Microsoft takes wraps off Dynamics 365 Spring update coming in April

Microsoft's Dynamics 365 'Spring '18' refresh across its various services is coming next month. Here are highlights of what's included.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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Microsoft is filling out its Dynamics 365 CRM/ERP line-up with more modules and tools as part of its Dynamics 365 "Spring '18" update that will start rolling out in April 2018.

Microsoft will be adding more features to its recently introduced Dynamics 365 for Marketing service (now in public preview) that's aimed primarily at small/mid-size business customers. It also is adding a new SKU to its Sales module, Dynamics 365 for Sales Professional, which officials describe as a "streamlined" version of its current Sales application.

I asked about pricing for the new SKU and didn't hear back.

Microsoft has been working on its Dynamics 365 Sales and Marketing modules for SMBs for more than a year. Last year, the company went back to the drawing board and did away with its Enterprise/Business plan distinction with Dynamics 365. (However, some of the components in its menu of available modules are aimed more at SMBs than others.)

(Credit: Microsoft)

The company's new Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP service for SMBs ("Tenerife") also is part of the spring 2018 update, as is the recently introduced public preview of Power BI for Mixed Reality. Officials said the spring 2018 update also more deeply integrates Dynamics 365 with Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, Stream video, Azure, LinkedIn and Bing.

Microsoft has also announced Power BI Insights apps. These are applications that draw on information from a subset of Microsoft data and/or additional data from third-party sources. These apps work across Dynamics 365 Sales, Service, Operations, Finance, and Talent.

The first two Power BI Insights apps that will be available in preview this spring are Power BI for Sales Insights and Power BI for Service Insights. Power BI for Sales Insights includes "an embedded experience" for Dynamics 365 for Sales, which allows users to generate an analysis of customer relationship and predictive lead scoring. Users currently can import entity information from Dynamics 365 or Salesforce.

On the platform side, Microsoft is updating the core Common Data Service underlying Dynamics 365. It is updating the Common Data Service for Apps that ships with PowerApps, as well as creating a new Common Data Service for Analytics in Power BI. Public previews of both of these new Common Data Service data-integration pieces will be coming as part of the spring update.

For a full and detailed rundown of what's coming in the Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 update, check out the downloadable PDF of the release notes. Next week, Microsoft is holding a March 28 "virtual" launch that will be webcast to describe some these new components in more detail, ahead of April availability.

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