An Overview of Dynamics 365: 2020 Release Wave 2 Plans.

Microsoft has published the plans for the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2020 Release Wave 2the second major update of the year. This update contains new features and capabilities, that will be detailed in this blog, and will roll out from October 2020 through to March 2021. 

The release plans for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are separate, so within this article we will provide an overview of the changes coming to Dynamics 365. However, you can read an overview of the Power Platform notes here. 

Again, this is an overview, but if you’d like to learn more you can access the full release plan from Microsoft.  

In this blog we cover the following areas (click on one to skip to that section):

  1. Wave 2 Release Dates 
  2. Overview 
  3. D365 Sales Key Features 
  4. D365 Marketing Key Features 
  5. D365 Customer Service Key Features 
  6. D365 Field Service Key Features 
  7. Microsoft Forms Pro
  8. Full Release Notes 

Wave 2 Release Dates

On August 3rd 2020, administrators will be able to gain early access, allowing them to test the new features (those that are available for early access) before they are enabled automatically. General availability deployment for the 2020 Release Wave 2 begins on October 1st 2020, with new features being released through to March 2021. 

2020 Release Wave 2 Timeline

2020 Release Wave 2 Overview

The enhancements include hundreds of new capabilities across the Dynamics 365 applications, bringing new innovations to transform your business. Updates will be coming to the following areas of D365: 

  • Sales (D365 Sales, Sales Insights and Product Visualise) 
  • Marketing (D365 Marketing) 
  • Service (D365 Customer Service, Customer Service Insights, Field Service and Report Assist) 
  • Finance & Operations (D365 Finance, Supply Chain Management, Guides and Project Operations) 
  • Human Resources (D365 Human Resources) 
  • Commerce (D365 Commerce, Connected Store) 
  • Fraud Protection (D365 Fraud Protection) 
  • SMB (D365 Business Central) 
  • Customer Data Platform (D365 Customer Insight and Product Insights) 
  • Microsoft Forms Pro 

Various new features are available for each of these applications. Below we provide an overview of the key capabilities across Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Field Service. For more detail, view the full document here. 

Key Features

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales

Over the last few releases from Microsoft, we have seen an emphasis on a simplified user experience whilst continuing to enhance the platform. Within the 2020 Wave 2 Release, this notion continues across Dynamics 365 Sales. The emphasis remains on creating a simplified experience, leveraging app integration, a new mobile experience and enhanced forecasting capabilities. 

  • New D365 Sales Mobile Experience

Microsoft has recognised that sellers do not spend all their time at their laptop and are often on the road, travelling to meet customers. This time spent on-the-go can be made more productive, which has prompted a mobile-first sales app for iOS and Android. This aims to create an intuitive mobile experience to offer quick access to customer information in real-time. 

  • Getting started with a standalone sales app

The new mobile app is not a generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of approach and instead has been designed as a dedicated app to solve specific business challenges. 

  • Users are able to access D365 Sales quickly, using only on their work email, meaning there is no need to remember more URLs. 
  • Land directly in the Sales app with no unnecessary clicks or configurations 
  • Can use your org app module or the new-out-of-the-box module that’s optimised for mobile work 

*This feature is only available in the Unified Interface and is not available for early access. 

  • Easily complete common tasks
  • Users can access important information quickly; view upcoming customer meetings, related records and make relevant updates 
  • Add notes with the touch of a button 
  • Quickly update accounts and opportunities, and access account or opportunity details in seconds 
  • Easily act on your customer info; find information about your contacts and opportunities effortlessly 

*This feature is only available in the Unified Interface and is not available for early access. 

  • Generate orders from quotes in D365 Sales Professional

Capabilities are being rolled out to enhance the end-to-end quoting process. Users can quickly and accurately create quotes, generate contract documents, and execute e-signatures to complete their deals. 

Users in D365 Sales Professional are now able to directly create an order from a quote that has been won, through the command bar. 

*This feature is only available in the Unified Interface and is not available for early access. 

  • Usability Enhancements

Usability enhancements will improve the user interface interactions of sales teams with the Dynamics 365 for Sales application:

  • Duplicate detection and merge capabilities play a significant role in keeping data clean. As part of this release, duplicate detection and merge user experiences are enhanced. This helps organisations to maintain data hygieneassist users to make informed decisions  and avoid duplicate data entry (*This feature is available in Unified Interface only and is not available in early access. This capability is available in Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Dynamics 365 Sales Professional) 
  • Optimised features around PDF generation and collaboration, with extended capability around custom entities(*This feature is available in Unified Interface only and is not available in early access. This capability is available in Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Dynamics 365 Sales Professional) 
  • Enhanced email experience, which was earlier supported only while composing emails, will now support actions like view, update, and reply from the Timeline section. There are also improvements to the file attachment experience. (*This feature is only available in the Unified Interface and is available on early access. This capability is available in Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Dynamics 365 Sales Professional) 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing

New functionality coming to Dynamics 365 Marketing focuses around that 360-degree view of the customer, allowing real-time insights to be gained to personalise communications, and automation to enhance the entire customer journey. 

