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Microsoft Dynamics 365 forthcoming updates   

Microsoft has released an updated roadmap for Dynamics 365 and other Business Applications including no less than 90 planned new capabilities. These latest changes will be part of the next release which rolls out between now and March 2019. Existing customers will have no option to skip the update as discussed in our last blog.   

Further blogs will follow with more information on some of the key areas being updated. For now, we have produced the below summary of some of the forthcoming changes. 

Microsoft Teams – enhanced integration means Teams will now work even more closely with Dynamics 365. This will enable non-Dynamics 365 users to more effectively collaborate with colleagues who are using Dynamics 365. 

Unified Client Interface – further improvements are planned to the streamlined interface designed to provide a uniform experience across any device and regardless of screen size.  

Playbooks – this is brand new functionality to automate certain sales actions if a pre-defined event occurs. It is intended that this will allow contingency planning and offer guidance to users in certain situations. 

Similar Case Suggestions / Knowledge Article Recommendations – using Microsoft Text Analytics APIs to assist with case resolution. 

Omni-Channel Engagement Hub – extending Dynamics 365 for Customer Service to include live chat and SMS functionality. Allowing customers to seamlessly connect their own chat bots built on the Microsoft Bot Framework. 

Dynamics 365 Web Portals – extensive improvements are promised and a couple of the key features will be SharePoint Integration and the ability to restrict IP addresses or ranges. Unfortunately, a self-service portal will now require a minimum of 10 Enterprise licences rather than the current 5.  

LinkedIn Integration – further LinkedIn Sales Navigator controls will be added and will now be customisable and available to add to guided process flows using the Unified Interface. Enhanced insights will be available including recommending targets and identifying colleagues who may be able to facilitate an introduction. 

Dynamics 365 for Marketing – planned improvements include Account Based Marketing and Social Listening for Campaigns. A Marketing Calendar and the ability to add video content to marketing communications using Microsoft Stream will also be added. 


If you’d like more information about how your business can benefit from a CRM system, call us today on 0113 415 1615 or contact us here

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Changes to Upgrades

Microsoft changes process for cloud updates for Dynamics 365 

Microsoft recently changed how it manages cloud updates for Microsoft Dynamics 365. All users must now be on the same version with no option to skip an update.  

For Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, anyone still using v8.2 must be on the latest version by 31 January 2019.  

If you are on v8.2 and haven’t already done so you should take steps to schedule your update now to ensure you have sufficient time for planning and testing before this fixed deadline. You can update your Dynamics 365 sandbox instance first to allow you to test performance and identify any areas that may need modification before upgrading your live system.  

This will be the last time users will be able to schedule their own upgrades. From October 2018 all Dynamics 365 instances on v9 (or above) will be automatically upgraded by Microsoft. You should ensure you take note of the date allocated for your upgrade and carry out appropriate testing after the upgrade has been completed to ensure there is no effect on performance.  

If you need any assistance with your upgrade or if an upgrade highlights any issues we are happy to help. Just contact ixRM on 0113 415 1615 or via our contact form  


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Three reasons to consider Microsoft Dynamics 365 for a small business

It is extremely important that SMEs in work as efficiently as possible in to grow to their full potential. Whilst a CRM system may not be at the top of most business owner’s list of priorities it should definitely be a key point of investment.

A recent study has found that 65% of business adopt a CRM system in their first 5 years, whilst 53% of top performing companies continue to invest in their CRM after this period as they attribute a large amount of their businesses success down to the system.

SMEs should consider investing in a CRM system as it has both short and long-term benefits that can help a business in a number of ways, here are just a few:

1. Keep track of your data
A businesses intelligence is incredibly valuable no matter how big the company is. Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows every business to have access to the same data analytics tools, such as PowerBI. Dynamics 365 uniquely brings together different data sources to generate new business insights including reports for sales or finances which can save lots of time which otherwise would be spent on tedious research.

2. It supports your entire business
Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used to make almost every department of your business work more efficiently. The sales and marketing departments get a clear benefit as the CRM systems help business to manage the quality of their leads and can track through the opportunity stages to a won or lost sale. Microsoft Dynamics 365 bridges the gap between sales and marketing.

3. Dynamics 365 integrates with your current applications
Sometimes the existing software that a company uses can be an obstacle for new platforms, but Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the most flexible solutions available to integrate with other systems. There are several methods that can be used to create integration, the simplest being the use of Microsoft Flow which allows drag and drop integration and is embedded in version 9.0 which was released earlier this year.

ixRM is a Leeds-based company that offers a range of bespoke Microsoft Dynamics 365 services and solutions to businesses across Yorkshire. If you’d like more information, get in touch with a member of our team today on 0113 415 1615.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 for charities

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has many benefits which makes it a viable solution for all kinds of organisations. It helps to collect, manage and organise the data of an organisation’s customers, supporters and stakeholders.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the leading CRM systems on the market as it can transform all areas of a business and make it work more efficiently. Organisations such as charities and non-profits can also hugely benefit from Dynamics 365 due to the many different tools it has.

