Last night Microsoft Executive Vice President for Cloud and
Enterprise, Scott Guthrie, took the team at M4 Systems (with millions of users and
partners worldwide!) through the much anticipated release of Microsoft Dynamics
365 – he didn’t disappoint!
You can watch a recording of the launch at Summit 2016 here.
Here’s our top takeaways from the ‘First Look’ event and a
heads up on what you can expect from Dynamics 365.
What is Dynamics 365?
Dynamics 365 integrates Microsoft’s existing Dynamics CRM
and ERP products into one service. It
provides end to end business application functionality, delivered as Software
as a Service (SaaS) in the cloud.
Core applications include sales, customer service, field service, operations, financials,
marketing and project service automation.
Why Dynamics 365?
Dynamics 365 has been designed to engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and transform products. Based on the live
demos at Summit 2016 - it will deliver.
In fear of regurgitating Microsoft ‘marketing speak’, you
can learn about the full Dynamics 365 value proposition, including success
stories on how the Microsoft Cloud is revolutionising businesses including
Rolls Royce and Marston’s Brewery on the
Big improvements to
At the heart of 365 lies the best of Microsoft’s existing
Dynamics CRM and ERP functionality.
CRM Online delivers the sales, customer service and some of the marketing
functionality in Dynamics 365. Dynamics AX, the operations and finance app for
Enterprise edition. ‘Project Madeira’
will cater for financials in the Business Edition. (You can read about
licensing further down).
And they’ve improved this functionality again! Dynamics 365 brings huge enhancements to the
core business applications including smart notifications and improvements to
sales and purchasing documents.
Seamless integration across
apps – really?
Until now, customer experience and business processes have
been managed across multiple system silos. Dynamics 365 allows you to integrate
business process workflows into one.
All of Microsoft’s business apps will align to a new common data
model, which eliminates historical boundaries between CRM and ERP.
Dynamics 365 delivers unified navigation and a core user
experience without switching windows, and accessible via a home screen. All of the apps have built-in insights,
predictive intelligence and workflow optimisation, which will be delivered
through simple, easy-to-use, mobile experiences with offline capabilities.
Power BI and
Cortana Intelligence will be natively embedded to help achieve business goals,
pulling data across apps.
PowerApps and Microsoft Flow provides the application extensibility and common
data model, shared with Office 365.
For those reticent
about moving to the cloud …
Dynamics 365 is purpose built for the cloud. The app approach means customers can start
small - and have a big impact – by moving just one process to the cloud first.
It’s not about “rip out and replace”, but moving what you
want, when you want it.
What does 365 mean to
existing Dynamics users?
Microsoft has committed to continue to innovate in, and
support, its Dynamics CRM, AX, NAV, and GP solutions.
They will offer customers connectors if they want to use a hybrid
of on-premises and cloud solutions. A
migration path will be available if/when customers are ready to move to the
When is it available?
The Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition will be released
globally on the 1st November 2016. The Business edition will be released in the
US and Canada at the same time, with additional geographies (including the UK)
being rolled out in spring 2017.
How much will it
Microsoft has not only evolved its product strategy, they’ve
also reinvented their pricing and packaging.
The technology is available in two editions – Enterprise, optimised
for large organisations with over 250 employees, and Business for organisations
with up to 250 staff.
Designed to reduce complexity and
provide choice, Dynamics 365 user subscriptions are per named user. The
subscriptions are available for full users, who need rich interaction with the
apps and data, and light users with light task management needs.
Full licensing and pricing information will
be announced on the 1st November, along with incentives for existing
Dynamics users looking to move to 365 (watch this space).
The bottom line (in
Dynamics 365 is more than marketing exercise, and not just a
re-package. It’s the new kid on the
block, underpinned by proven, trusted technology, that should have the
competition quaking in their boots.