeps the functionality from the previous version, but adds additional capabilities that come with the Unified interface.

View list items

See list items for any view or grid that's accessible through the app.

Outlook app list items example

Site map

Take advantage of the Dynamics 365 (online) sitemap to easily access favorite and recently used records in Dynamics 365 (online).

Outlook app sitemap

Detailed record view

Navigate to records within the app and edit them.

Outlook add detailed records

Use the global search UI to search, view, and access Dynamics 365 (online) records.

Relevance Search from Outlook app

More information: Dynamics 365 App for Outlook overview

Dynamics 365 mobile app

The new mobile app is built on the new Unified Interface, which provides key accessibility and responsive design benefits. Current users will not need to download an update from the app store. They will receive the new functionality when the Dynamics 365 (online) server is updated to the latest version.

New navigation

The new navigation on mobile lets you quickly navigate to the different areas in the system – Sales, Service, Marketing, and more. It also provides quick access to recently-viewed records and pinned favorites.

New mobile navigation

Take action on record

You can now take action on a record without opening the record. From a list of records, tap the More button (…), and then select an action such as Delete, Reassign, or Close. You can take the same action when you select multiple records.

iFrame and web resource support in Dynamics 365 for phones

If you can add iFrames and web resources in forms and dashboards in a Dynamics 365 (online) web app, they will be enabled in Dynamics 365 for phones as well if you check the box to enable iFrames and web resources for phones. For example, if you add a news feed to a dashboard in a web app, the news feed will also appear in the phone app.

More information: Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets User Guide

Extensibility and app platform

New capabilities added to the in-app visual tools allow business users to easily tailor apps through a graphical user interface, without writing code.

The App Designer has UX improvements to simplify the way admins and customizers create their own solutions. There are also updates to the My Apps landing page and the Sitemap Designer.

Note

If you're a developer, see also What's new for developers.

App Designer

App Designer includes the following new features:

  • Optionally, choose an existing solution and/or sitemap to quickly create your app.

  • Choose the client type—web or Unified Interface (to take advantage of built-in accessibility and responsive design improvements). For more information on the new Unified Interface, see Unified Interface framework for new apps earlier in this guide.

  • Support for interactive dashboards with apps created for clients based on the Unified Interface framework.

  • Find components easily from the App Designer canvas. Click Search Canvas, and then enter a keyword for the component you’re looking for in the search box. The search pane organizes the results. Click a result to highlight the search item throughout the App Designer canvas.

    App Designer screen

  • If needed, enable your app to support mobile offline by selecting one or more mobile offline profiles.

  • Add an optional custom welcome page from a web resource, which becomes the first page to load when the app is opened. Welcome pages can provide guidance and other key information to users upon app startup.

More information: App Designer overview

Site map Designer

Site map Designer includes the following new features:

  • Set an interactive dashboard as the default dashboard subarea in the sitemap for apps based on the Unified Interface framework.

  • Cut, copy, and paste sitemap components.

  • Support for miscellaneous security privileges within app subareas.

    Site map Designer miscellaneous privileges

  • Inline editing support for sitemap components. To edit inline, hover over the component to reveal the pencil.

    Site map Designer showing inline editing

More information: Create a site map

View Designer

Use the new WYSIWYG View Designer together with the App Designer. The View Designer provides these features:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop experience for adding and rearranging fields

  • Search fields in the Field explorer

  • Sort columns with a single click in the column header

  • Single-click access to column properties

  • Side-by-side configuration of filters and columns for better configuration experience

  • Sample data in grids to provide a near runtime snapshot of the view

    View Designer

Ability to filter and search on My Apps landing page

The My Apps landing page enhancements include an improved user interface that has app filtering and app search capabilities. Responsive design makes the My Apps page better suited for small screens.

Interact with data from external systems using new “virtual” entities

A virtual entity is a custom entity in Dynamics 365 (online) that retrieves data at runtime from an external data source. Virtual entities appear in Dynamics 365 (online) to users as regular Dynamics 365 (online) entity records, but contain data that is sourced from an external database, such as an Azure SQL Database. An OData v4 data provider is included so you can connect to data sources without the need to develop your own OData v4 data provider.

Records based on virtual entities are available from all Dynamics 365 (online) clients, including custom applications developed using the Dynamics 365 SDK.

Virtual entities provide these benefits:

  • End users work with the records created by the virtual entity to view the data in fields, grids, search results, and Fetch XML-based reports and dashboards.

  • System customizers can configure the data source record and create virtual entities without writing any code.

