Dynamics 365

The future of Microsoft Dynamics: What you need to know about Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s new Business Platform as a Service.

Microsoft has brought together its trusted Dynamics cloud solutions into a single suite of solutions under the Dynamics 365 banner, providing a new way for customers to leverage the market leading productivity solution set, with the first parts of the new Azure-hosted 365 suite being rolled out from November 1.

Feedback from early adopters indicates that the best bits of Dynamics 365 are its embedded intelligence, its integration with Office 365, the mobile experience and the ability for users to move easily and intuitively between applications. What people are particularly excited about is the accessibility of the wider platform that Dynamics 365 provides, along with the opportunities for IOT frameworks, rich data analytics and smart analysis of voice, text and imagery – all essential in this always on, ever-evolving world.

In an interview with iStart, James Page, Intergen’s GM Dynamics Solutions, explains the significance of Dynamics 365 to Kiwi organisations as follows: “Combined with the [Microsoft] cloud stack, Dynamics 365 provides the only Business Platform as a Service in the market which is a major departure from the old model of discrete applications that don’t talk to one another.”

The move to integrated, cloud-based business applications is “driven by the ever increasing needs of Kiwi businesses to drive productivity within this complex global economy”. New Zealand’s high adoption rates of Office 365 indicate “market maturity and readiness for online business,” which “bodes well for the adoption of Dynamics 365,” he says.

About Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 is a reboot of Microsoft’s key business applications, pulling together the company’s CRM and ERP tools under a single umbrella.

The suite covers sales, customer service, field service, operations, marketing and service automation. There is also a new Dynamics NAV-based small business software-as-a-service financials module. Microsoft has added a customer insights app that uses the Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI is part of the mix.

Everything in Dynamics 365 is underpinned by a single common data model and is cloud hosted using Azure. It also integrates with Microsoft Office 365. The software is modular; you only need to buy the components you need. The components will all use a modern, more user-oriented pricing and delivery mechanism.

At Intergen’s Dynamics Day 2016, James Page explained that the key to understanding Dynamics 365 is less about technology and more about business strategy and that it gives businesses the tools they need as they look to digital transformation.

“Dynamics 365 is about finding new ways to engage customers. About attracting, retaining and being relevant to customers. It’s about leveraging the new platforms, especially making something out of social media. It’s about empowering employees to be responsive and motivating them to deliver outstanding service. It’s also about optimising your operations so you can respond in a timely manner”, he says.

James Page says Dynamics 365 gives the tools to be agile and the intelligence to recognise emerging market opportunities. He says: "Without the right foundation digital transformation will not happen. Without transformation we lose relevance in today’s instant gratification economy”.

All the software builds on Microsoft’s familiar user interface. If you can use Office — and who doesn’t? — you’ll find it easy to navigate Dynamics 365.

Steven Foster talking about Dynamics 365 during Dynamics Day 2016
Steven Foster talking about Dynamics 365 during Dynamics Day 2016

Easy is the word Intergen's Dynamics CRM solution specialist Steven Foster calls on to describe how the software works in everyday use. In the past business processes were disjointed and data would sit in separate silos. Foster says in the past people would have come to Dynamics Days and seen two separate streams dealing with CRM and ERP; “There were superficial differences between them. They were not necessarily fully integrated, users needed third-party applications to bring the tools together. We would talk about sharing information between systems but at some point you’d need another tool to make that happen”. 

He says Dynamics 365 is a combination of all this, but now under one umbrella. “We now talk about apps. So there’s a sales app, a customer service app and operations. These are all apps that we use at a different point in the business process. Combining all these apps into one Dynamics 365 platform is not the end of it. We want to use all the power of Microsoft’s software in the cloud to release additional capability”, he says.

What will Dynamics 365 mean for your organisation?

I’m an existing Dynamics user – what does upgrading to Dynamics entail?

In the words of Angela Bandlow, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Microsoft Dynamics 365, the upgrade process is easy and flexible and creates minimal impact on your business. She explains:

Processes and policies for updating to Dynamics 365 are no different than they have been in the past. Customers get to choose when they update and we have made the process easier than ever before.  Dynamics 365 is compatible with existing customizations and we have made significant investments that allow our customers to test integrations and processes before their update. 

For Dynamics CRM customers:

  • Dynamics CRM Online customers will seamlessly transition to Dynamics 365 via the Customer Driven Update (CDU) process which starts scheduling in December 2016.  Customers will transition to Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation and Dynamics 365 for Field Service based on their current licenses.
  • Dynamics CRM on-premises customers can move to Dynamics 365 at any time, once the update is available in December 2016. Microsoft will continue to support existing versions of Dynamics CRM according to our support lifecycle policy.

For Dynamics AX customers:

  • Dynamics AX online customers will seamlessly transition to Dynamics 365 for Operations via the December 2016 update. If you’re using an older release, upgrade and migration paths will be available when you’re ready, along with tools to streamline the path to Dynamics 365. Dynamics AX on premise customers will have the option to deploy Dynamics 365 for Operations in their own data centers, while benefiting from the intelligence and flexibility enabled by the cloud, giving them the best of both worlds. Microsoft will continue to support existing versions of Dynamics CRM according to our support lifecycle policy.

Participants in Project “Madeira” preview will seamlessly transition to Dynamics 365 for Financials.

Source: https://community.dynamics.com/b/msftdynamicsblog/archive/2016/11/15/the-path-to-dynamics-365 

I’m new to Microsoft Dynamics – what’s different?

James Page explains, “In a nutshell, it’s now easier than ever to consume Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft has realised that in order for organisations to make the most of their business platform investments they need a whole lot of other elements from across the Microsoft stack. Previously you needed separate licences for each element; now, with Dynamics 365 the mystery is removed from the licensing process. For example, you buy plan one or plan two, or a particular app alongside this and you get what you need all in one.

“Dynamics 365 truly represents a move to the cloud consumption paradigm – whether you need to plug into a service via an API to crunch data, for example, or build out an IOT solution, this can easily be achieved through the Azure platform.

“Essentially, Dynamics 365 will be easier to buy and to connect more seamlessly across all business applications and – ultimately – to consume the capabilities your organisation needs more simply.”

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