What is the Unified Service Desk? What are its characteristics, advantages and how can you apply them to your business?

This is the first of a series of articles we will prepare to explore the creation of Call Center applications through a powerful MS Dynamics 365 tool, USD (Unified Service Desk).

In this article, we will learn a little more about USD and study the first steps to creating a Call Center application.

What is USD – Unified Service Desk?

USD is a set of modules that provide a configurable structure to create Call Center applications quickly, adding to its context a unified view of the main customer data, which is stored in Dynamics 365 database.

Its main characteristics:

  • USD was designed as a series of adapters and modules that make easy managing user interface elements of Dynamics 365.
  • USD configuration and administration is done through Dynamics 365 (since the CRM 2013 version) or Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Outlook.
  • In many cases the use of USD for Call Center applications doesn’t require coding, greatly reducing the time required for creating an application.
  • USD has a native structure for integrating telephony and computing (CTI).
  • USD supports communicating with the customer on the operator desktop by chat, e-mail or telephone channels.
  • With USD is possible to embed legacy systems and applications right on the interface, without the need for coding.
  • It also allows advanced customizations through .NET and XAML coding.

What are the advantages of using USD?

With an integrated desktop, USD allows aggregating diverse information, providing a 360º vision of customer interactions. That gives Call Center operators immediate and controlled access to business information, enabling them to perform quick operations and queries in the system, so they can respond to customers that look for support in the Call Center.

Creating a Call Center application though USD configurations:

Ok! Now that we know what USD is all about, its characteristics and advantages, let’s explore the first steps to creating a Call Center application through USD configurations.

USD is configured in Dynamics 365, and to access its configurations, we need to install the solution pack through the Package Deployer (download available here).

Running Package Deployer:

The image above illustrates the sequence to install the USD configuration pack in the Dynamics 365 organization we want to connect to. Let’s focus on step 5:

This execution step defines what kind of setup we will make. We have 4 options:

  • USD – New Environment: Contains the main UII (User Interface Integration) and USD solutions, along with some of the basic configuration data. It helps to accelerate the basic configuration of your new USD environment.
  • USD – Client Web MS Dynamics 365: Contains the main UII (User Interface Integration) and USD solutions, along with some of the basic configuration data. It helps to accelerate the basic configuration of your new USD environment.
  • USD – Interactive Service Hub: Contains the main UII (User Interface Integration) and USD solutions, along with some of the basic configuration data. It demonstrates how to integrate the Interactive Service Hub to USD.
  • USD – Update: Contains the main UII (User Interface Integration) and USD solutions. It updates the existent USD solutions in the specific organization (step 4) to the most current version, without affecting existing configuration data. If you’re implementing this package in an organization in which there are no USD solutions, it will configure a new environment, but with no sample configurations.

Here in our example, I opted for installing package 1, where is possible to navigate through USD Client with some sample configurations.

Installation ready! Now it’s possible to access USD configurations from within Dynamics 365:

USD has many controls used to configure an application. The main ones are:

  • Hosted Controls
  • Action Calls
  • Window Navigation Rules
  • Toolbars
  • Agent Scripts

Great! Now that our USD configuration environment is ready, we can install the USD Client. The Client installation is available in the same Package Deployer download. If your operating system is 32 bits, execute the package Dynamics365-USD-2.2.0.755-i386, if its 64 bits, execute the package Dynamics365-USD-2.2.0.755-amd64.

Now there’s little to go! With the configuration solution installed in Dynamics 365 + the Client installation, we’ll connect USD in our Organization. To that purpose, we’ll use UnifiedServiceDesk.exe. If there’s not a shortcut on your desktop, look in “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics CRM USD\USD\UnifiedServiceDesk.exe”.

In the image below, clicking in “Change Credentials”, USD redirects us to the login screen, where we’ll enter our credentials to connect to the Dynamics 365 Organization.

After login, USD will load in its interface the sample configuration, that we installed previously through the Package Deployer.

In the next articles, we’ll get into the configuration detail of each USD control. We’ll also explore advanced customization using .Net and XAML.

Rafael Tufic Telio
Solutions Architect at AlfaPeople | + posts