Published by Michael Springer, on Wednesday, February 15, 2017
By now, most people understand that Office 365 is a suite of Microsoft applications they already know and use that are available through a cloud subscription and accessible across most popular devices. So what is Dynamics 365?
At its root, Dynamics 365 represents a single cloud environment with a common data set where both Microsoft Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) functionality and Microsoft Customer Relationship Management (CRM) capability co-exist. But Dynamics 365 is so much more than that.
Typically, the most common gap left after most CRM implementations has been the gap that occurs when an opportunity is “won” and when the ”won” order shifts from selling to fulfilling and billing. The data hand-off is often clunky, manual, and often non-existent. In other words, sales managers looking at progress to goals for the period do not see “real” order and fulfilled sales information in the CRM system because it doesn’t reside there.
Dynamics 365 (“D365”) shares a common data model where the availability of data between applications is either direct or near-direct. In other words, Dynamics 365 eliminates the need to delay the CRM-to-ERP integration project because, with D365, it’s already done!
This change in Microsoft’s approach to these previously distinct and often customized types of databases enables a consistent, standardized platform that will be easier to deploy, maintain and customize for unique business solutions and processes. It will also enable seamless integration and processes with other applications in the Microsoft cloud stack, including Office 365 with Outlook, Power BI and Cortana for insights and actionable intelligence.
In addition, the D365 product family has been broken down into functional components, so you only need to license and deal with the parts of the sales, marketing, project service and customer/field service process that your job role deals with directly. For instance, if you’re in sales and just want contact management software, you may not have a need for case management, or if you’re in operations, you typically don’t need CRM marketing or marketing resource management. This results in lower licensing costs for your organization, as well as a role focused, user specific navigation menu out-of-the-box. Users that need access to multiple areas benefit from a significantly reduced “everything” license that gives them the entire suite.
Dynamics 365 is available in two editions: Business for SMBs and Enterprise for large organizations. The Business edition of Dynamics 365 is for organizations with 10-250 employees and includes financials, sales, service, and marketing modules. The Enterprise edition, for deployments with 250 users or more, includes operations, sales, marketing, customer service, project service automation and field service modules. Tiered pricing opportunity by functional application and the new ability to license users by role and team also helps decrease the investment and bumps up the ROI and productivity gains when additional users are added to the system.
D365 environments also include a sandbox environment for enhancement, testing, and upgrade preparation work– as well as rich portal capabilities to foster greater engagement with customers, partners, employees or communities.
The D365 cloud environment is hosted on Azure and provides access to all of the other Office 365 and Dynamics-specific tie-ins for additional functionality, such as PowerBI, Graph, Delve, Cortana Intelligence, and more. Mobile apps are also available out-of-box that extend access to the system, so data can be entered by specific users from most any device, at any time, and anywhere, even offline if connectivity is an issue.
Two new apps, PowerApps and Flow are available to help you customize your Dynamics 365 system. PowerApps offers a no-code platform to build custom mobile apps to extend Dynamics 365 functionality. Flow is a new workflow engine that works across all Dynamics 365 apps and even third party tools. Similar to IFTTT, Flow allows users to create automated workflows and tasks between apps and services to get notifications, collect data, sync files and more! Apps like these show how Dynamics 365 has evolved to enable end-to-end insightful business applications realized simply out of customer’s needs.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that only Microsoft has all of the pieces to deliver an intelligent, unified business cloud, and PSC is happy to be able to help our clients and prospects realize its benefits. For more information about updating your CRM to Dynamics 365, check out our CRM HealthCheck session designed to provide recommendations to help you maximize your CRM investment.
Categories: CRM,Dynamics,Dynamics 365,PSC,PSC Group