If you are staring down the barrel of a Dynamics 365 version 9 upgrade and are feeling a bit intimidated, you are not alone.  This is a big release and…

Everything. Is. Changing.

Since there is so much ground to cover with version 9, we’ll stay in the stratosphere for this post, and dive down for details in others.


Dynamics Classic Interface

The main 3 options to access Dynamics 365 have always been the standard web application (my favorite), Microsoft Outlook (a close second), and the Mobile App.  With Version 9, this remains true but Microsoft is also introducing a new Unified Interface.  From a training/usability perspective, this is great news as the interactions will be similar (if not exactly the same) from platform to platform…the challenge is that the overall experience is changing quite a bit.

In some cases, there will be the option to continue with the ‘old’ interface (we’ll call this “Dynamics Classic”) rather than the “Unified Interface with Dynamics”.  The nearby image illustrates the options available if you stick with Dynamics Classic vs the Unified Interface.  One important item to note - you can stick with the Dynamics Classic interface on the web and Outlook but not on mobile (that interface is changing to the Unified Interface with no option to stay on the Dynamics Classic interface).

3 Options for Unified Interface vs Dynamics Classic

  • Web – You can access either the “Dynamics Classic” or “Unified Interface”, so if the learning curve is too steep for your users, stick with the classic.  Note that even the classic interface will have some changes, so be mindful of any users who are hyper-averse to change and offer them a little more coaching.  Also, it is possible to offer both interfaces to your users, but we’ll advise against that in most cases.

    Dynamics 365 Unified Interface

    • Outlook – A bit more complex, here.  The old Outlook interface (or “Outlook Client”) is still available and won’t be changing, but the newer “Outlook App” (which was released with version 8.x) will be upgraded to the modern experience.
      • The Outlook Client only works with Outlook on your desktop.
      • The Outlook App works with Outlook on your desktop, mobile devices, and the web.
      • Users can use EITHER the Outlook Client, or the Outlook App, but not both (different users can use different versions, but no one user can use both of them).
      • Here is more information on the two versions and how to decide which to use.

    • Outlook Mobile – steel yourself….Mobile will only work with the “Unified Interface”, so users will have a significantly different experience when you upgrade to 9.x.

    Dynamics 365 Mobile

    Deciding on Dynamics Unified Interface vs Dynamics Classic

    • At C5, we are doing a great deal of testing on the new Unified Interface.  Although it has some amazing benefits, we are finding there are still some ‘quirks’ – and…not all of the customizations are working well with it.  Like any significant new release, you should expect bugs that will take a version to resolve. Unless you are launching a brand new CRM project, we’d suggest steering clear of the upgraded interface until the next version.

    • For Outlook: Unless you are deeply entrenched with the Outlook Client, we really like the Outlook App.  If for nothing else, the integration with mobile devices makes this an easy decision, but click here for our full article on this.

    • Dynamics Mobile – Much of the performance, interface and bug issues with “Classic Mobile” in version 8.x seems to be resolved with the Unified Interface, so we are cautiously optimistic.  There comes with a HUGE grain of salt as this is a brand new interface, further complicated with the mobile platforms (devices, OS’s and so on) so we anticipate many issues to surface in the near future.  Microsoft has also temporarily halted access to the offline version probably due to many bugs and issues.  Nothing impossible, though…If you have Dynamics 365 mobile users, just be prepared for that frustration ahead of time.  If your organization is heavy into mobile, then you may consider a third party solution like Resco as an alternative.

    Getting the Most from Dynamics 365

    Regardless of your version or interface choices, we are always happy to help you navigate the challenges of your CRM journey.  Reach out to us anytime.