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Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Top Q&A

Nov 16, 2016
  1. How does Dynamics 365 benefit customers?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable your organization to grow, evolve and transform to meet the needs of your customers and capture new opportunities.

Dynamics 365 breaks down the artificial silos of ERP and CRM and will deliver new purpose-built applications in the cloud. These applications work seamlessly together to manage specific business processes across, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Operations, Project Service Automation and Marketing.

Dynamics 365 delivers applications that are:

  • Purpose-built: with applications that fit roles, industries and businesses – so organizations can start with and pay only for what they need and grow at their pace to run their entire business in the cloud. As an example – a customer can adopt Sales for Salesforce Automation, create quotes with standard prices and so on…. But as you grow and add Operations to it, the pricing that will show up when you quote customers will consider tax rules, pricing & discount calculations, and it will automatically impact the inventory and manufacturing forecasts in the Operations App for more accurate and cost effective planning.
  • Productive: enabling greater productivity where people need it by seamlessly integrating with familiar tools like Outlook and Excel, surfacing them in the context of business processes, roles and jobs. For example, 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 applications, stored back to the right app, with right pricing, discounting etc. All without the user having to leave Outlook.
  • Intelligent: delivering built-in Intelligence with business processes that infuses big data, advanced analytics and IoT to proactively guide employees and customers to optimal outcomes. For example, 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.
  • Adaptable: enabling organizations to transform at the speed of business. Business leaders can change and evolve their processes in real-time using a modern consistent, and extensible platform – so they are not being held back by legacy technology. For example, using PowerApps and the common data model you can create custom built apps that can connect your CRM and ERP or even third party data to help you get the right information to do your job.
  1. Why did Microsoft choose the name Dynamics 365 and what does it represent?

Dynamics 365 applications bring together the full power of Microsoft across productivity, advanced analytics, Power BI and IoT, with the strength of Azure and a new application platform and common data model. As such, the new name reflects the significance of the offering and the coming together of the two worlds structured business processes and unstructured personal productivity so our business customers can achieve more.

  1. Is this just a marketing/repackaging exercise or are you offering a new product?

Dynamics 365 is a net new proposition that combines new products, new product capabilities, new packaging, new pricing. Microsoft is taking a new approach to how to develop products and bring them to market.

  1. Do all these Dynamics 365 apps really work together seamlessly?

All of Microsoft’s intelligent business apps will align to the new common data model, and an extensibility model that combines existing customization tools with PowerApps and Flow. At launch Microsoft will have made solid progress towards apps working seamlessly together, and it’s an effort they continue as they redefine business processes to eliminate historical boundaries between CRM and ERP. CIS, IOT and PowerBI all play key roles in how Microsoft helps businesses be more outcome driven as well as give customers the ability to leverage new common data platform to integrate legacy and 3rd party solutions with Dynamics 365.

  1. What is the “Common Data Model” and what role does it play with Dynamics 365?

The common data model is a cloud-resident business database, built on years of experience with enterprise customers. It will come with hundreds of standard business entities spanning both business process (Dynamics 365) and productivity (Office 365). The standardization and consistency of schema enables partners to build innovative applications and to automate business processes spanning the entire business process spectrum with confidence their solutions can be easily deployed and used across Microsoft’s entire customer base.

  1. When and where is Dynamics 365 available?

The Enterprise edition of Dynamics 365 is available worldwide starting November 1, 2016. The Business edition will be made available in the same timeframe in the US and Canada with a phased roll out to additional geographies.

  1. How much does Dynamics 365 cost?

The traditional application based approach reflects old world hierarchical org structures. Software used to be designed and priced for the departments found within these. Microsoft’s Plan based model is designed to support real world roles – which are much more organic – cross functional – business outcome based.

Dynamics 365 also gives customers a new choice in how to license business application users. Customers are now able to license users by “role” via “Plans”. Microsoft’s new role based approach gives customers the flexibility they need to support modern, more agile, more diverse employee roles – enabling them to access functionality across all applications within Dynamics 365.

For light users across an organization we will have a new license called Team Members. This new license delivers high value collaboration and business intelligence tools and self-service business processes across all apps in a simple single offering.

  1. What does the Adobe partnership mean for Dynamics 365?

Adobe and Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic partnership to help businesses transform their customer engagement. Together, the two companies will enable businesses to dramatically strengthen their brands with integrated solutions delivered from Microsoft Azure, including the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365.

