What’s New in Field Service 2021 Release Wave 1?

It’s that time of the year again when we get anxious to start working with some pretty exciting new features and updates Microsoft has developed in the Power Platform and Dynamics 365 applications. For those who are not familiar with the release cadence, Microsoft delivers two major releases per year, in April and October.

This article will focus on the Dynamics 365 Field Service module, describing all the new features releasing from April 2021 through to September 2021. If you are also interested in other modules, there are hundreds of new features across the other Dynamics 365 applications at this link.

2021 Release Wave 1 for Dynamics 365 Field Service

The 2021 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 Field Service brings new innovations that provide you with better navigation and business efficiency. It includes comprehensive customer engagement capabilities such as allowing customers to self-schedule service, locate technicians and rate them to ensure satisfaction.

Since this release includes features that affect the user experience, you can opt in for early access to preview and test some of the features. Check below for all the new innovations and preview the new features with screenshots.

Modernize your customer experience with technician location tracking and direct customer feedback:

This feature provides visibility into upcoming service visits, with automated service schedule reminders sent through email or SMS, real-time location tracking and direct customer feedback on any device. The technician locater will be hosted on a Power Apps portal.

Self-service scheduling for your customers:

This feature provides the customer with the ability to schedule services on their own time from their devices, providing important customer pre-service information. Customers will be able to select available timeslots depending on the resource availability. This feature will be available from a Power Apps portal.

Collaborate within Dynamics 365 using Microsoft Teams:

This allows stakeholders to collaborate, and also provides the ability to connect Microsoft Teams conversations and channels to work orders.

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Field Service mapping features are enabled by default:

Now admins will find mapping features are enabled by default such as links for driving directions, address recommendations, and auto geocoding addresses.

Simplify frontline worker setup:

This is a quick and efficient way to simplify the setup and configuration of technicians as Field Service mobile users. The new resources will receive an email to download mobile app.

Simplify work order adoption:

A self-guided experience to simplify the use of work order components such as products and services, pricelists, tax codes, service tasks, incident types.

Capture work order resolution details:

Work order resolutions allow organizations to capture data on how work orders are resolved. This feature allows the system to provide meaningful resolution suggestions for future analytics and insights to better understand incident trends. There are two new tables added to Dynamics 365 Field Service:

  • Resolutions: where users can create resolutions records.
  • Work Order Resolutions: it has N:1 relationship with the resolution table and the work order table. The record will be created by the technician to tie an existing resolution to a work order.
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Improve service account address usability:

Address recommendations from Bing Maps helps the user to quickly populate the account address, reducing data entry errors. When editing the account address column, a window will pop up showing all the individual address fields with recommendations of data that users can update and save the changes to.

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Appointment data included in resource scheduling:

Appointments will also be considered as booking time and will be visible on the schedule board. This means that the schedule assistant will look at the resource’s bookings and appointments to determine a resource’s availability.

Enhancements to the embedded optimizer within schedule board:

This is a user-friendly visualization that increase the dispatcher’s productivity and reduces scheduling errors. It provides the ability for the user to create and manage different templates for scheduling rules and to work across multiple schedule board tabs simultaneously.

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Map view and weekly and monthly view support in new schedule board:

Two new views were added to the schedule board to help dispatchers with the schedule process:

  • Map view: users can use this view to see unscheduled work orders, schedule bookings, technician locations or routes, organizational units, and to schedule work orders for eligible technicians.
  • Weekly and monthly views: users can view bookings in the weekly and monthly views and schedule eligible technicians.
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You also get the ability to view the resource card with contact information, skills, and roles.

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Knowledge management articles to enhance technician productivity:

There are now articles linked to work orders on the Field Service mobile app, helping technicians to resolve work orders and install assets properly. These articles will also be available offline.

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Intelligent virtual agent to assist technicians:

Power Virtual Agents is now integrated within the Field Service mobile app, allowing technicians to get quick responses for their issues and questions.

To stay up to date on new features and enhancements coming soon for Dynamics 365 Field Service, bookmark this Microsoft site: What’s new and planned for Dynamics 365 Field Service.

If you have any questions about what’s new in Dynamics 365 Customer Service 2021 Release Wave 1, please contact us.

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