  • Developers can implement plugins to read external data using the Dynamics 365 SDK and Dynamics 365 (online) Plug-in Registration tool.

    Virtual entity dialog box

Create a virtual entity like any custom entity, and then select the Virtual Entity check box.

Selecting the check box displays additional information requirements for the data source, as well as the External Name and External Collection Name values for the entity definition.

Note

If you're a developer, see also What's new for developers.

More information: Create a virtual entity

Multi-step workflow automation with embedded Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow is a cloud-based service that makes it practical and simple for business users to build workflows that automate time-consuming business tasks and processes across applications and services.

This release includes the ability to run Microsoft Flows from within Dynamics 365 (online), making it simple for users to combine a broad spectrum of services that can be initiated from within Dynamics 365 (online) without writing code.

More information: Microsoft Flow

Power BI enhancements

You can now embed Power BI dashboards and tiles in Dynamics 365 (online) selected from group-based Power BI App Workspaces. Previously, dashboards and tiles could only be embedded from My Workspace.

Power BI dialog with group-based workspaces

More information: Power BI

Business process flow enhancements

We made the following enhancements to business process flows:

  • Business process flow as Action steps
    Action steps allow the execution of server-side business logic by calling on-demand Process Actions. You can now include an optional step in a process and define criteria to trigger it. For example, you can create a Process Action that automates sending an email, creating a task, or manipulating data. This Process Action can be called by the user with a click of a button that shows as one of the steps in the stage they are working on.

  • Business process flows in sitemap, views, and grids
    Business Process entities can now be displayed on the sitemap. This makes it easier for people to work with process first as opposed to data first, which is less natural. Business Process entities can be included in views, charts, and dashboards, which brings the process data to the forefront of the application.

  • Business process flow as an entity now supported in Interactive Experience Dashboard
    Because a business process flow is now an entity and you can create custom views, it’s possible to leverage the Interactive Experience Dashboards to show processes as streams and queues so that users can be more productive and know which process to act on next.

Note

If you're a developer, see also What's new for developers.

Charts can display multiple angles of the process, such as:

  • Process funnel (active process count by stage)

  • Process count by elapsed time (which processes are getting old and should be acted on quickly)

  • Process count by status (how many processes are inflight vs abandoned vs finished)

  • Process velocity (how many processes closed each month)

More information: Business process flows overview

MultiSelect option set

Customizers can now add multi-select fields to forms, quick view and quick create forms, and read-only and editable grids. When you add a MultiSelect Option Set field, you can specify multiple values for the field that users can select, up to 150. For example, include multiple locations or countries in an Area of operation field. A user can select one, more than one, or all locations from the list of available values.

Multiselect option set example

Note

If you're a developer, see also What's new for developers.

Web resource dependencies and localization

This release of Dynamics 365 (online) includes improvements in how web resources are managed and localized.

Web resource dependencies

In previous releases, web resources, including script dependencies, strings, script libraries, and so on, were managed in an ad-hoc manner. In this release, you can now specify web resources during customization that will be used at run-time to include dependencies. This makes it easier to ensure that HTML, JavaScript resources, and all dependent resources are loaded appropriately.

Web resource localization

This release also introduces simplified localization of resource strings. Currently there is no easy way for solution developers to use localized strings in their JavaScript web resources. Most developers use a JSON based hard-coded approach like the one documented here which is neither efficient nor scalable. This release enables the localization of strings used in web resources as a first-class component for solutions. This will make it easy for apps/solutions to be available in multiple languages and improve the process for app teams to localize their solutions.

This release also includes support for a new resource type, RESX, which is an XML-based file format that supports comments associated with key+value translation pairs and is supported in Visual Studio. For more information about RESX, see Resources in .Resx file formats.

Solution Explorer dialog box

Note

If you're a developer, see also What's new for developers.

Command bar theming

Now you can customize a command, choose different colors, and change the color of the text to black or white.

What's new in Unified Service Desk

Note

If you're a developer, see also What's new for developers.

Error diagnostics reporting settings moved to Audit & Diagnostics Settings area

Previous versions maintained the error diagnostics reporting settings in the Options area of the Unified Service Desk solution. With this release, to simplify configuration the error diagnostics reporting settings have been moved to the Audit & Diagnostics Settings area.

Support for JAWS screen reader

You can now use the JAWS (Job Access With Speech) version 18 for Windows screen reader application for speech output with the Unified Service Desk client.

More information: Accessibility in Unified Service Desk