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2020. A year we will remember. A year that was not quite as we expected it to be – to say the least! Still, the Earth keeps spinning, the software world keeps evolving, and you don’t want to fall behind.
There are several Dynamics 365 trends out there and you should keep an eye on them. Why are they important? These trends will shape your professional landscape in 2021 and beyond, so insights into what to expect and where to invest your efforts can make a difference.
Let’s have a look at our top 6 and provide specific examples as we go along. That’s the best way to get to grips with the latest tech and understand what it means in a living, breathing business context.
What Are the Essential Dynamics Trends for 2021?
2021 has plenty of exciting innovations in store, many of which are just beginning to reveal their full potential. To keep your finger on the pulse, let’s get started and focus on the top tech trends for Microsoft Dynamics users in 2021:
- Use Blockchain to Prove a Document’s Authenticity
- AI, the Slow but Strong Trend
- Integrate with Microsoft Teams for Better User Adoption
- IIoT Meets Dynamics 365
- Guarantee Security for Software Integrations
- Beware of your Dynamics 365 Storage Options
Read on and make sure that you take the right turns as the new year unfolds!
Dynamics 365 Trends #1 – Use Blockchain to Prove a Document’s Authenticity
Exciting and futuristic, Blockchain has been a buzzword for some years now. Above all, people associate Blockchain with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As Blockchain use evolves, experts predict that it will become less about cryptocurrency and more about using it for a different aim: prove a document’s authenticity.
Did you even know you can use Blockchain technology’s security and distributed features to prove a document is untampered? Well, it turns out that you can, this is available on the market now. And the good thing about it is that your files and documents become trustworthy data. In other words, your files become a sound base for your company’s strategic business decisions. That makes all the difference.
Stefano Tempesta, Microsoft Regional Director and advisor to Australia’s National Blockchain Roadmap, believes that “With blockchain, you can imagine a world in which every agreement, every process, every task, and every payment would have a digital record and signature that could be identified, validated, stored, and shared. Intermediaries like lawyers, brokers, and institutions like notaries might no longer be necessary. Individuals, organizations, and machines would freely transact and interact with one another with little friction.”. In an article on the future of Blockchain, he discusses possible uses of one such solution for SharePoint documents that is already out on the market and that can be easily integrated with Dynamics 365. We will certainly hear more about that during 2021.
Dynamics 365 Trends #2 – AI, the Slow but Strong Trend
AI has been a promising trend for 30 years or more now. Don’t you have the feeling we keep hearing AI is going to be the next big thing? As we enter 2021, I think it is time to realize AI is not a “big burst” type of trend. It is a continuously growing trend that goes into more and more areas of our daily lives. We currently see significant improvements in machine vision, natural language processing (NLP) and automated speech recognition (ASR). These will facilitate the structuring of unstructured data such as images or emails.
In the big world of Dynamics 365, we see AI coming into very distinct areas, from Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection to Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service. The area where we expect the most significant impact of AI will be in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, with AI helping to define segments and predictive models.
Dynamics 365 Trends #3 – Integrate with Microsoft Teams for Better User Adoption
Not even Microsoft would have guessed Teams would reach 115 million daily active users like it did back in October 2020. Microsoft Teams has become ubiquitous, thanks in large part to need for remote work and remote events.
This makes the integration with Microsoft Teams a plus for other products. Moreover, it is also a way to help drive other products’ user adoption. Within Microsoft 365 business you can see all Office apps fully links with Teams and that also happens with SharePoint. The level of integration for Dynamics 365 is not the same just yet, but the trend is for Dynamics 365 to be more and more integrated with Teams. Currently, you have the Dynamics 365 app available for Teams. Besides the normal use of the app within Teams, you can “chat” to get the D365 information you need from within Teams. You can also add a Dynamics 365 tab into a Microsoft Teams channel and access customer engagement app records there. This way, you and your team members can collaborate on one or multiple records (Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, among others).
