Highlights from the Microsoft 2024 Release Wave 1 Plans: Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform

Microsoft has revealed the first of the Wave Release plans for 2024, covering the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform applications.

The 2024 Release Wave 1 Plans outline new features set to roll out between April and September 2024, with a heavy focus on Microsoft Copilot across the applications.

We have been busy delving into the notes to choose our top features across Sales, Customer Insights Data & Journeys, Customer ServiceField Service and the Power Platform, and have summarised these in the following article.

Microsoft have also published a series of helpful videos demonstrating the new features in real-life scenarios, so you can get an idea of how these come to life within businesses; you will find these linked after each section.

 

Early Access and General Availability: Key Dates

  • Early Access: From the 5th February 2024, some features can be enabled for testing in your environment. This provides an opportunity to test and validate new features that will be apart of the upcoming wave release, before they get automatically enabled for users. Please note that this does not apply to all features, but Microsoft have a list of features that are available for early access here.
  • General Availability: Deployment for the 2024 Release Wave 1 begins from the 1st April 2024, until September 2024. General Availability dates vary between features, which you will notice is noted under each feature in this article.

Dynamics 365 Sales

Copilot takes centre stage in the release wave, and the Sales application is no exception. Many of the features in D365 Sales are designed to streamline sellers’ lives and boost productivity. With AI assistance, sellers can swiftly generate actionable insights, access information promptly, and dedicate more time to high-value tasks.

AI-generated account summary

General Availability – June 2024

Working on accounts simultaneously can be difficult to manage, so this new Account Summary feature makes it easy to access a summary of key customer data, such as buying behaviour, associated opportunities, leads, marketing campaigns, and more. This saves salespeople a significant amount of time when researching an account, as you no longer need to sift through scattered information.

 

Copilot content recommendations

Public preview – Feb 2024 / General Availability – Apr 2024

As a busy salesperson, it can often be challenging to find the right information quickly, especially when you might be preparing for a meeting, or on a sales call. With this new Copilot feature, you’re presented with the right document at the right time.

The recommendations appear directly within your workflow, ensuring that you remain focused and save time navigating between places.

 

Copilot home page experience

Early Access – Feb 2024 / General Availability – Apr 2024

This new Copilot in Dynamics 365 Sales home experience provides real-time insights and natural-language chat functionality, to efficiently manage sales activities and customer relationships. You can quickly find out information across different entities, follow-up email activities, prepare for meetings, understand your sales pipeline, and more. This expanded workspace enhances the focus on Copilot, encouraging salespeople to have conversations to surface information.

 

Other exciting Copilot features coming to Dynamics 365 Sales:

  • Use Copilot email assistance to help write engaging sales emails to customers
  • Increase chances of closing deals by viewing AI-suggested past successful deals, and use these to guide similar opportunities
  • Summarise lengthy email threads into concise and understandable snippets, allowing you to quickly grasp key points from conversations
  • Ask questions to Copilot in Dynamics 365 Sales and get quick answers based on the information and documents stored in SharePoint, saving you time searching through sales documents and emails

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights (Marketing)

Last year, Microsoft merged Dynamics 365 Marketing and Customer Insights, creating Dynamics 365 Customer Insights Data and Journeys. As part of the move, there were still some functionality gaps between Outbound Marketing and Real-Time Journeys. This wave release focuses largely on closing this gap, as well as leveraging Copilot capabilities to take marketing efforts to the next level.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights – Data

Real-time segments

Public Preview – July 2024

Marketers can now create and use segments that update in real-time to target customers. This unlocks new potential for businesses, as you can now market to people in real-time, right when you need to. For example, you can send a targeted offer to a customer at the very moment they hit the eligible criteria.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights – Journeys

Branded links for email and content

Public Preview – April 2024

People are more savvy to what links they click on, and automatically generated URLs can sometimes look unprofessional, lowering CTRs and trust with prospects. This feature now allows you to customise links to show company name, increasing brand recognition and campaign performance.

 

Use custom form fields to capture more information

Public Preview – July 2024

Businesses will be able to gather extra information about customers on forms, without creating new custom attributes for lead or contract records.

To do so, use custom form fields in the form editor and edit the label and properties as you wish. This data is only stored as part of the form submission, and you can access the data anytime.

 

Manage customer consent from contact and lead forms

General Availability – June 2024

Enhanced contact and lead forms will allow users to quickly check customer content, ensuring that you are sending the correct communications to customers. This comprehensive view allows you to see if someone has opted out of all communication from your business, or just specific topics/channels.

 

Email A/B testing

General Availability – April 2024

Users can now A/B test emails, to understand what variation of email performs best. You can change elements such as the subject line, body elements or the from address, directly from the email editor.

 

Email send scheduling

Public Preview – April 2024 / GA – July 2024

This new feature allows you to ensure communications are reaching customers when they are most likely to engage. You can easily schedule messages to be sent in specific time windows in a day, or on specific weekdays, to maximise impact. For any messages outside of the send time, they are held until the next send time window.

This also allows you to optimise send times to when your business has the right resource to respond to actions, such as setting the timing to when you have salespeople available.

