Thursday, January 10, 2019

Integrate Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps with Microsoft Teams (Preview)

Warning: This preview is currently only fully available for organizations in the North American region.

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaborative tool, where people can work on documents, exchange information using chat – check out the what is Microsoft Teams video from the Microsoft teams video training series if you have not worked with it previously. One of  the interesting capabilities of Microsoft teams is that it allows you to add new apps within your team workspace – these apps are available in the Teams store, and can be custom built by you for distribution through the store or directly to your users (also Take a look at 30 invaluable integrations that you should be using with Microsoft Teams for some great examples of apps that are available)

In November 2018 Microsoft added a “Dynamics 365” app to this ever growing list of apps – it currently provides 3 important capabilities:
  • Provide  Dynamics 365 chat bot functionality in the team  conversations
  • Work with Dynamics 365 records directly from within Microsoft Teams.  Teams now has the possibility to link an existing Dynamics 365 record so that users are able to both view and edit information about this Dynamics 365 within Microsoft teams and even navigate to related records without leaving Microsoft teams.
  • Link Microsoft Teams files to Dynamics 365 records
In the next sections we will delve a little deeper in some of the functionality.

Working with the Dynamics 365 bot in Teams
After you have installed the Dynamics 365 App from the Teams store (See Install and setup the Dynamics 365 App for Teams for more details) , you will be able to use the new sales bot functionality within the Conversations tab of the app

When you first open the bot you need to connect it to a specific Dynamics 365 organization instance – afterwards you are able change this setting.

For the moment the functionality is still rough on the edges basic but more functionality will probably be added throughout the preview.  The bot allows you to lookup information in Dynamics 365 using natural language – e.g. you can search for an opportunity “Audio equipment” by just typing “search audio equipment” or “lookup audio equipment” or “find audio equipment” which will surface a card with information about that opportunity.  Behind the scenes the bot will connect to the LUIS Azure Cognitive Services to understand the intent of your message to retrieve the most important information. Through the bot you will also be able to update basic information of this opportunity like the amount, close date, etc… This functionality is also available from within the Microsoft Teams mobile app

Working with Dynamics 365 records from within Microsoft Teams
You can now also add a new tab to the top of your channel which uses a specific app – if you link the Dynamics 365 app here you can connect it to a specific Dynamics 365 record.

Users who do not have a Dynamics 365 license or not a valid security role in Dynamics 365 will not be able to access the information but will receive a warning

Linking Microsoft Teams files to Dynamics 365 records
When you create a new Microsoft team behind the scenes a SharePoint Online site is being used, and each channel in a team gets a folder within the default team site document library (Read How SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business interact with Microsoft Teams for more details and watch the video Foundations of Microsoft Teams to get an architectural overview)  So basically the integration between Dynamics 365 and files in Teams is being built on top of the existing SharePoint integration for which the fundamentals already existed.

To be able to link Microsoft Teams files to Dynamics 365 records you will first need to activate preview functionality within your Dynamics 365 system settings (Settings>Administration>System settings)

Next a new button will appear in your mean which allow you to link to a specific team and channel.

The linked  Teams documents will appear in the same place as linked SharePoint documents (under the cover they actually are stored in SharePoint  - take a look at Showing SharePoint document properties in Dynamics CRM views for a more detailed explanation of how this is done).

For the official documentation on this preview see  Preview: Integrate Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps with Microsoft Teams

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