What if you could roll your financials, CRM, and all your productivity tools into a single cloud-based solution? Microsoft is making this dream combo into a reality with Dynamics 365, its upcoming platform that unifies all your workflows across financials, operations, CRM and business apps, all in the leading cloud for business, Microsoft Azure.
The basics of Dynamics 365
As of late July 2016, most of the details released about Dynamics 365 had been about its high-level design rather than its underlying technical features. Here are some things we know so far about Dynamics 365:
- Combines financials, CRM, Office 365 and additional applications into one, cloud-based experience on a common data model. Enterprise Edition will include the full Dynamics AX suite for financials, while Business Edition will include an SMB Financial suite currently known as “Project Madeira”
- Embeds and streamlines your business processes across all your applications, seamlessly integrated on a Common Data Model
- Integrates out of the box with Office 365, Power BI and Cortana Intelligence and eventually the professional social network LinkedIn, which Microsoft acquired in 2016 for more than $26 billion
- Uses Azure as its unifying architecture
- Enables simplified development for third-party applications, extensions and custom built apps
- Power users who understand their business challenges the best can quickly build their own custom applications without writing code
- Organizations can purchase and integrate only the Dynamics 365 components they need, based on roles
“Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps organizations move from monolithic application suites to purpose-built, SaaS applications with intelligence built in,” explained Lea Bouma on the official Dynamics blog.
A Microsoft keynote in Tampa, FL, in October 2016 is expected to flesh-out some of the specifics of Dynamics 365. The new platform will also be demoed for the conference attendees in Florida.
Under the hood: What else does Dynamics 365 have in store?
Two questions left unanswered by the details above are:
- How will Dynamics 365 be licensed?
- What underlying technology seamlessly ties these applications together?
Regarding the first question, Microsoft will be segmenting Dynamics 365 into enterprise (Enterprise Edition) and SMB (Business Edition; designed for up to 100 seats) versions. The latter will include financials, sales and marketing modules, while Enterprise Edition will incorporate operations (ERP), sales, marketing, customer service, field service and project service.
CRM Online in Dynamics 365 will be broken down, or de-coupled, into its individual components, and offered à la carte in the Business Edition or altogether in Enterprise Edition. Dynamics 365 may be licensed by individual applications or through a role-based scheme that applies to the entire suite. Microsoft will also be offering plans that group different apps together and provide access to them to any plan member.
One of the important technical components of Dynamics 365 is the newly introduced Common Data Model across these applications. As a database that connects to Microsoft’s apps as well as third-party utilities, the CDM is more or less the heart of Dynamics 365.
A preview of the CDM is coming at some point in late summer 2016. CDM will enable developers and vendors to create apps that span multiple Microsoft systems and integrate with data and intelligence from Microsoft services. An Excel add-in will even allow for editing of its entity data.
What about current Dynamics AX, GP, NAV or SL customers?
Dynamics 365 is a new offering from Microsoft, and will not affect on-premise or hosted Microsoft Dynamics customers (unless you choose to adopt the new platform). Microsoft will continue to offer on-premise versions of Dynamics GP, NAV and SL, with new releases coming before the end of this year.
Expect to hear more about Dynamics 365 in the coming weeks and months. As one of a select few Microsoft Partners in the Early Adopter Partner Program, Turnkey Technologies will be one of the first Microsoft Partners to offer Dynamics 365 once it becomes available.
We can help you understand what Dynamics implementation will best fit your particular requirements and business goals. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact us!
Curious about the productivity benefits of the cloud? Check out the free eBook: