Get ready for the next release

New features are continually becoming available! If you administer, configure, or install Microsoft Dynamics products and services, watch this page for information about ongoing and upcoming releases — and how to prepare your organization.

We're excited to announce that:

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Service Pack 1 is now available.

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1 is available for new and existing customers.

For a complete list of new features in Dynamics CRM, see the following resources:

You can also watch a short video (2:14) on the spring wave of features


On this page:

What's new in Microsoft Social Engagement 2016 Update 1.7

What's new in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.5

How to get and prepare for updates

Staying informed

Support

What's new in Microsoft Social Engagement 2016 Update 1.7

Introducing Instagram as a new source in Social Engagement

Instagram is now available as a source in Social Engagement, adding a way to engage on highly-relevant pictures and short videos from millions of posts published every day.

To gather posts that mention a specific hashtag, you can create keyword search rules for #hashtags on Instagram to find public posts on Instagram that contain that hashtag.

To follow all posts of important Instagram accounts (for example, a competitor’s brand account), you can set up Instagram account rules to gather all posts from a specific Instagram account.

To acquire data from Instagram, you'll need to add at least one Instagram profile to your social profiles in Social Engagement, and then allow data acquisition for that profile.

Link to CRM is now available for Professional licenses

We’re excited to announce that all customers using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in combination with Social Engagement can now create CRM entities from a post in Social Engagement. Users with a Professional license can now link a post to CRM and trigger a workflow in CRM. While users with a Microsoft Social Engagement Professional license now can create new records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM from single posts, the automated record creation using automation rules continues to be available for Enterprise licenses only.

New and faster acquisition of posts from Facebook pages

Social Engagement has significantly improved the data freshness of posts and comments from Facebook pages. To start using the new data acquisition, you need to add at least one Facebook acquisition profile to the social profiles in Social Engagement. Authenticated Facebook acquisition profiles generate a User Access token on Facebook. Tokens authenticated for data acquisition usually have a lifetime of about 60 days, due to Facebook's requirements. Administrators and profile owners will receive email notifications when a profile is about to expire.

Multi-creation of search rules and filtering on search

To improve the experience when you set up new search rules, Social Engagement now lets you set up multiple Twitter search rules and Facebook pages rules at one time. Create a new Twitter or Facebook rule, and then search for the Facebook pages or Twitter profiles you want to add under the current search topic.

To quickly find search topics or search rules that contain a specific word or phrase, you can now apply a filter in the Category and Search Topics pane. Start typing the string that you're looking for and see all topics or rules matching what you type. Additionally, you can search for languages and sources in the search topic configuration and search for custom sources on the customer sources tab.

Manage custom tags

Some tags may become obsolete over time, or you might want to rename them. Maintain your custom tags and let your users work with relevant items. Administrators can now rename custom tags and delete them if they aren’t needed anymore.

Review the quality of auto tags

Having insights about the quality and history of the learning models for auto tags and intentions helps you efficiently manage and optimize the auto tags feature. In Settings, on the Auto Tags page, you'll now find information about the quality of the machine learning model for each auto tag.

Include or exclude the Label filter

You can now build streams in Social Center that cover a variety of workflows by using the updated Label filter. The label filter now lets you choose if you want the see posts that have the selected label assigned, or if you want to explicitly see posts that don’t have the selected label assigned.

For example, you could work with labels like “Closed” or “Case resolved” and filter out those labels in a stream that shows posts assigned to a group of users, so they work on the posts that still require action.

Automatically assign posts to a user or a group by using automation rules

Further extending the capabilities for automated triage of newly-found posts, automation rules now provide the Assign-to action. Based on the filters you define, posts are automatically assigned to a user or a group.

For example, you can assign posts with purchase intentions to your sales team for follow-up. Or, you can assign posts with negative sentiment that mention your company’s service or product to your customer service team.

To quickly check the number of posts that are processed by an automation rule, Social Engagement now shows how many posts might match your filters. When you define the filters, you'll see how many posts previously matched the selected filters in your default time frame, so you can see if that’s within your expectations. Additionally, the actions for each automation rule are now displayed in a list so you can easily edit them.

Direct messages and private messages now support up to 10,000 characters

Direct messages on Twitter and private messages on Facebook now support up to 10,000 characters per message and let you write longer replies to your audience. You'll be notified if you're about to reach the character limit.

Details for Twitter posts now show threads for replies and retweets

To help you better understand the impact or the context of a post, the detailed view of a Twitter post now shows replies and retweets as separate threads. Replies are now related to the posts they reply to, rather than being treated as individual posts.

New options to handle posts that no longer match a stream’s data set

In Social Center, streams now let you choose how to handle posts that no longer match a stream's data set. You can either let the stream automatically hide these posts, or you can choose to be notified in the stream before a post is hidden. Not only does this let you work more efficiently when you triage posts, it also lets you work with posts faster.

Updated Help & Training Center

As tons of great features were added to Social Engagement in recent releases, we expanded the footprint of our help content. To get you to the right information quickly, we refined the Social Engagement Help & Training Center page. Check back regularly—we keep refreshing the content as new features are released.

What's new in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.5

Include custom subscription centers on landing pages

Add any of your existing subscription center plug-ins to any landing page to let contacts sign up for newsletters when they register. You can customize your subscription centers to make sure they include only those mailing lists that are appropriate for each landing page’s target group. In previous versions of Dynamics Marketing, you could add a default subscription center (which included all available subscription lists), but you couldn't select a customized plug-in like you can now.

Use relative date/time arithmetic in query criteria

Create dynamic marketing lists (queries) that include relative date/time arithmetic and inequalities among their selection criteria. Use the updated TODAY placeholder to do date-based arithmetic that finds contacts based on date/time values such as birthday, sign-up date, or payment date. For example: TODAY+4D (four days from now), TODAY+5M (five months from now), or TODAY-2Y (two years ago). Inequalities (such as less-than or greater-than) are also supported by the updated TODAY placeholder. (The TODAY placeholder was available previously, but has been significantly improved for this release.)