  • Create customised emails faster

Users can now create more customised emails, without the need to use HTML. The updated email editor has the following improvements: 

  • Ability to add more than three columns to the email. 
  • Better support for email rendering in Outlook. 
  • Improved email editing performance, including faster loading and element interaction. 

*This feature is available for early access. 

  • Create and manage content-rich social media posts & performance

With the 2020 Release Wave 2, users can now create and schedule content-rich social media posts for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

    • Enhanced post creation experience, making it more engaging for marketers to build and post content 
    • Conveniently view all related social interactions and performance 
    • Redesigned scheduling experience 

*This feature is available for early access. 

  • Run webinars and meetings using direct integration with Microsoft Teams

Users can now manage registrations, communications and reporting for webinars and interactive meetings hosted in Teams, directly from Dynamics 365 Marketing. New features enabled in this upcoming release are: 

  • Create and host live events using Microsoft Teams as the webinar provider
  • Integrate Teams webinars directly into Marketing events
  • Set up a webinar event as either a Teams live event or a Teams meeting

*This feature is available for early access. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service

The main focuses for the release update around Dynamics 365 Customer Service center around agent productivity, integrated insights and AI-driven suggestions. 

  • Agent suggestions for similar cases

When resolving customer cases and providing responses, agents typically use several resources. These can include referring to knowledge articles, collaborating with other agents or experts and reviewing active or successfully resolved similar cases. With AI, we can proactively suggest the right cases by parsing through thousands of cases, taking case context and previous history into account. 

*This feature is not available for early access. 

  • Familiar email template experience

Emails are often required to communicate with customers at different stages of the support life cycle such as a welcome email, refund instructions, or a personalized signature. Email templates enable this process to be more efficient and consistent, so these new features have been enabled in this release: 

  • Create templates with an intuitive and easy-to-understand experience 
  • Author templates using a complete rich text experience, including the ability to manage images inline 
  • Use a modern toolbar and have the ability to cut and paste formatted content from Office documents such as Word and Excel, while maintaining formatting 
  • Personalise the message with dynamic customer or entity data 

*This feature is available for early access. 

  • Usability enhancements for timeline

Enhancements to the Dynamics 365 Customer Service timeline include the ability to: 

  • Use inline images for rich text notes 
  • Expand or collapse all records 
  • Provide email-specific actions for email records 
  • Highlight matching text for the search filter 

*This feature is available for early access. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service

The main focuses for the release update around Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service are around insights, proactive service delivery, scheduling and technician success. 

  • Work order completion surveys with Microsoft Form Pro

This feature enables administrators to configure work order completion surveys using Forms Pro in order to gather feedback, and present the survey natively as part of the customer’s experience.  

We recently hosted a webinar all about Microsoft Forms Pro, which looks at an example of a case completion survey – View here. 

*This feature is not available for early access. 

  • Predictive work duration

Currently, dispatchers assign a fixed duration for a job type, regardless of the various factors that may lengthen or shorten the work order. This can potentially cause delays for the customer, reducing the effectiveness of schedules.  

Predictive work duration solves this problem by predicting a realistic duration for a given job, based on various factors like resource performance, incident type, customer location, territorial differences, and seasonal changes. 

*This feature is available in Unified Interface only and is not available for early access. 

  • Dashboard for key field service metrics

New dashboard providing out-of-the-box field service metrics and measures. This allows organisations to ensure they are providing an effective service and monitor the most important metrics. 

*This feature is available in Unified Interface only and is available in early access. 

Microsoft Forms Pro

Microsoft Forms Pro is a surveying tool that extends the basic survey capabilities of Microsoft Forms, allowing you to gain insight into the satisfaction of your customers, respond to feedback in a timely manner and identify trends and improvement areas. 

There are no new updates as part of the 2020 Release Wave 2, however Microsoft is working on further investments to Forms Pro and has hinted at more announcements later in the summer. This article will be updated accordingly when any new updates get announced. 

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Microsoft Forms Pro, you can find our latest webinar on the topic here:

The Full 2020 Release Wave 2 Notes

Within this article we have given you an overview of some of the new features being rolled out across Microsoft Dynamics 365, however, there are plenty more. You can access the full document here.

The 2020 Wave 2 Release also brings new features to the Power Platform. Read more about that here.

If you have any questions about the release, or you are on an older version of Dynamics 365 and would like to upgrade to get access to all of the new features, please contact us. Fill out the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch shortly, or if you’d prefer, email us at [email protected] or call us on 01908 038110.