Charities are able to tailor the platform to create a bespoke solution which will help them better manage all key areas of the organisation. Through Microsoft philanthropies, charities receive a substantial discount on the cost of the licences making an enterprise product accessible to small charities.

Here are just some features that makes Microsoft Dynamics 365 a must-have for charitable organisations.

Single supporter view
Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives fundraisers a complete and real-time view of every activity and interaction each supporter has with their organisation.

Supporter communication
Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used to spot trends and opportunities across an organisations database and it also helps to improve the quality and relevance of the interaction with these prospects. One example is that the CRM allows charities to automatically respond to their supporters.

Income processing
Dynamics 365 helps charities manage revenue that comes from different streams by automatically identifying the source of the money. It can identify various aspects of the revenue such as the appeal, campaign and event, and can then categorise it accordingly.

Managing busy events
Charities often work to a busy calendar with various events scheduled and planned through the year. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps charities to plan, invite people to and organise different events such as charity balls, presentations and galas, so they can make the most out of the opportunities and generate more supporters.

If you work for a charity and would like to know more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help, feel free to call a member of our team today on 0113 415 1615.

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4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a CRM system

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process which helps to manage and optimise a business relationship with its customers. CRM systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 do this by tracking and analysing the interactions you have with your customers. Having a system that centralises key aspects of your business can help to simplify and secure your customer engagement.

Here is a selection of just a few of the many reasons why your business needs a CRM system: –

Give a forward view of your business
CRM systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, can give help to a ‘future view’ of your revenue streams by helping you identify trends and other leading indicators. This will enable a proactive approach to be taken to allow you to create new opportunities and convert leads more effectively.

Optimise sales process
Through Microsoft Dynamics 365, the sales leader at your company will have access to a sales reporting tool. This will enable them to see the activities of individual salespeople or teams and help to improve the effectiveness of the sales department by identifying issues such as people, calling activity or conversion rates.

Grow business through effective leads
In order to grow any business, this falls on much more than just the sales department, it is a collection of activities across multiple channels which come together to create a lead or opportunity. Businesses can use a CRM to acquire leads from your website, email campaign, seminars, conferences or exhibitions which your salespeople can then act upon. Microsoft Dynamics 365 opens up and identifies more cross-selling opportunities, identify new markets or product or improve calling efficiency.

Customer Intimacy
Customer intimacy involves a business tailoring its products, services and even communication channels to fit different customers, businesses or industries. For many small and medium enterprises, this can help them compete in a crowded and competitive landscape which larger companies can find difficult to duplicate to the same scale.

ixRM provides bespoke Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions to local businesses across Yorkshire. If you’d like more information about how your business can benefit from a CRM system, call us today on 0113 415 1615.

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New Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Microsoft has recently released a new marketing automation app for Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 for Marketing will help to digitally transform the corporate landscape and enable organisations throughout the UK to work more efficiently.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing integrates seamlessly with Dynamics 365 for Sales. Here are just a few of the benefits and capabilities that the recently-released Dynamics 365 for Marketing app will have for local businesses:

Create and nurture leads

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing was developed to help companies create and nurture leads from various platforms, including email marketing, website landing pages and phone calls. In short, your organisation will be better able to attract prospects and convert leads from these platforms with Dynamics 365 for Marketing. You can additionally personalise your customers’ and prospects’ user experience with the easy to use configurable templates and designer tools. LinkedIn integration allows leads generated through LinkedIn to be passed directly into Dynamics 365.

Align sales and marketing

Your business can further benefit from the new app as it brings together the marketing and sales activity of your employees to help them work in harmony with one another. You can easily view many pieces of information about your contacts, leads and customers in one place to gain better insight into your market. The process of moving your prospects through the marketing sales funnel will be more efficient with the use of automated workflows and lead-scoring rules that allow you to prioritise your hottest leads.

Event management

Dynamics 365 for Marketing also includes easy to use functionality for event management with the ability for all information about your event to be stored centrally and accessed by the whole team. This can be integrated into your general marketing activity through email and customer journeys to spread the word to your prospective attendees. You can then generate an online event portal for attendees to use for registration and to find the information they need about the event. Easy to create surveys allow you to generate follow-ups after events or gather actionable feedback from customers to help you grow relationships with a deeper understanding of customer needs.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 continues to transform how companies manage their marketing, sales and many other aspects of their business.

ixRM is a Microsoft partner that provides Dynamics 365 services to organisations in the local area. If you would like more information on how a CRM system like Dynamics 365 can help you and your company, please feel free to get in touch today by calling 0113 415 1615.

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How Microsoft Dynamics 365 can save your business time and money

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an extremely worthwhile investment for all businesses, no matter the size, as it massively improves the efficiency and productivity of all departments within the company. It helps to make all departments work in synergy with each other including marketing, sales, finance and administration to create a more streamlined company.

Simplified scheduling
Having a centralised system for your business, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, will help to conquer one of the most challenging aspects of offering great customer service. Dynamics 365 ensures you will never let any of your clients down by missing a meeting or appointment as it has an all-in-one view of all client’s requests and calendars.

