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March 4, 2021
Microsoft is bringing Dynamics 365 and Teams closer together, a move that aims to simplify how people work. Teams collaboration, communications and meetings features will appear in Dynamics 365 Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Field Service next month.
The integrations are among numerous new capabilities on the Teams road map revealed at this week’s Microsoft Ignite virtual conference. Microsoft also introduced Teams Connect, which will let users create shared Teams channels with individuals internally and outside their organizations.
Also, Microsoft Teams users in the coming weeks will be able to host webinars and one-way webcasts. As revealed last summer, up to 1,000 participants can attend a Teams webinar, or 20,000 attendees can view a webcast. The two features will be included at no extra cost for those with Teams Business Premium, E3 and E5 subscriptions. Users will be able to create Teams webinars and webcasts from Dynamics 365 apps when that integration arrives next month.
Microsoft has signaled that it seeks to establish Teams as the center of the desktop and mobile workspace. While the pandemic has hastened that cause, CEO Satya Nadella used his opening remarks at Ignite to underscore its impact. Nadella said changes in work created from the pandemic will endure as employees and customers continue to expect more flexibility.
Microsoft’s Satya Nadella
“That’s why we’re building Microsoft Teams as an organizing layer for all the ways we work — the modes of communication, collaboration and the ability to extend it with other apps and services,” Nadella said. “With Teams, we’re ensuring that people can collaborate inside and outside the organization, that they can learn in the context of their work, and that they can retain and build new social capital.”
Given that strategy, it stands to reason that Microsoft is bringing Teams meetings, calling and collaboration functions into Dynamics 365. The Dynamics 365 and Teams integration extends what the company has done with other offerings in the Microsoft 365 stack.
Futurum Research’s Daniel Newman
“The increasing integration that is taking place between Teams and Dynamics 365 is addressing the need for a remote work operating system,” according to an analysis posted by Daniel Newman, principal analyst with Futurum Research. As I see it, the goal is for remote and soon hybrid work to be done in its entirety, without ever leaving the Teams platform.”
Within the Dynamics 365 apps, Teams meetings, calling and collaboration features will work within the solution. A Dynamics 365 Marketing user, for example, could invoke Teams functions such as chat and document sharing within that app’s workspace. Also, users will be able to create and manage webinars and webcasts from the Dynamics 365 Marketing app.
During an Ignite session, Lori Lamkin, Microsoft’s VP for Dynamics 365 Marketing, demonstrated some of the benefits of Teams integration. By creating a Teams webinar or webcast from Dynamics 365 Marketing, users can require attendees to register. They can track user activity during and after the event, create reports and follow up with attendees, Lamkin explained.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing with Teams integration
Microsoft 365 customers with E3 or E5 subscriptions will get Dynamics 365 Marketing free for six months.
“I think it’ll really enable those of you running webinars to be able to continue the connection with your customers and do that in a simple way with just a push of a button,” Lamkin said. “That will make your webinars more impactful, and your relationships with your customers and your potential customers even stronger.”
Lamkin said Dynamics 365 Marketing is not only for marketing professionals.
“It’s just a customer engagement tool to help you send email, send customer surveys, and based on the responses and actions that customers are taking, you can have different responses. So it becomes very personalized, and very individual for each customer’s experience with you.”
Also building on Teams, the company last month announced Microsoft Viva, employee experience (EXP) tools. Microsoft already released the first of four modules, Viva Topics, last fall. Viva Topics is a tool that applies artificial intelligence to surface connections, expertise and content already in use.
Microsoft launched the second module, Viva Connections, a modernized iteration of a company intranet, set for release later this month. With Viva Connections, content renders as apps and provides a customized, company-branded experience.
“It helps everyone stay engaged and informed by delivering a curated employee destination that can be configured for specific roles and needs,” said Adam Harmetz, Microsoft partner director of product management. “Customers can brand and customize it to be their own employee app.”
Microsoft said Viva Connections will be available to all customers with a Microsoft 365 and SharePoint license.
Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.
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