I am writing a series of blogs that will serve the readers as an introduction to the Dynamics 365 Mobile Apps for the latest version of CRM known as Dynamics 365 July Release (V9.0).
This is part 2 in the series – I hope the (series) blogs can be used as a reference guide for CRM Consultants/Customisers or administrators when deploying Dynamics 365 in their organisation or on behalf of their customers. I will highlight the key functionality of the mobile apps within the UUI framework.
I will assume you have now decided that you intend to use the Dynamics 365 Mobile Apps – so my aim for this blog is to cover the following questions:
- What are the mobile apps and types (of app) available with Dynamics 365?
- How can you get the mobile apps and what are the prerequisites that need to be met?
- How to you install the app to your devices?
I will post links to the official documentation/articles by Microsoft from their new documentation site for Dynamics 365.
Mobile Applications for Dynamics 365
Types of Mobile App
There are several types of mobile applications available to Users for accessing their Dynamics 365 data on their device, these are:
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Mobile Apps
- 3rd Party integrated – developed externally by 3rd party providers
Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Mobile Apps
Base Phone and Tablet Apps
There are currently 2 offerings of the mobile applications for Dynamics 365, these are:
- Dynamics 365 for Phone
- Dynamics 365 (for Tablets/Windows 10 Devices)
These two apps are the focus of these articles and the topics will be based around the functionality provided by Microsoft. From a customisation perspective – they are using the same set of Dynamics 365 customisations*, but the content that is displayed will be in a different manner on the smaller phone screens compared with the larger tablet screens.
The next few sections will list out other options available for mobile applications which are linked to Dynamics 365 but are not the focus for this blog series. (There are 1 or 2 I will not be mentioning as they have either been deprecated, like the Project Services Finder App – which has been replaced with the base apps or have been removed from the product).
*depending on which modular app they are using
Before we talk about the additional out of the box app offerings, I need to briefly describe about the concept of modular apps (a set of customisations and sitemap) within the XRM platform in Dynamics 365. These type of ‘Apps’ could be created using the App Designer to build up a particular area of CRM with a distinct set of functionality.
The app then filters the users view of CRM (via Entities/Forms/Views and sitemap) to the areas which are apart of the App allowing to them to stay focused on the key Entities that they interact with to complete their day to day tasks.
These have now been expanded to be configured to use the Unified User Interface (UUI) (more to come in a later blog). These apps will form the framework of a set of customisations that will be used for the base mobile apps for Dynamics 365.
App for Outlook
The new Outlook integration is now based on the UUI and actually runs in the context of a modular app in Dynamics 365. Technically, this is an exchange level mailbox add-in and not a standalone application or client that needs installing to your device, but it can run directly from your mobile Outlook application running the new UUI!
If you would like an introduction into the App for Outlook as a mobile replacement for your Outlook Client (for Dynamics 365) – please read my earlier posts:
Field Service Automation
Microsoft acquired Field One back in 2015 which had a CRM addon for Field Service Management functionality. The goal of FieldOne is to provide organisations who offer customer services in the field a better way to manage and provides these services to their customers. Field Service engineers would need away to access the data to complete their assigned task in the field (more often than not) remotely through their mobile device.
Microsoft took the opportunity to integrate the FSA capability provided with FieldOne into the Dynamics 365 platform and re-branded the solution as Field Service Automation (FSA) which was built up as a modular app within the XRM platform and can be installed through the Dynamics 365 Admin Center as an addin solution.
The associated mobile application (for phones/tablets) is called “Field Service- Dynamics 365” which is available to Dynamics 365 Users who have been provided the correct License Type. This is one of the Apps that Dynamics 365 Users can use to access their Field Service data but requires some additional installation of a CRM solution from Resco as described here.
I envisage that the base Dynamics 365 Mobile Apps will have their functionality/capabilities expanded over a period of time and will eventually replace the Field Service App.
This may be achieved through the new Custom Control Framework (CCF) which is very hush hush at the moment and most likely under NDA for partners! Jukka Niiranen wrote a very good blog about the prospect and future use of the CCF here.
Additional MS Mobile Applications
The Microsoft stack is growing and growing – new ways to access your Dynamics 365 data are also increasing such as the introduction of PowerBI, the Common Data Service, PowerApps and Flow.
PowerApps and PowerBI are great new ways of interacting with your Dynamics 365 – PowerBI for reporting and PowerApps to build custom “throw-away” apps to perform a particular set of tasks. They both have a mobile offering also!
3rd Party Integrated
Resco purchased CWR a couple of years ago and is now the largest 3rd party add-on provider for mobile solutions which is built on top of Dynamics 365.
As it is a 3rd party addon, there is an additional cost (per user/server) to organisations who wish to use the Resco solution (unless its in-conjunction with FSA – see above!).
Whilst there are still quite a few offerings to access Dynamics 365 data on a mobile apps available to organisations and its users, I will be purely focusing on the base Dynamics 365 mobile apps for this blog series.
How do I get the Apps?
The App Store
Ultimately, you can download the Dynamics 365 mobile apps through your devices App Store. If your mobile device is a part of an enterprise device management policy – you may have a dedicated app store for your organisation where you can only download authorised “Apps” from; you may need to ask your IT department to make this available for your organisation. But before you do, it may be best to check the prerequisites of the mobile apps!
Firstly there are two things to consider before installing the Dynamics 365 Mobile Apps:
- Supported Devices
- Security Role
I will make the assumption you are using CRM Online (as V9.0 has not yet been announced for on-premise release).
Previously – Microsoft issued a supported device listing for the the mobile apps along with an operating system version. With the latest documentation, Microsoft just list the supported operating systems and recommended device specifications.
The list is available here: Support for Phones and Tablets
From a high level, the list can be split as follows into the following sections
Phone Operating System (with link)
The following operating systems are required for use of the Dynamics 365 for Phones mobile application.
Tablet Types (with link)
The following operating systems/devices are required for use of the Dynamics 365 mobile application.
Security Role Privilege
For users to be able to access your Dynamics 365 organisation with the Mobile Applications – the following security privilege will need to be assigned to the users (details here) via an assigned Security Role.
- Open a Security Role
- Navigate to the Business Management Tab
- Scroll down to the Privacy Related Privileges
- Set Dynamics 365 for Mobile = Organisation
This screen shows the out of the box sales person role which has the privilege enabled by default.
Installing the App
I will show you quickly how to install the app to your device – my screenshots are of the installation being completed on iPhone 6 with iOS 10 to install this through the Apple App store. This assumes that you can download the app through the devices default app store – otherwise you may need to select it through your organisations app store.
- Navigate to the App Store and find the app (i.e. search by typing Dynamics 365)
- Download the App by clicking “Get” or the Download icon.
- Wait for the App to be installed and click open.
- Or find the Dynamics 365 for Phones App icon on your home screen
- Wait for the App to open and display the Organisation URL page!
The full (its shorter than above) installation guide can be found here:
The Dynamics 365 Mobile should be ready to be configured – I will go through the configuration in my next blog as that will need to cover a few items in CRM.
I hope you have found this article of use – it will probably be my last of 2017, but I may find some time to right the next article before the year is out (assuming my trial has not run out!). I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and I wish you all a happy new year!
Thanks for reading, MW.