Bridging the gap between sales and customer services

It’s a common problem when sales sell something that the customer may have an issue, but customer services are not aware.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows a service case to be linked back to individual products to allow reporting such as: Best selling product, products with the most complaints, the average time to resolve a complaint, etc.

Electronic DocuSign signatures
DocuSign or AbodeSign can be very easily integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to simplify the document signing process of a business. Typically, to get a document signed it takes lots of toing and froing which takes up a lot of time not to mention printing and scanning costs. However, with Microsoft Dynamic 365 you can digitally transform this process as DocuSign and AdobeSign allow customers to safely and securely sign documents digitally. This helps to get contracts signed and confirmed within minutes instead of days.

Microsoft Dynamics also has many more benefits to help local business save time and money and become much more efficient. If you’d like any more information, contact ixRM today and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions, call us on 0113 415 1615.

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How to import data in to Microsoft Dynamics 365

As a Microsoft Partner, ixRM specialises in helping businesses to use Microsoft Dynamics 365. Successful use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is dependent on the quality of data input and potential users may wonder how easy it will be to import data to their new system.

Before beginning to import data into Microsoft Dynamics 365, take a look at the quality of the data you want to import. The value of the data in your new CRM system will depend on its accuracy, and good data will increase the success of your implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365. You will need to plan before beginning to import data. This will reduce the likelihood of duplications or confused, useless data and will increase the chances of a successful implementation.

Also, consider where your data will come from. Sources may include Outlook contacts, spreadsheets, manual notes or legacy systems. Decide whether you can get all your data onto one type of source before importing, or import data from differing sources separately.

Before you begin to import data, consider what type of data you will import. Usually you are likely to want to import your Account and Contacts records, although you can import other data as well, such as leads. Decide whether to create customised fields or use the fields already provided before you begin to import data.

There are several ways to import data into your new CRM system.

You can enter data manually, import and track Outlook contacts, or use the Data Import Wizard to import spreadsheets for bulk data uploading.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has several other tools for you to use when you import data such as the useful Import Data Template to download a template for your data,which has pre-determined fields to help you get your data into the correct format for import.

Other useful tools when you begin to import data are Duplicate Detection, Bulk Editing and Bulk Delete in case you import faulty data or you want to update it.

For help with importing data successfully we have created several videos which you can view here, or for any other issues with your Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, contact the dedicated specialists at ixRM on (0)44 113 415 1615.

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Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 April update

April will see a variety of new features added to Microsoft Dynamics as part of its Spring ’18 update. The updates can be split into three main categories: business applications, intelligence capabilities and new application abilities.

One example of an additional capability is with the Microsoft Dynamics for Sales Professional tool, which is presented as a fresher, more streamlined form of the previous sales app. It has sales force automation capabilities allowing users to maximise sales systems and optimise productivity levels. It also makes use of artificial intelligence, with a relationship assistant being embedded within the platform to remind sellers to develop relationships with clients.

The Spring ’18 release also features developments across all products within the Microsoft Dynamics package in order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. This European Union privacy law comes into effect in May 2018 and resources have been added to the Trust Centre to help organisations meet the standards required. These include tools and auditing reports to help manage cloud-based data securely and information about the new regulation and what it means for businesses holding customer data.

James Phillips, the corporate vice president of the Microsoft Business Applications Group has spoken about the transformative powers of Microsoft Dynamics 365 being the reason why businesses are attracted to using the digital system, stating: “Microsoft is the only provider of a modern, unified and intelligence-infused family of business applications that span the breadth of business processes – across marketing, sales, service, operations, finance, talent and commerce.”

ixRM is an Microsoft Partner and specialise in helping businesses use Microsoft Dynamics 365 to improve their Customer Engagement. We work with a wide range of companies to help with Marketing, Sales and Customer Service. For more information about how we can help, please get in touch today by calling 0113 415 1615.

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What are the benefits of using CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a system used by both large and small scale organisations to help them perform better. It involves using specialist software to collect customer information and organise and manage it efficiently. The benefits of using CRM are multi-fold:

  1. Better customer relations

Having a CRM system in place means that all interactions with customers will be carried out in an organised and consistent way. CRM also helps companies to understand more about their customers and to improve their service based on feedback received. This increased level of understanding can in turn lead to better customer loyalty and higher satisfaction. In the long term this can mean more sales as well as a higher likelihood that they will recommend your products or services to others.

  1. Targeted marketing

Understanding your customers in detail allows much more targeted marketing campaigns to be carried out. For example you can shape campaigns to reach more profitable segments, meaning that money spent in these areas will lead to a good return on investment. Similarly, you can use data which has been collected to ensure that the right potential customers are targeted. For example by choosing those who have not yet bought a certain product, rather than everyone on a mailing list.

  1. Enhanced internal communications

Having a CRM system can help different sections of a company work together. Sharing customer data and profiles and communicating with each other will help improve the overall level of understanding and service provided.

ixRM are a Microsoft Partner and specialise in the use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement. We help businesses to work more efficiently and improve their profitability. For more information about how we can help your company be more productive please get in touch today on 0113 415 1615.