Simplifying MS Dynamics Licensing and Scalability

Microsoft Dynamics 365 as a standalone platform or combined with Sitecore is a powerful tool for contextual marketing and digital transformation. By bringing together AX or NAV, and CRM into a complete enterprise solution, Dynamics unifies the capabilities of CRM and ERP.  Although marketers can clearly see the benefits and possibilities that it holds for digital transformation, licensing and scalability have proven to be somewhat more challenging to grasp. To get a handle on these aspects requires a basic understanding of the broader choices with Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 currently has a business edition for smaller companies of 10-250 employees and an enterprise edition for businesses of 250+ employees. Enterprise Edition offers a larger suite of apps and functions than the business edition and is available in cloud or on-premise configurations. Enterprise is geared to companies with extensive marketing and analytics needs.

The Dynamics 365 Business Edition is designed for SMBs with around 250 employees or less and delivers cloud availability with a focus on businesses looking for a more streamlined solution. Business Edition currently features only the Dynamics 365 for Financial and Operations app and Microsoft PowerApps but will soon reach full plan status with the addition of Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Marketing.

Available Plans

There are two plans available, Enterprise Edition Plan 1 and Enterprise Edition Plan 2. Enterprise Edition Plan 1 provides a production instance, non-production instance, Dynamics 365 Admin Portal and 10 GB of database storage by default with storage increases based on the incremental increase in the number of users. This plan also includes disaster recovery and high availability with monitoring by Microsoft. Non-production instances for developers are available as a tier 1, all-in-one sandbox environment that does not come with default storage.

Plan 2 includes access to Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Plan 1 functionality plus Dynamics 365 for Operations. This plan features access to sales, customer service, field service, service automation and operations. Dynamics 365 for Operations operates on a different tenant from that of the Plan 1 Business Apps. If Plan 2 is purchased, the customer will obtain access to Plan 1 Business Apps and the Dynamics 365 for Operations App. By default, every Operations App contains a production instance, two non-production instances and default storage capacity.

There are currently three plans available for Enterprise Edition:

  • Dynamics 365 Plan that provides user access to every Dynamics 365 app
  • Unified Operations Plan that is primarily an ERP package that includes all apps needed for back-end operational management
  • Customer Engagement Plan that encompasses the CRM side of Dynamics 365

Dynamics Licensing Options

Dynamics offers two different classifications of subscription license (SL) that are classified as User and Device. While User SLs are for named users and managed through the Office 365 Portal, Device SLs are assigned to a specific device and are designed for shared login. That being said, typical Dynamics 365 subscriptions usually are a mix of User and Device SLs.

Once the decisions are made regarding the right edition based on need and which plan fits the business, (CRM, ERP or a combination), the number of users must be determined along with access levels. Both Business and Enterprise Editions feature several options in terms of user licenses: Full User, Team Member, and Operations Activity for users who need to do a limited number of activities beyond the limits of the current Team Member license.

In terms of SL classifications, Full User SLs are for “power users” who require full functionality and feature access to perform transactional tasks with Finance and Operations or Retail applications. Full Users can be licensed on an application basis or as a plan where multiple Dynamics 365 application are bundled together.

Team Member SLs cost less and are geared to users who need to view and analyze data within the app. Their abilities are limited to performing minimal tasks, such as time/expense entry and HR record updates.  While this is primarily an overview of Dynamics 365 licensing and pricing options, Microsoft has clearly laid out the basics of the different choices and what they entail on the Dynamics 365 Pricing Page.

Modular App Licensing and 365 for Marketing Release

While Dynamics 365 was originally available only in Business Edition and Enterprise Edition, Microsoft recently introduced a more streamlined approach to licensing. Sometime in the Spring of 2018, Dynamics 365 customers will have the option to build a customized solution, where they can choose just the apps that meet their needs.

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 for Marketing service recently became available as a public preview with delivery target date of April 2018.  Dynamics 365 for Marketing is Microsoft’s marketing module aimed at small-to-midsize businesses that replaces the Microsoft’s Dynamics Marketing offering.  This new app supports:

  • Multi-channel campaigns (email/social/SMS)
  • Lead management
  • Event management
  • Marketing analytics and integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales.

While Dynamics 365 licensing, scalability and costs (which was not addressed here) have been complex and confusing, Microsoft is making major changes to make it possible for businesses to easily understand options. The move to a more granular a la carte approach to applications will go a long way to making scalability much more organic, intuitive and useful to changing business needs.

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