06 Jul Microsoft Announces Dynamics 365, Its New Approach to Cloud-based Business Apps
Today Microsoft announced Dynamics 365, a new cloud service that will offer the capabilities of Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions in a series of role-based packages with simplified pricing and a unified pricing approach.
The Dynamics 365 model is a new addition to Microsoft’s ERP and CRM product line (not a replacement) and will allow for adding on third party solutions and content packs. Those add-ons will be available to try through another new offering, the Microsoft AppSource app store, which Microsoft also announced today.
The Dynamics 365 approach will be driven primarily by re-packaging and, to an extent, re-architecting, the capabilities of Dynamics CRM, AX, and Project Madeira, said Mike Ehrenberg, Microsoft technical fellow and leader of Dynamics R&D. Purpose-built apps delivered as part of Dynamics 365 will manage specific business functions, including: Finance, Field Service, Sales, Operations, Marketing, Project Service Automation and Customer Service. These capabilities will be based on existing capabilities of Dynamics AX and CRM, as well as Project Madeira.
This alternate approach will require new deployment and data management capabilities, Ehrenberg explained in an interview.
“We understand Dynamics 365 is something that makes a ton of sense for customers but only with product truth behind it,” he said.
Microsoft is planning two basic options for Dynamics 365: “Business” for SMBs and “Enterprise” for larger deployments. For either option, the goal is to provide a solution that is focused on process and functional needs, not on purchasing a software suite, says Microsoft general manager Barb Edson.
“Microsoft is not just unifying but aggregating solutions so customers can purchase just what they need, as a singular business app,” Edson said in an interview. Customers should expect to pay a single role-based price for each seat of Dynamics 365.
Dynamics 365 will behave much like Office 365, she explained, by offering a subscription price that covers all the needs of any particular person’s role, from the core ERP or CRM functions to things like workflow, Power BI, mobility, PowerApps, and other components of the Cortana Intelligence Suite like Azure machine learning, IoT, and big data tools.
Extended Capabilities, New Integration Options
Beyond a new label and new pricing, Dynamics 365 also creates new goals in R&D. For example, Ehrenberg said that when Project Madeira reaches general availability in the fall, it will offer “best in class financials” and will be a “great fit” for SMB customers, including those who currently run GP and NAV, and may in the future look to upgrade to a cloud solution.
Dynamics 365 will also be differentiated as a pure cloud solution thanks to improvements like “near real time” synchronization and replication of data entities from Azure-based cloud services. These improvements will support the unified nature of Dynamics 365 and will improve integration options for third party cloud and on-premise systems, he said.
The service will come with connectors that let you integrate with applications and services from Microsoft and its partners – including custom API’s and on premise systems.
And Microsoft has proposed some sample scenarios that would tie together Dynamics 365 with other Microsoft tools:
Cortana Intelligence will enable cross-sell recommendations to help sales reps predict which products and services a customer will need.
Access to IoT data inside Dynamics 365 for Field Service will enable preemptive action from field service agents by connecting asset monitoring and anomaly detection so they can take action before failures occur avoiding costly customer service issues.
A sales person receives an email, and can respond directly in Office with a quote that is created based on information from both Finance and Sales apps, stored back to the right app, with right pricing, discounting, etc. All without the user having to leave Outlook.