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Are You Ready for the Dynamics 365 Unified Interface?

Have you heard? Your Dynamics 365 system is getting a facelift, whether you like it or not. But believe me, in the end you will like it. Oh, and you cannot stop it from happening.

The “facelift” is called the Unified Interface (UI). This new design for the Dynamics 365 Apps has been available since 2017, but it was not fully baked until this past year, 2019. It now has close to parity with what you can do in the legacy Dynamics 365 interface but with LOTS more features. What is the Unified Interface?

The Unified Interface is a new way of organizing and rendering the Dynamics 365 (CRM) user interface to make better use of whitespace, updated navigation techniques, modern extensible data field visualizations (controls), and a consistent targeted experience across all devices for each user group. This new interface enables you to create one or many “Apps” that group information and processes into unique self contained solutions or Apps. What are the Benefits? There are 3 main benefits of the new UI: 1. Consistent Configuration and Navigation

First, the way your solution is configured and how you navigate through the system, will be consistent across all device types. If you access Dynamics 365 on your PC, tablet or phone, you will have a consistent experience. That does not mean it will look exactly the same; screen real-estate and how you enter data will be aligned to the device, but it will mean the navigation structure and the features available will be similar on all systems. 2. Intuitive Layout

Second, how screens and data are laid out make much better use of space and show information in a more intuitive and consolidated manner. Less whitespace is what you will notice immediately, as well as more options for viewing additional data such as when you hover over a link. Accessing related records is smoother and more intuitive so you are not constantly having to go to the chevrons at the top and clicking back and forth. Overall you will have smoother and faster access to data with less clicking.

3. Customization Capability

And thirdly, there are new control options and the ability to create custom “controls”. That means there are more choices for how individual elements of data are displayed. For example, a Yes/No field can be shown as a slider control on a phone screen, a button control on a tablet and a drop down on a PC. And if you don’t like any of those, the framework is there for developers to create new customized controls, much easier than before and with more portability. Over time this will mean Customers, Partners and the ecosystem will develop more reusable elements and be able to create slick and effective data visualizations. As you can see, the Unified Interface will provide a better user experience when working in Dynamics 365. Going to the new UI also means you open up the full capabilities going forward of Canvas Apps, Model Driven Apps, Power Automate (the old Flow) Power BI and Power Virtual Agents. But do you know how to prepare for the transition? It will be a mandatory roll over to the new Unified Interface by October 1st 2020. If you do nothing, a “default” experience will be automatically put in place, but it will be un-tested and your End Users will not be trained or prepared for the new look and feel and new navigation. If you had used dialogs or business task flows, then you may have an issue. What is important to note is that most customers will be scheduled to transition before October 1st. Microsoft is moving customers over in waves and you need to make sure you know when you have been scheduled to transition. Check in your admin area of Dynamics 365 for updates on where you have been scheduled, or give us a call and we can check for you.

Transitioning to the Dynamics 365 Unified Interface

When the time comes to transitioning, there are four general steps you need to consider:

1. Review your current solutions’ use and user groups. Document who uses what, how you want to break the solution up into “Apps” and who would need access to which Apps.

2. Review how the solution is accessed. Are people accessing it only via a PC? Will users want to use tablets or phones to work with Dynamics 365?

3. Create at least one prototype Model Driven App to test. This is important because some things like dialogs or business task flows may not work, and there are some differences with how on-demand workflows run. Your apps need to be tested to make sure all required business functions work as expected.

4. Create and rollout in phases or all at once along with training. While the solution will work as before, the interface and navigation will be different so rolling out the changes in waves along with specific training will aid in adoption. How can help.

In the end, you will be moving to the new Unified Interface, and get access to all the benefits that brings. How smooth that transition will be is based on how proactive you are in documenting, testing and training your Users. That is where can help. Our team is experienced and trained in the new UI and can help your organization make the transition smooth and easy.


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