The CRMCS guide to everything you need to know about integrating Teams with Dynamics 365

   Words by CRM Consultancy

   on 18/09/2020 10:00:00

Dynamics 365 and Microsoft teams are powerful business tools, which work in similar ways. Let’s being by looking simply at how they both work:

  1. Teams is essentially made up of a group of individuals, departments or even a company-wide group. Teams are subdivided into ‘Channels’. Each Channel can be either a specific team, department or specific group of people; or a unique topic or project.
    Teams and Channels are set up to meet specific business goals within an organisation.
  2. Dynamics 365 is divided by Customers and Transactions. Transactions can be things like Opportunities or Cases.

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Whilst both are good tools in their own right, Dynamics 365 and Teams work independently to each other and lack any automation to relate either Customers or Transactions, to Teams or individual Channels. The challenge for businesses is that in
order to become more efficient, they need a fully integrated solution for Dynamics 365 and specifically, one which includes Teams integration, in order to meet their business objectives.

The Dynamics 365 experts at CRMCS have developed and recently launched an Microsoft AppSource approved App, enabling fully Teams integration, directly into Dynamics 365. The innovative App, DocDrive365 was developed purely as a result
of clients requested better functionality, improved document management and Teams integration with Dynamics 365.

DocDrive365 offers automated, integrated Document Management across Dynamics, SharePoint and Teams, with notifications automatically posted and routed to the right Team or Channel, from within Dynamics, promoting greater operational
efficiencies.

Integrating and automating the document and business management processes between Dynamics and Teams, keeps the relevant people notified when there is an addition or status change to any Opportunity, Case or Task. It also assigns any
actions to the appropriate person, offering a new way of managing notifications, which reduces reliance on less efficient methods such as email.

Driving the business processes through Teams, whilst keeping everything structured within Dynamics 365 and SharePoint, facilitates dialogue between key personnel or teams. This level of collaboration and integration can only be achieved
by using CRMCS’ DocDrive365. Bringing Teams into the equation enables tracking of every collaborative event, plus organisations can also choose to create specific channels for dealing with new topics, projects or cases, whilst always keeping
everything fully integrated within Dynamics 365.

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WORKING IN TEAMS, WITHOUT DUPLICATING INFORMATION

CRMCS integrates notifications from Teams into CRM by adding a Teams Bot for raising new tasks or records. This means that users are now able to actively create and edit important information from within Teams, which automatically gets embedded into Dynamics 365.

This way of working avoids duplication whilst keeping the workflow focused on collaboration. Staff like this as they can work together using Teams, whilst Dynamics 365 and SharePoint automatically structure CRM content to keep everything stored correctly, without getting in the way of how people want to work.

Here’s an example of users exchanging messages within a Channel, resulting in a new Task or Call activity.

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ENHANCING COLLABORATION

In practice, every Channel in Teams becomes a font of useful information. If Channels are intelligently set-up, the information will be relevant and useful to individuals within that Channel, providing them with a single point of access for collaboration – through their own dedicated Channels within Teams.

Working like this, Channels delivered automated pushes of live and relevant information from with Dynamics, alongside chat and other collaborative communications from within the Channel or Teams.

Previous attempts to create a collaborative environment relied heavily on the use of an Intranet platform, which generally was a one-way tool for communication and relatively slow in terms of achieving two-way effective communications. With the advent of DocDrive365, the collaboration is ‘live’, instantly visible and most importantly, a very productive way of sharing information across the team.

SEARCHING AND LOCATING INFORMATION

As users are focused on business performance and customer service, they need the tools to work in collaboration, without having to ever think about what is happening in the background. That’s why CRMCS developed DocDrive365. The AppSource approved CRMCS App, DocDrive365, empowers users to keep within CRM or Teams, dedicating their time to completing their workloads. In the background, the real power of DocDrive365 works 24/7/365 to organize everything within a structured environment within Dynamics, Teams and SharePoint.

