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Helping you move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Unified Interface

Microsoft has recently announced that they are deprecating the “Classic Interface” used in the web client for Dynamics 365 Sales, Customer Service, Project Service, Field Service, and Marketing. How does this decision affect you and your users?

Moving to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Unified Interface

For many existing customers there are lots of questions that need answers. What is Unified Interface? What does it offer? Why should I move to Unified Interface? How can I make it happen? There are so many questions. Let’s slowly unravel these and work towards building a plan for this transition.

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Unified Interface

What is Unified Interface?

A new user experience – which uses responsive web design principles to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience for any screen size, device, or orientation.

What does it offer?

Unified Interface brings all the rich experiences to any client browser, tablet or phone. It provides you with an enhanced user experience by providing very similar experience and capabilities across mobile, outlook and web interfaces.

Unified Interface offers the following key features:

  • Navigation: a very intuitive menu experience with a side navigation to access data more efficiently. It offers instant access to recent items and pinned items, support for SVG icons which resize to match screen size without any visual loss and can be collapsed for a neater experience
  • Business Process Flow: revamped and as a docking mechanism, using up less screen real estate, while allowing to stay focused on tasks at hand
  • Reference Panel*: control introduced to help manage multiple sub grids which offers easier access to switch between multiple record sets.*Note: You can have only one reference panel per form
  • Timeline Control:entire communication thread in one pane. It can show all the activities posts, notes, custom activities and helps to perform Quick actions with the activities. 
  • Interactive Dashboards: modern real time dashboard experience with interactive filters and modernised visualisations.
  • Rich Controls: modern responsive controls can be added to the forms which offers effective visual and data entry benefits.

Why should I move to Unified Interface?

Microsoft’s goal is to have customers live in the Unified Interface by April 2020, and fully transitioned to the Unified Interface before October 1, 2020.

I would not think that anyone should need convincing around why they should move to the new unified interface!

The new Unified Interface provides so many feature rich controls which will help users manage their daily tasks easily and effectively.

Below are some significant benefits that will help you make the decision soon!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Unified Interface benefits

During the Business Applications Summit in June 2019, Microsoft highlighted a series of statistics to demonstrate how the Unified Interface improves performance and reliability. These included:

MIcrosoft Dynamics 365 Unified Interface performance improvements

How can I make it happen?

In order to do a smooth transition, you should start planning as soon as possible. Just like any upgrade or update there are steps to put into place for a successful transition for your users.

Microsoft has released a series of playbooks to help companies plan a strategy for transition with many other resources which can be found here. According to the playbooks and my personal recent experience with helping a client do a successful transition below are the recommended steps:

  • Initiate the conversations: Communicate, find and align the right people who will help support the transition: 
    • Initiators who will identify what needs to be done 
    • Implementers who will do the required work
    • Reviewers who will review and provide feedback 
  • Start Simple: Build a test app from an existing sitemap

Pilot App: Create a pilot app that is used by a small user group which has the essential functionality to handle specific use cases and generate some excitement by introducing the new capabilities. Collect feedback and make it better.

  • Final Step: Full Transition to Unified Interface by doing a business assessment to identify if any Targeted Apps are required for different user roles. Create and follow a change management plan to finally onboard all users.

Things to keep in mind

Features not yet redeveloped for UI are still accessed via their ‘legacy’ dialogs. These include. More information can be found here.

  • Advanced Find
  • Bulk Edit
  • Merge Records
  • Record Sharing
  • Audit History
  • Admin experiences (legacy dialogs)
  • Duplicate Detection (partial)

There are certain capabilities that continue to be unavailable in the Unified Interface and Microsoft is working to provide these in future releases:

  • Custom styling of advanced chart properties (excluding colours and basic formatting)
  • Composite address control
  • Global notifications
  • Admin experiences
  • Editable grids on phones
  • Learning Path 

What’s available in the 2019 Release Wave 2?

Below are some of the latest enhancements to Unified Interface in the recent update to Microsoft PowerApps. These features are available for early access in 2019 release wave 2 and will become available to all customers on October 1 general availability. Microsoft made significant investments and updates to help makers and admins build and deliver functionality their end users need. This includes both new capabilities and improvements in how model-driven apps work. Below are some key enhancements. More information can be found here. 

  • Always show important information on the form header: ability to choose from different types of headers.
  • Error notification navigation: ability to navigate directly to an error from the notification bar at the top of a form
  • Unsaved changes dialog updates: improved notification with clear messaging to better manage unsaved changes and make informed decisions.
  • View inline images when reading emails: Images will now be rendered inline when reading emails!
  • Quick Create save and create new: ability to save and quickly create another record from within Quick Create form.
  • View email threads as a conversation: ability to list emails in a conversation thread groups to help users quickly view, manage and act on emails
  • Activities Timeline wall improvements: Enhancements done to timeline control to improve usability.
  • Preview for usability enhancements to lookups: Enhancements done to lookup control to improve usability.
  • Enhanced functionality in Unified Interface grids: Enhancements done to Grids to improve usability.

Enabling the Unified Interface

Talk to us to learn more about the Unified Interface. We'll help you enable the latest UI and plan your migration including user training that will cover management of the new experience.

Posted by: Monica Chopra, Senior Consultant | 13 September 2019

Tags: Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Field Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Project Service, Dynamics 365 Sales


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