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With the latest Dynamics 365 release, Microsoft is clearly pushing the collaboration and employee experiences into areas outside of Office 365 PHOTO: Stephanie McCabe

Dynamics 365 already powered the applications that drove process, accountability and performance within the modern business. With the latest releases, it has boosted the solution's capabilities in employee engagement and collaboration.

From Hiring to Performance Management

Dynamics 365 for Talent changes the game for businesses that rely on attracting talented people and helping them realize their potential. 

It starts in the hiring process, where LinkedIn integration drives improved candidate pipeline development and analytics data leads to smarter hiring decisions. Once a new employee joins the company, customized onboarding plans ensure that expectations are clearly communicated and that new hires make the right connections inside the company to support their success. 

The solution can tie performance management initiatives directly to incentive schemes, compensation packages and employee engagement programs. Finally, managers can organize, monitor and analyze employee development initiatives to gauge the organization’s ability to transform today’s employees into tomorrow’s leaders.

Organizational Insights

As part of this release, Microsoft also released updated versions of the specific content packs for Dynamics 365. These cover the employee engagement, sales and social engagement areas. These content packs supply the business with an out of the box baseline which allows for quick insights with little investment required. 

If done well, this can drive achievement in the sales, marketing, services and social engagement space across the company.

Helping companies adopt to new ways of working is an art form. Get it wrong and perfectly implemented multi-million dollar investments can tank. 

Organizational insights provides a one stop shop for IT managers wanting to track Dynamics 365 operational performance and usage from a single interface. The new version enables change managers to describe user behavior and adoption with real-time data and insights. That data provides a strong foundation to build strategies and initiatives to improve adoption and transform organizational culture.

Improving Value With Virtual Entities 

Perhaps the most underrated part of the new release is the addition of Virtual Entities. 

In the traditional Dynamics CRM application, integration with other systems meant data duplication, as data from other systems would be replicated to CRM entities where any application could use them. This also meant additional processing overhead, as data would need to be routinely updated from the source systems. 

Virtual Entities allow a Dynamics 365 application to access external data in real-time on runtime. This enhancement should drive down the cost of ownership (in the form of reduced storage requirements) as well as enable other applications to leverage the business and workflow process capabilities of the application to improve their performance.

CIOs who understand this development should recognize the improved value and reduced costs that Virtual Entities can provide to operations and executive stakeholders.

Pushing the Collaboration Envelope

With the July 2017 release of Dynamics 365, Microsoft continues to drive employee engagement and collaboration beyond Office 365 and SharePoint. The toolset is increasingly robust right out of the box, and organizations should see improvements to efficiency and collaboration in the expanded features. 

All of these factors combined make it even easier to create your organization’s tomorrow.