Leads views and direct engagement links are now supported by the seller portal

The seller portal provides salespeople working in Dynamics CRM with a view of which communications from Dynamics Marketing have been (and will be) sent to their contacts and accounts. The seller portal was already available from contacts and accounts views in CRM, but now it's also available from leads views. In addition, the seller portal now provides direct links from the contacts, accounts, and leads views in Dynamics CRM to the customer-engagement display in Dynamics Marketing. In CRM, links to the seller portal and engagement view are labeled as View Marketing Portal and View Marketing Engagement, respectively.


Important

After you install this update, you must reset the seller portal in Dynamics Marketing by disabling and re-enabling it in the Site Settings.


Improve authentication performance in your SDK solutions

Use the new shared access signature (SAS) method to improve authentication performance when you communicate through your Azure Service Bus queues to and from the Dynamics Marketing SDK endpoint.

Use fully-customized text colors in the graphical email editor

The graphical editor for designing marketing emails now provides a full-range color picker, allowing you to choose from thousands of colors rather than being limited to the set of predefined swatches provided by earlier versions of Dynamics Marketing.

Use custom page-background colors in the graphical email editor

You can now assign a custom color to the background behind your email body container. which is especially useful when you are using a fixed-width container design.

Establish a white list of permitted from-address domains for marketing email messages

Establish a white list of domains that are permitted in the from-address field for email marketing messages. Any message that does not include a valid and approved from-address domain will be blocked at send time (and reported as such in the performance results). This can help to improve security, prevent typos, ensure conformity to company policies, and increase deliverability by ensuring that from addresses always match your DNS registrations. You can also disable this feature if you prefer to allow all domains in the from field (the default setting).


Note

This was previously a limited-release feature that required a special service request to activate. The feature is now generally available to all organizations who update to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.5 or later.


Use business segments to better align your marketing initiatives to your organizational structure

Dynamics Marketing already lets you map companies, divisions, and departments to your various marketing initiatives so you can set budgets, organize your records, generate reports, and perform advanced analytics along organizational lines. But in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.5, we have extended support for division and department associations and also introduced support for a new type of organizational structure: business segments. A business segment is a part of a company that is identified by the specific set of products, services, and/or geographical locations it serves. Each business segment typically distinguishes itself from other segments by its unique collection of customers, products, and marketplaces.

In Dynamics Marketing, you set up each business segment using the categories feature, which makes the segments available to the entire site, ensures consistent naming, and establishes a single source for editing and translation. The concept is similar to departments and divisions in that you can use them to divide an organization along logical lines for purposes of management, budgeting, reporting, and other practical concerns. However, unlike departments or divisions, Dynamics Marketing allows multiple business segments to be assigned to a single entity.

Business segments are not hierarchical, so they don't belong to a specific company, division, or department, and they can be assigned across these organizational lines. And unlike divisions or belongs-to company assignments, business segments can be changed at any time and do not add any restrictions to how or where you can use the entities assigned to them.

In addition to the new business segment settings, support for department and division assignments has also been extended to more types of entities. This means that all entities that now support business segments also support departments and divisions (if they didn't already).


Note

This was previously a limited-release feature that required a special service request to activate. The feature is now generally available to all organizations who update to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.5 or later.


Improved send performance for high-volume email campaigns


Note

This is a limited-release feature, which means that it is considered stable, but it may also be highly specialized and/or narrow in scope. Limited-release features are available on request, but are otherwise hidden by default in the Dynamics Marketing user interface. If you would like to enable a limited-release feature for your site, then please contact Microsoft Support for assistance.


You can now set your email campaigns for high-volume delivery, which significantly improves performance when you are sending to a very large number (such as millions) of recipients.

When you use the high-volume option, Dynamics Marketing does not collect message-sent or message-delivered records on a per-contact basis, but it does provide total sent and delivered values for the campaign. Opens, clicks, and other KPIs are still available per contact. For smaller campaigns, you can turn off the high-volume option and also collect sent and delivered records for each individual contact.

How to get and prepare for updates

Dynamics CRM Online

  • You'll be able to schedule the specific date when your update occurs. We call this a customer-driven update since you “drive” the timing of the update to be the most suitable for your organization. For more information about our update policy and how this works for CRM Online, read TechNet: Manage Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online updates.

Dynamics CRM

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 is available now.

Dynamics Marketing

  • The customer-driven update process will give admins better control over when new updates of Dynamics Marketing will be rolled out for your organization. For more information about how this works, read Manage Dynamics Marketing updates.

Microsoft Social Engagement

  • The listed administrator within your organization will be notified by email about the specific timing of your update to the next version. These updates will happen automatically and Microsoft will send several reminder communications, with the details, as the scheduled update approaches.  

How to prepare for updates

Test the updates in a sandbox environment. We always advise that you preview and test new versions in a non-production environment before you update your live production instances. This will give you the opportunity to verify the compatibility of any customizations that you may have made, or any third-party customizations that are installed. Additionally, testing will also allow you to assess the impact of the upcoming changes on your organization and your users. If you haven't already done so, we strongly advise obtaining a non-production instance. Learn about managing CRM Online sandbox instances.

Staying informed

Service communications

Want more information about the types of emails we send you? Check out TechNet: Policies and Communications for CRM Online Updates.

Support

Connect with Support resources or browse questions and answers in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Forum — or you can always contact your partner.

Here's the list of features previously introduced in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, and Microsoft Social Engagement.

Features introduced in Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

Features introduced in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing:

Features introduced in Microsoft Social Engagement