 

Customer journey flow analysis

General Availability – April 2024

Understanding the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns is key, however, it can be complex to identify what areas are having the most impact, and those that need improvement.

This new feature provides a visual representation of traffic coming through your journeys, quickly showing entry and exit points, highlighting where people are dropping out of your journeys.

 

Check out the new Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Sales features in action:

Dynamics 365 Customer Service

D365 Customer Service continues to help businesses deliver fast, personalised, and consistent service across multiple journeys. With Copilot playing a part and helping users to work more efficiently,  businesses can be confident they have the tools they need to provide the best customer experience.

Enhanced email attachment experience

Early Acccess – Feb 2024 / General Availability – April 2024

Users can now easily drag and drop attachments in emails, aswell as copy attachments from one email to another, reusing attachments from older emails. A reminder is also sent to the user if they forget to include an attachment that is mentioned in the attachment. Overall this feature saves time, increases productivity and provides a better experience.

 

Get automatic prompts from Copilot

Public Preview – April 2024 

This new feature provides automatic prompts to agents using Copilot, making it easier for users to ask questions and get help quickly. Copilot can guide them on what to do next and provide contextual suggestions, helping to reduce handling times and provide a better customer experience.

 

Get relevant results with filters for Copilot

Public Preview – April 2024 

Filtering for Copilot in D365 Customer Services allows agents to receive the best knowledge in a timely manner. This information could be about customer data or business lines, and ultimately saves users time and improves customer satisfaction.

 

Validate Copilot responses quickly

Public Preview – April 2024 

Customer services representatives can easily understand how Copilot has generated any responses, providing better citations of sources. This allows representatives to validate the accuracy of information and provide a positive customer experience.

Dynamics 365 Field Service

D365 Field Service continues to provide technicians with all the tools they need to do their job effectively. Improvements to work order experiences with Copilot and a refreshed mobile experience help organisations provide proactive service and positive customer experiences.

Create work orders in Teams with Copilot

General Availability – June 2024

Creating work orders can be a time-consuming process with multiple required fields. This new feature enables users to get assistance with work order creation and scheduling with Copilot in Microsoft Teams, supporting frontline workers and managers to work more efficiently.  Copilot can extract relevant details from conversation and fill in the details on the work order from based on the text.

 

Get insights for technicians from Copilot

General Availability – April 2024

First-time fix rate is an important metric for field service organisations, so having the right information and tools to achieve this is key. This new feature help technicians to quickly retrieve relevant information, like work instructions, through chat functionality.

The technician can ask questions to Copilot regarding their work orders, bookings, assets, and more, and answers are generated from on knowledge articles or manuals, helping to reach a resolution quickly.

 

New and intuitive user experience for Field Service mobile

Public Preview – August 2023 / General Availability – April 2024

Technicians will have a better mobile experience with Dynamics 365 Field Service, improving both efficiency and customer satisfaction. The mobile app provides key job-related information to technicans, such as bookings, customer details, service tasks, products and notes. Data can be entered quickly and tasks have more intuitive functionality, such as swipe gestures, to reduce the number of clicks in the app.

 

See bookings in the agenda view in new mobile experience

General Availability – June 2024

The new agenda view in the Field Service mobile app allows technicians to quickly see an overview of their scheduled bookings over several days. They can easily find past and future bookings, and view customer name, current booking status, start time, and mor, reducing the need to open bookings to find details. Columns can also be customised to provide the best user experience.

 

Check out the new Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Field Service features in action:

Power Platform

Most of the new functionality coming to the Power Platform in this Wave Release enhances creator experiences, rather than front-end customer experience features. That said, there are a  couple of features which we wanted to call out that our Technical Team are particularly looking forward to…

Power Apps

Copilot in Canvas Apps turned on by default

Early Access – Feb 2024

Copilot functionality is turned on, by default, in canvas apps that connect to Microsoft Dataverse data. This is available right away when users ask questions to help them understand their data quickly, with no special configuration required.

 

Power Automate

Copilot for Process Mining

Early Access – August 2024 / General Availability – April 2024

Copilot for Power Automate process mining provides insights and personalised recommendations to help users through their processes. Insights can provide details on duration of steps in the process, areas to rework, bottlenecks, and recommendations on automations to help eliminate inefficiencies.

 

Power Pages

Create virtual tables to use external data sources

Early Access – March 2024 / General Availability – April 2024

Makers can now connect Power Pages site to external data sources, such as SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint, from the Data workspace in Power Pages studio.

 

Check out the new Power Platform features in action:

Access the Full 2024 Release Wave 1 Notes

Hopefully you’re excited about some of the new features that will be coming to the applications over the next few months. This is very much just a highlight of our top picks at Pragmatiq, and there are plenty more capabilities in the full release plans. To read more about the 2024 Release Wave 1 Plans, check out the Microsoft Release Planner. The plans are also available in their traditional format below:

 

Contact us

If you have any questions about the release and how your business can leverage some of the features in the upcoming release, 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 info@pragmatiq.co.uk or call us on 01908 038110.

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