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  • What does the April release mean for the charity sector?

Microsoft has recently published a full guide for its next cloud update that will roll out across Dynamics 365 and its Power Platform (including Power BI, PowerApps and Flow) in April. This will be available to preview in all online instances from March and will be available generally for new customers from April and existing customers over the next few months, as Microsoft moves to having all users on a single supported version.

But what does the next cloud update mean for the charity sector? Here is our guide to some of the key elements of the April release that could make a real difference to your charitable organisation.

1. Flexibility

One feature that is both a positive and negative of using any type of platform is that you are always constrained by the platform design. But with the April release, you now have the power of action steps and embedded PowerApps for a true “if you can think it, we can build it” approach, without being limited by the underlying screen design within Dynamics 365.

For example, you can build simplified, new and recurring payer signup screens into a single PowerApp and then let the power of the platform place all the data into the correct tables within Dynamics. Or maybe in the case of Health and Advice, have a PowerApp for Graphical Outcome star reporting used by the service user within a one-to-one session, that is saving the results linked to the case within Dynamics.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Health and Advice

You’ll be able to quickly identify and respond to current and emerging trends with built-in AI. Issues can be proactively addressed before they impact service users with the help of predictive insights. You’ll also be able to evaluate and respond to key performance indicators with out-of-the-box dashboards and identify opportunities for improvement and impact using performance insights across channels.

You'll be able to quickly identify and respond to current and emerging trends with built-in AI. Issues can be proactively addressed before they impact service users with the help of predictive insights. You'll also be able to evaluate and respond to key performance indicators with out-of-the-box dashboards and identify opportunities for improvement and impact using performance insights across channels - Cloud Update - Screenshot
Cloud Update – Screenshot

3. Major Donors and Trusts

With the April release, we are really starting to see AI coming to the forefront within the Dynamics platform. AI for Sales will have the ability to monitor how you are spending your time on major donor bids and highlight when actions need to take place.

AI for Sales will have the ability to monitor how you are spending your time on major donor bids and highlight when actions need to take place - Cloud Update - Screenshot
Cloud Update – Screenshot

4. Virtual Customer Service (The Bot)

With the preview starting in April, we are now getting the “Bot Framework” which will enable charities to handle simple requests for service automatically, via multiple channels (Facebook etc.) and then offload the request to a human agent based on the complexity of the question. This could be as simple as “How do I donate?” or “What events are you running?” but could really help streamline the first contact with the charity.

With the preview starting in April, we are now getting the “Bot Framework” which will enable charities to handle simple requests for service automatically, via multiple channels (Facebook etc.) and then offload the request to a human agent based on the complexity of the question - Cloud Update - Screenshot
Cloud Update – Screenshot

5. Surveys

Microsoft Forms Pro (Event Feedback etc.) will provide rich supporter insights such as correlations and sentiment analysis. Since the survey responses and business data reside in the same CDS (Dynamics), it provides richer insights about the business processes.

Microsoft Forms Pro (Event Feedback etc.) will provide rich supporter insights such as correlations and sentiment analysis - Cloud Update - Screenshot
Cloud Update – Screenshot

So, as you can see, with the Power Platform moving to regular 6-monthly release cycles, we are starting to get some major benefits around AI and flexibility which can directly benefit the charity sector. It will help to reduce the level of customisation within a project by moving towards a pure configuration model.

If you are a Dynamics 365 user and need any further help in understanding how these new updates could help your charity, or if you are considering implementing Dynamics 365 in your charity, contact our team of NfP experts today or visit the NfP section of our website.

James-Glover-mhance

Article by: James Glover
CRM & NfP Solutions Architect

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