Door 23 – Dynamics 365 Round Up

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It’s the 23rd December.

So, just today then tomorrow and that’s the Dynamics 365 calendar at an end, which makes us sad because we could go on and on and…well, you get the message. There’s a lot still to say. Meantime, here are the highlights of what we’ve said so far.

  1. The Common Data Model is the hero. Lying at the heart of Dynamics 365, it’s the central database for storing and managing business entities. In the past, CRM and ERP have operated separately. This brings them together and it’s this unification that takes the insight, reporting and productivity to levels that will be hard for your competitors to match.
  1. The Dynamics 365 Business Edition isn’t released yet but we believe financials will sit at the heart of it and it will probably be online only. It’s likely to have a pared back Dynamics CRM and we hear on the grapevine, marketing which will possibly provide something akin to click dimensions. It will likely be cheaper than Salesforce thanks to Microsoft’s size and commitment to make Dynamics 365 available to businesses with less than 250 employees too.
  1. The Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition has ERP at its heart. It’s better for companies of 250+ employees and is available online and on-premise. It beats Salesforce on cost and capabilities despite being a step up in cost from the previous iterations of Dynamics CRM, Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX. You access the Project Service, Customer Service, Field Service, Sales and Operations apps on this edition.
  1. Once you decide on the Business or the Enterprise edition, you license based on individual user requirements. You build the licensing picture with a combination of plans and apps. The 5 apps mentioned above will likely be joined by the addition of Marketing in Summer 2017. The plans are how you decide the type of access a user needs based on light or full access.
  1. Team Member Licensing is the means to give light access to users who need to have visibility but not write/edit access. It’s a cost effective way of maintaining appropriate transparency and collaboration in the organization.
  1. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales has the same core functionality as Dynamics CRM Online has had but with you can also see what is going on elsewhere in the business. As with all the apps, it includes Non-Production License, Social Engagement, Mobile Offline, PowerApps for Sales, Knowledge Management, Voice of the Customer and Team Member capabilities.
  1. Dynamics 365 for Customer Service brings greater collaboration to a customer’s interactions with the whole organization so that staff can better serve them. Service is undoubtedly improved and opportunities become more obvious.
  1. Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation is all about project management and its integration with the rest of the business so that resources can be more easily managed and projects are run more effectively.
  1. Dynamics 365 for Field Service is the tool for engineers, contractors, installers, surveyors et al who are all out on appointments and jobs. New jobs are raised, appointed, resourced and implemented much more efficiently and the single customer view on the database remains entirely up to date throughout.
  1. Dynamics 365 for Marketing. Ah, this is still a little under wraps. We’re excited that Microsoft mentioned it would have Adobe integration at its core. That’s a lot of power. It will drive all your initial awareness work as well as nurturing, conversion, customer relationships and retention.
  1. The Cloud v On-premise debate is slowly moving in favour of cloud. This applies to the functionality of parts of Dynamics 365, as well as the opportunity to benefit from tiered pricing.
  1. The Non-Production License comes with every full user license and lets you test without potentially disrupting your live system.
  1. Microsoft Social Engagement takes the admin out of social channel monitoring. It monitors, alerts, surfaces insight and is searchable too.
  1. The Integrated Self-Service Web Portal ensures your customers can find out what they want to know, when they need to know it. It’s included with every subscription so you can be there for your customers 24/7 without having to staff up.
  1. Voice of the Customer Surveys is your tool for making sure your customers are entirely happy, for showing that it’s important to you that they are, and for better opportunity identification and surfacing.
  1. PowerApps is a useful shortcut to build an app. You’ll still need someone for design and Excel formulas but the tool is strong and helps those people complete their task more quickly.
  1. Microsoft AppSource is a bit like iTunes for Dynamics365, bringing recently built apps, services or modules from other Partners to Dynamics365 users. Sharing knowledge and work already done helps businesses to further develop their Dynamics365 platform cost effectively.
  1. Microsoft Flow (Business Process Flow) links business applications together to make day to day tasks much easier for users. Users can continue to use the tools that they like but still use the Dynamics365 platform and act from within it. It extends out to 72 applications including competitor platforms allowing businesses using other platforms to benefit from the functionality.
  1. Mobile Offline comes with all the apps and does what it says on the tin. If you think of flight mode on a plane, it’s not dissimilar except that the sync between offline and online when connectivity resumes is automatic. You might not even notice it.
  1. PowerBI can read data to root out challenges and opportunities at a very granular level showing, for example, the impact of one decision across a business,
  1. Migration to Dynamics365 has been made as straightforwd and appealing as possible with the product offering, transitional pricing and ensuring Microsoft Partners (like us) are kept informed so that we can apply our skills to the new offerings immediately on release. Thanks to Microsoft’s size, there are discounts and promotions available now that make the migration a no brainer for most
  1. We discussed the importance of mapping out the functionality you need by user. Whether you are an existing CRM user, are just contemplating. Whether you use Dynamics or one of Microsoft’s competitors, now is the time to review so that you don’t get left behind

So, where is this all going to lead in the world of business productivity, CRM and technology? We’ll give you our opinion tomorrow.