Extra functionality can also be gained by using DocDrive365. For example:

  • Search CRM directly from a Teams Channel:
  • Find me a Document from SharePoint
  • Find me an Activity from Dynamics

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Users have become far more focused on working directly within their own Channels. Ordinarily, searching Teams from within the Channel, simply produces results from within Teams and solely within the Channel that they are working in at the time.

DocDrive365 enables a search to be conducted, across Teams, SharePoint and Dynamics 365. This ‘power search’ functionality of DocDrive365 lets users see things like what their activities are. Or, they can find important documents from within Dynamics and SharePoint, together with email attachments right out of Office 365.

We are already in that Channel – this provides a search just within the Channel.

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An example of DocDrive365 displaying search results of recent activities from Dynamics 365.

EXTENDING TEAMS AND BESPOKE CONFIGURATION

As DocDrive365 can be extended and customised for individual clients, Teams structure and Rules can be configured in the way you want everything to work. Popular examples of this are:

  • All Opportunities in CRM post to the same Channel in Teams – so we have a single ‘Sales Team Channel’
  • Each Opportunity in CRM posts to a different Channel based on the Region of the Opportunity – one Channel per Region.
  • For Cases, we could have a similar Channel per Major Product Family so that collaboration happens at the type of Product level.
  • Clients who use Teams extensively, this can be a Team or Channel per Customer, so each Customer has an area of collaboration and potentially invite the Customer Contacts to participate within the collaborative environment.

COVID-19: THE CATALYST FOR TEAMS INTEGRATION

DocDrive365 technologies were developed and refined over the years, to incorporate the functionality and security needed in today’s fast-paced world. Following the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, clients requested a deeper level of collaboration than ever before. Whilst clients were happy with DocDrive365’s level of integration between Dynamics 365 and SharePoint, they all called in unison for a solution which would enable Teams integration, as more and more staff began to work remotely.

The R&D Team at CRMCS immediately responded to the challenge, switching development away from new products, to strengthen DocDrive365’s functionality, with Teams integration being the key objective.

At the start of Q3 2020, CRMCS launched the newly updated version of DocDrive365, complete with full Teams integration. One small step to add to the technology within DocDrive365. One giant leap for Collaboration. Responding to this challenge was a monumental task for CRMCS, however, the end-result allows organizations to freely collaborate across Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Office 365 and Teams.

HOW DID CRMCS MANAGE TO DELIVER TEAMS INTEGRATION SO QUICKLY?

Teams and SharePoint are quite similar in nature in that every time a new Team is created, in the backend, a new SharePoint site is automatically created, connecting the new Team to enable effective document management. The way in which CRMCS develops a rules engine for SharePoint is again, very similar to how Teams rules work.

A typical example of these rules:

  • New Client in CRM - New SharePoint Site to track the Client
    • New Opportunity in CRM - a New Document Library for that Opportunity in the Client SharePoint Site
      • New Task on the Opportunity - a New Folder in the Opportunity Library

This is similar to how we work with Teams.

  • New Client in CRM - New Team in Microsoft Teams
    • New Opportunity in CRM - New Channel in that Team
      • New Task - New Folder in the Library/Site already created for that Channel

Combining our DocDrive365 technologies and capabilities with a Teams Bot, enabled us to extend functionality into Teams for creating Activities, Searching for documents and other equally useful features.

Having defined a strong link between the Channels in Teams and Dynamics 365, CRMCS were able to enhance the Teams Bot to make search functionality more intelligent than before, extending searches across the Microsoft environment from Teams into Dynamics 365., SharePoint and Office 365.

GETTING YOUR TEAMS INTEGRATION ON THE ROAD

Most companies in the Microsoft Cloud will use a combination of Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Dynamics or SharePoint to some degree.

However the combination of these platform systems together is a powerfully overall solution to grow into for Collaboration, Email, CRM and Document Management respectively.

This set of ideas can be the starter kit for this process to look at how we get better benefits from what we want to do with Microsoft Teams for Collaboration, SharePoint for Document Management, and so forth, as building a truly connected organisation can be a key factor in our success.

For more information about integrating Dynamics 365 with Teams, SharePoint or Office 365, visit our website, or contact us via enquiry form, or call us on +44 (0)161348 7360.

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