eXtremeCRM 2015 in Madrid was the place to be in April 2015 if you had something to do with Microsoft Dynamics CRM or related. The anniversary edition brought us a lot of “Microsoft-presenter hosted” sessions, in a nutshell: always nice to get the information first hand from people who are part of or closely related to the Dynamics CRM product group.
Anyway, just after the convention I could attended a USD (Unified Service Desk) training hosted by a Microsoft trainer where we got some hands-on insights and experience on the USD product. By the way, USD evolved out of CCF and CCA. If you want to catch up on the version history of CCF and CCA, please have look at this blog article of Simon Hutson.
Besides that, Matt Barbour (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mbarbour/) was nearby for some Q&A which gave us eager USD enthusiastics some clearer view on the what, how en when questions around USD.
Bottom line, the concept behind the client tooling was already explained in Simon’s blog article.
But what’s new or different? You could say USD is the next iteration of this tooling breed and it pushes more and more into configuration and bit less into development, not to forget that the GUI has been aligned with the CRM 2013 styling.
- Configuration is (sometimes) easier and can encapsulate programming, eg. power-user (or empower the user, where did we here that recently (Build2015, Ignite,…)?
- Configuration can be easily personalized or targeted.
- Configuration is stored in the CRM database via additional CRM entity data, this makes deploying and moving around a lot easier.
To make sense out of this, it’s well documented! Quote from the Unified Service Desk Developer Overview:
“Creating or developing agent applications by configuring the Unified Service Desk entities in CRM doesn’t require you to write code, which reduces the lead time to develop a highly customized agent application per your organization
requirements. This is the preferred way if you have to primarily deal with customer data available in CRM.”
And Development out of the picture, not really? Still there when you needed it, for example CTI integration, also quoted from the USD Developer Overview: “…the computer telephony integration (CTI) framework of UII enables organizations to build adapters to connect Unified Service Desk with their existing CTI infrastructure to support customer communication in agent desktops over various channels such as chat, email, or telephone…”
The last decade we’ve seen a large push in the software space from build towards buy, so you would suppose there are some of the shelf possibilities surrounding CTI integration? Yes there are some, but it’s limited. Another question surrounding this topic was already exposed and answered in the Dynamics Community, conclusion: there are some of the shelf possibilities but fairly unknown by the masses or scattered over the globe.
So, to round up, USD at this point in time remains a client application which retrieves its configuration from the USD enabled CRM organization and configuration is key. What’s missing? Well remember Satya Nadella’s press briefing from March 27 2014? USD isn’t what you would say to be completely mobile (or cross platform), but the configuration part of it is, so maybe in USD’s future we see some kind of shift towards a more mobile or let’s say web based version. I must agree there are some constraints and there are also some alternative scenarios which would not imply the use of USD as a client application or web version, but as the Dynamics brand grows and new applications arise, the simple UI integrations need to come out of the box or as an alternative the USD can be leveraged by contact center related customers to provide them the UI integrations and session management they need. I’m happy to say that with the latest release of USD version 1.2, one of the recent Dynamics acquisitions got its rightful place in USD as a hosted control, Parature Knowledge management.
Your starting point on the web is the Unified Service Desk developer guide or contact us directly at RealDomen for more details.
And remember a happy customer is a loyal customer 😉