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Quick Dynamics CRM 2016 Review

The impending release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 is generating some serious buzz so I’m going to take you through what some of these new features really mean, from a consultant’s perspective. Dynamics CRM 2016 is predicted to be a game-changer, with new capabilities being introduced to improve overall productivity and movement between applications. Here’s a short video from Microsoft to watch which goes over the major features of this release.


Scroll to the bottom is you want to download the full Dynamics CRM 2016 Release Preview Guide.

Document Templates

The new document templates in Dynamics CRM 2016 help to generate documents with data from CRM.

Business Benefits

  • Personalized documents faster
  • Customize your own documents templates
  • Pinned right to the ribbon

Why We Care

In the past we have had to use out-of-the-box Mail Merge functionality which was effective, but relatively limited. Document templates needed to be configured, merge fields added, and then the user had to go through several clicks to get their desired document output. Document Templates looks a lot like DocumentsCorePack by MSCRM-Addons. We have implemented DocumentsCorePack with good results for clients and providing them extensive document reporting capabilities. We are eager to see how Microsoft’s vision for Document Template aligns to this and whether advanced features including spanning many-to-many relationships do exist.

Contextual Documents

Store and collaborate on documents across SharePoint, One Drive for business and Office 365. Open any applications with the CRM app.

Business Benefits

  • Create reports and documents faster
  • Produce more accurate data
  • Mobile access to documents

Why We Care

The ability to access documents from devices beyond a desktop or laptop is a huge step forward. I have had situations where I want to make edits to documents on my mobile device and have had to resort to 3rd party applications to do this. It was a kluge and difficult experience on a small screen – but the fact that I can collaborate and edit a document while sitting on a beach is pretty amazing.

It is obvious Microsoft are aligning their Office 365 product suite to the various document types supported by CRM and SharePoint. They also look to be counting on users having an Office 365 subscription. I would be interested to see how this behaves for on-premise customers and if they can also edit documents without this. Definitely looks to be a progressive move and empowering for mobile sales and field workers who need this capability.

Enhanced Excel Experience

New and advanced excel templates for Sales users – specially related to Pipeline Management. Users will be able to export from the ribbon data to Excel in the format of a Pipeline spreadsheet.

Business Benefits

  • Immediate Sales process templates
  • Benefits of Excel familiarity to end users
  • Calculate Commissions
  • Manage sales forecast

Why We Care

CRM users are familiar with Excel and being able to export and manipulate their CRM data today. The enhanced Excel experience takes that familiarity to a new level by allowing users to model and interact with data inside ‘sales’ templates. The Pipeline charting looks similar to what you would see with the Pipeline chart, however I tend to run my own calculations and tinker with data naturally so it makes sense for this to now happen in Excel, in addition to my Dashboards. I suspect the Excel experience Microsoft is providing here is going to be limited in this release with more templates and capabilities as the product evolves.

CRM App for Outlook

The next generation CRM Application allows users to track emails, add contacts from within an email, and create new records to track emails through the browser on PC, Mac or mobile

Business Benefits

  • Streamlined Outlook integrated experience with CRM
  • You don’t have to leave Outlook to access CRM functionality
  • Mobile Outlook CRM experience (Including Apple Mac!)

Why We Care?

The Outlook app was long overdue for an overhaul and it has finally arrived with Dynamics CRM 2016. Not only is the new application more visually appealing and integrated within Outlook, it now works on mobile tablets and Outlook Web Access. With such a radical UI improvement and experience that looks closer to Salesforce‘s popular Cirrus application, I think Microsoft can only go upwards with this new app and improved Outlook experience. I do expect some bugs in what will be the ‘beta’ outing here, so test, test, test before you decommission your old Outlook add-in if you are upgrading.

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