July is a huge month for Microsoft. It's the start of their fiscal year and when they host partners from all over the world at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). You can read about our team's experience at this year's WPC here. It's not usual for Microsoft to introduce new products at WPC and this year was no exception. While it was initially announced before WPC, a big focus was Dynamics 365.
Outside of WPC, Microsoft introduced several other new products, most notably Stream and Booking.
Dynamics 365 is Microsoft latest software release. It combines two typically very expensive products into one: an ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) and a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management).
The goal of the Dynamics 365 is to share knowledge across all aspects of your business:
- Sales Department has insight into the company’s inventory and service schedules so they know how much can be sold and when delivery can be expected
- Inventory Department has insight into the sales pipeline so they can project future inventory needs
- Operations has insight into every department to control growth and finances
Dynamics 365 will be offered in a couple different pricing models, but both will use the power of other Office 365 apps to extend functionality to the end user. Cortana Analytics will be used to show trends and make predictions using PowerBI graphs. Emails and other tasks will be automated using Microsoft’s new workflow engine, Flow. End users will be able to interact from the field with PowerApps. You can learn more about Dynamics 365 here, here and here.
You may already be familiar with the Video Hub in Office 365 – a centralized place to view and manage videos within your organization. Microsoft has released a new version, called Stream, that will eventually replace the existing Video Hub. Stream will come with new features to make watching and discovering video content easier. Learn more here.
Microsoft’s new “Booking” service will be rolling out to customers using the Business Premium plan over the next few months. This web-based program cuts out the hassle of trying to schedule appointments and service visits for your customers. By visiting a web page, customers can see your availability (defined by you) and book the appropriate time slot and type of service needed by supplying their name and any email address (no Office 365 account needed). More information here.
- Researcher and Editor in Word: Two new improvements to the Word are the Researcher and Editor. These inline editing tools (think of inline spell checking or grammar alerts) are designed specifically to help you cite sources (Researcher) and help you write better by recommending alternate phrases and why a different word might be a better fit. Read more here.
- Focused Inbox for Outlook (on your desktop): Know that “Focused Inbox” tab on your mobile phone’s Outlook app? Now it's available on the desktop, too. More information here.
- Zoom in PowerPoint: Ever find yourself jumping around too much in your PowerPoint presentations? With the new “Zoom” feature you can insert hyperlinks and jump from slide to slide in whatever order you desire. Learn more here.