The Benefits of Moving to the Dynamics 365 Unified Interface 


The Benefits of Moving to the Dynamics 365 Unified Interface

For those still using the classic web interface within your Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement solution, Microsoft is enforcing the upgrade to the new Unified Interface on the 1st December 2020. Its aim is to bring together the different methods of accessing the platform, whether this be via mobile, tablet or laptop, onto the same web interface, meaning that it will present the same screens, the same forms, on whichever device you’re working.

So, what are the benefits of having to move to the Dynamics 365 Unified Interface?

A New App Experience

You will be able to build focused applications for different groups of users, if you choose to. In our experience, typically organisations tend to have a single app and present the same options to the complete set of users, but it’s now perfectly feasible to create different apps within your implementation.

This is so you can focus specifically on different areas for different sets of users and user groups. You can remove the “clutter” for specific departments who only work in a key focus area of your Dynamics solution by creating an app for them that only shows them the areas that are of interest and relevant to their role within the organisation, with everything else hidden away.

This not only gives you a lot more control but can also help with user adoption as users are only seeing what is relevant to them and aren’t getting overwhelmed by other areas of the system. So, in terms of the number of apps you would like, just one or many; the choice is now completely yours.

Unified Experience across all Platforms

The new interface unifies the experience across all platforms, including mobile, tablets, web, so that they all look the same, from wherever you are using your Dynamics application.

Great New Look and Feel to Navigation

One of the key benefits is the improved navigation which has seen a huge change in the way in which you navigate around the menu structures, into forms etc.  The main difference being that the top menu bar has now moved down to become a vertically scrolling menu on the left-hand side.

Enhanced Business Process Flows

There’s been a big improvement in the way in which Business Process Flows are presented. Currently, you can end up losing quite a lot of your screen real estate at the top of your forms – with the navigation menu across the top, then the form with form headers, before reaching your Business Process Flow. This can take you halfway down your screen before you actually get to see any part of your data fields. With the Unified Interface, Business Process Flows are compressed into a single line until you click into a segment which will then expand out.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Relationship Assistant

New AI features are available through the Sales Assistant which will remind you to carry out tasks, for example emails you might need to respond to, opportunities that need following up etc.

Enhanced Dashboards and New Timeline

There is now the ability to time slice Dashboards. If you create a Dashboard with the new time slice, it can be created with several components displayed. In the top corner it will allow you to choose and filter the data based on date ranges – the typical ones being “this week, last week”, “this month, last month” and so on. The data will render onto the Dashboard based on the time slice that you have selected in the top corner.

Reference Panels

A reference panel is a type of section that allows you to view different types of information on a form without needing to scroll. You can add sub grids, quick view controls or a knowledge base search control in a reference panel. These are a great way to save space and effectively overlay multiple data areas within the same box.

With all the great benefits listed above, why wouldn’t you upgrade? The issues from 12-18 months ago when Microsoft first started to introduce the Unified Interface have now been rectified. For example, you couldn’t use advanced finds, or build personal views, there was also no bulk editing, etc. This severe shortage of functionality meant that nobody could or wanted to move onto the Unified Interface at that time. All these issues have now been addressed.

So far, we have identified that JavaScript tends to be the only area where any significant rework is required, but most customisations will transfer and upgrade successfully into the Unified Interface. We recommend that your users undertake some light refresher training just to make them aware of what’s coming up, accompanied by a simple crib sheet, to make them aware of the differences. Ultimately, it’s the same data presented in the forms but just in a slightly more intuitive way.

As an organisation, we have been using the Unified Interface for new clients and their implementations for some time now. The deadline for enforcement has shifted a few times for various reasons; a key one being the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally it should have been March 2020, then October and now 1st December 2020, so there is still plenty of time to choose when you want to apply your own upgrade and transition into the Unified Interface if you act soon. If you’re ready to make the move, contact your m-hance Account Manager or a member of our team and we’ll be happy to guide you through the process.