If you have custom applications that are important in your business daily routine, you can take this one step further and consider surfacing them in Teams. This is a new and evolved means of getting new users to use those custom applications, therefore driving user adoption. It might even help existing users get into the habit of using those same apps more.
Dynamics 365 trends #4 – IIoT meets Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 offers organizations across different industries the ability to know their customers as well as their own organizations. The idea is always to enable predictive insights and, therefore, smarter decisions.
Next on our big rundown of Dynamics trends for 2021 is the trend to enable this in manufacturing and industrial settings. How? By connecting Dynamics to shop floor information, leveraging data from machines and sensors. This gets the information to where the organization needs it – in 2021, we will be evolving from reactive decisions to proactive analytics that can support the decision process.
Yes, this is definitely the most industry-specific trend on the list. Nonetheless, for this industry, this trend is a game-changer. By using Dynamics to make these analytics and insights accessible throughout an industrial organization, great things will happen.
There are many interesting use cases for combining IIoT with business software like Dynamics:
- Go for predictive maintenance and prevent machine breakdowns by monitoring your machines’ condition and performance during regular operation and spotting early signs of the problem.
- Implement remote monitoring and stay informed (real-time) by viewing the information you need with the appropriate detail level.
- Improve production planning by having all the relevant information right where you need it, and you can finally make production planning more information-based and much more straightforward.
As you can see, IIoT meeting Dynamics covers a range of possibilities and concepts, giving it various use cases. As such, it’s one of the 2021 trends you can’t afford to ignore.
Dynamics 365 trend #5 – Guarantee Security for Software Integrations
The next trend in our rundown is security related. There is an increasing need to share data while maintaining privacy and security. That is NOT going to stop in 2021.
In our hyper-connected digital age, the trend for 2021 is to guarantee security when software integrations are involved. Truth be told, it is natural to assume that there is no danger in integrating two separate software pieces if you are already using them both. The only problem is that that assumption is wrong.
Let’s have a look at an example. Say you use Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft SharePoint. One day you discover that Microsoft provides an integration between the two. Cool! You can have the documents you previously had piled up in Dynamics automatically transferred to SharePoint but still readily accessible from Dynamics. It sounds like a brilliant idea!
You could very easily overlook the fact that the privileges for the documents that you had carefully set up in Dynamics are not going to be transferred to SharePoint. Everyone can see everything from the SharePoint side! Unknowingly, you would have created a security and privacy threat.
Luckily, the fact that there are more integrations than ever also means the solutions for these integration security problems are showing up – and this trend will be stronger throughout 2021.
For example, for the Dynamics and SharePoint integration problem above, you now have a solution. Moreover, you also have an add-on to that solution that ensures an automatic organization into folders of those documents on SharePoint.
Dynamics 365 trends #6 – Beware of your Dynamics 365 Storage Options
The last in our rundown of Dynamics trends for 2021 is storage. It was already common for Dynamics 365 admins to look for alternative storage for documents and attachments. The motivation for this was saving on costs and increasing performance. Alternative storage locations were frequently SharePoint or Azure Storage.
In 2021, we perceive that security is becoming one of the primary motivators for using alternative storage. As a result, we are already seeing new providers emerging in a market that felt consolidated up to now.
For example, in German-speaking countries, Dracoon is getting strong and will release the possibility of integrating with Dynamics 365 still in this quarter.
By embracing the prevailing trends in 2021 and using them to your advantage, you will accelerate your business’s growth in an ever-changing landscape.
You can hit the ground running as a new year unfolds!
Talk with Connecting Software’s experts if you want help putting these trends to practice in your organization. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have or jump on a quick call to show you how all this can work.
By Ana Neto
Software engineer since 1997, she is now a technical advisor for Connecting Software.
Connecting Software is a producer of integration and synchronization software solutions since 2004. We operate globally and we are also a proud “Top Member 2019” at CRMSoftwareBlog.