Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, has made it clear that his mission is to transform Microsoft into a pure cloud platform and company. The announcement in July 2016 that the company was releasing Microsoft Dynamics 365 seems to fit perfectly with the company’s move to push its customers into the cloud.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 combines Dynamics CRM and ERP into a single cloud bundle. The new solution includes new apps to help manage various business functions, including marketing, financials, sales, operations, field service, customer service and project service automation. In addition to offering two options — a “business” version for small to medium-sized businesses and an “enterprise” version for larger organizations — customers can purchase just the components that they want or actually need. Furthermore, Microsoft is offering two licensing options for Dynamics 365, by personalized role or by application.
What’s In a Name?
Dynamics 365 seems to be an attempt to piggyback off the success that Microsoft has enjoyed with Office 365 to boost the company’s sales of business applications, which have been lagging. It appears that Microsoft is hoping to make inroads against companies such as Salesforce, Oracle and SAP while simultaneously positioning itself to leverage the Internet of Things.
The name also suggests that Dynamics 365 will be deeply integrated with Office 365. For example, both applications use a common data model to simplify integration and data management. Given the amount of time, money and energy that Microsoft has invested to convince customers to adopt Office 365, it seems logical that they would focus on convincing these same customers to adopt their online CRM and ERP solutions, so why not offer a bundle to make it more enticing?
To provide additional motivation for customers to embrace Dynamics 365, Microsoft has announced that Cortana Intelligence and Power BI are natively embedded. Microsoft knows that companies are placing a great deal of emphasis on improving their predictive analytics. Having Cortana Intelligence and Power BI natively embedded should help businesses with predictive insights and actionable advice.
What Will Dynamics 365 Replace?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is definitely the next generation of intelligent business applications that offers unique capabilities for businesses to get an edge in the sales and marketing efforts. Dynamics 365 is a perfect combination of CRM and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) features that would make switching from one business app to another convenient for the sales division.
Microsoft has stated that the company will continue to support and innovate in Dynamics CRM, NAV, Dynamics AX, SL and GP solutions, but the company has not indicated how long it intends to support these solutions. The company has also stated that Dynamics 365 has been carefully designed for a seamless transition with Dynamics CRM online and Dynamics AX online, which appears to indicate that at least these two solutions will be discontinued.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers many benefits, especially for customers who are already heavily invested in Microsoft solutions. Ease of integration is one benefit that is typically found with Microsoft products, and a large cadre of developers creating apps for the company’s products is another. With Dynamics 365, Microsoft would enable seamless productivity by integrating other products like Outlook and Excel and in 2017, we are expecting more from the company and the product.