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The July updates for Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 caused quite a stir in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) circles. The line was repackaged at the start of the month, but more tangible updates were also teased via an online briefing that was ostensibly limited to partners but presented without a non-disclosure agreement. That meant there was a just-short-of-live rebroadcast of updates available to all.

We’ve now had a little more time to digest the changes – so what were the important Dynamics 365 updates for July?

The emergence of Business Edition

UK customers have so far been restricted to the Enterprise Edition of Dynamics 365, but a new Business Edition, aimed at SMEs, will be rolled out through the latter half of 2017. The first manifestation of this is the arrival in the UK of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, which had previously been deployed in the US and Canadian markets. This was put on General Availability in the UK on July 1, and Microsoft promises that functionality will be expanded considerably as the year progresses.

Unified Client Interface with responsive design

The July update has been described as the biggest in the product’s history, and so it’s fitting that Microsoft Dynamics 365 now has a crisp new look that is responsive, seamlessly resizing to fit any device from desktop to tablet to mobile. It’s designed to present a single familiar user experience and many have already compared it to the look and feel of the Salesforce interface. One important component is a new timeline control replacing the social pane in the legacy web client. The UCI isn’t available for Enterprise users yet. however.

Web Client Interface User refresh

Enterprise users (i.e. most of the UK) shouldn’t be too despondent as the web client interface also gets a major overhaul. There are a number of changes but some of the highlights include borders around containers and more uniform spacing, improved colour themes, field control styling, font standardisation, and a long overdue text wrapping fix.

Organisational insights

Organisational insight functionality has been greatly improved, which can be very useful for admins and organisations as a whole. One particularly useful area is the ability to more easily view and analyse the entities that are being utilised most and the way which users buy the licences required by organisation can also be organised quite simply.

Security improvements

System settings now include an adjustable maximum session length coupled with the option to set an automatic session timeout following a period of inactivity. A warning prompt can alert users to re-authenticate and continue or save whatever they were working on.

LinkedIn updates

Following Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, the integration of Dynamics 365 and the professional-oriented social media site is being extended. Microsoft Inspire saw the announcement of the general availability of the Microsoft Relationship Sales solution, bringing together LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. Microsoft says it’s designed “to help sellers build stronger and better relationships with buyers while achieving higher productivity”.