By making the Adobe Marketing Cloud its marketing service for Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition, Microsoft will give enterprise customers a powerful, comprehensive marketing solution.

  1. What happens to the Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, SL and CRM brand/ products?

This is the evolution of Microsoft’s business apps. New versions of Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM will come together on November 1, 2016 to create the Enterprise edition of Dynamics The Business edition is based on Project Madeira which is in public preview in North America. In the months following general availability of Dynamics 365, Microsoft plans to rapidly expand the number of countries where Dynamics 365 for Financials is available. Dynamics NAV, GP, SL continue to be enhanced, supported and licensed to new customers.

  1. Does the introduction of Dynamics 365 mean that you will stop investing in GP, NAV, SL?

No. Microsoft recognizes the investment that existing customers have made in Dynamics GP, SL and NAV products and will continue to enhance them so customers can maximize the return on their investments.  If and when customers are ready adopt the cloud – we will ensure that it is easy and cost effective for them to move – by offering them a significant discount on the cost of Dynamics 365.

  1. What is the path to Dynamics 365 for existing online and on-premises customers?

Dynamics 365 is the next release for Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX (‘AX7’) customers. The next update will be a seamless move to Dynamics 365, with a similar process to prior updates.

On-premises customers will have a similar experience. Dynamics CRM on-premises will continue to get new updates, which will bring them to Dynamics 365. AX2009 and AX2012 upgrade paths and timelines are consistent with what was communicated in the roadmap for Dynamics AX that remains in effect for how to get to Dynamics 365.

  1. Will Dynamics 365 be available on-premises?

A subset of Dynamics 365 applications will be available for customers to deploy on-premises. Details on the availability of specific applications will be shared at a later date. Microsoft will also continue to offer, innovate in, and support, the great existing Dynamics AX, NAV, GP and SL as well as the in-market version of Dynamics CRM. Microsoft will also offer customers connectors if they want to use a hybrid of on-premises and cloud solutions and a migration path when they are ready to move to the cloud.

  1. Will Microsoft provide support for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations in on-premises environments?

Yes, Microsoft plans to release support for on-premises deployment of Dynamics 365 for Operations. Local instances can be deployed in your or your partner’s data center to provide business continuity, integration with local systems, and scale for specific business operations. These local instances work in unison with capabilities provided by the Microsoft Cloud, including disaster recovery, analytics, data aggregation, reporting and processing, and configuration and application management. The cloud serves as the single source of the truth by aggregating data across the instances. This scenario provides customers with the best of both worlds: on-premises and cloud.

  1. What is the benefit of running such a deployment?

This approach will help customers scale in highly distributed environments while empowering users with a single view of the business. With local on-premises deployments, customers can capitalize on recent data center investments and help ensure that extreme business continuity requirements are met. It also helps organizations meet their data residency and compliance requirements more easily. The connectivity to the cloud brings the innovation and intelligence of the cloud to on-premises deployments. Customers can benefit from automated deployments and updates, automated disaster recovery, telemetry, and intelligence that the cloud offers.

  1. Which business operations will this on-premises deployment support?

Microsoft starts with these business processes that are most critical to business continuity: 1) store operations, 2) warehouse operations, and 3) shop floor operations. The solution for store operations is planned to be released in November 2016. The solutions for warehousing and shop floor operations are planned for H1 calendar year 2017. The solution to support the remaining operational business processes locally is planned for H2 calendar year 2017.

  1. What options do you offer customers that don’t want to go the cloud?

Existing GP/SL/NAV/AX/CRM customers are under no obligation to make a move to the cloud.  There are many compelling reasons to move to the cloud and, in many cases, a hybrid combination of on-premises and cloud is attractive – but Microsoft supports customers’ individual decisions in their own time. Dynamics 365 is here when you are ready.

  1. What advice do you have for customers that have ongoing projects to integrate CRM and AX?

It’s pretty straight forward. Continue what you’re doing or adjust plans to match the timeline Microsoft is disclosing on product availability.

  1. Does xRM provide the consistent app platform and a common data model?

The technology referred to as xRM is the current application platform technology that support customer engagement workloads. With new Microsoft Common Data Model Microsoft has taken extensive learnings from xRM as well as other application platform technologies from Dynamics applications such as Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV. Based on these learnings Microsoft has developed a new data framework that is natively built on the Azure platform services and provides a rich set of standard business entities for customers.

  1. Is xRM going away?

No, the xRM technology is not going away. Microsoft will continue invest in this technology to support core extensibility scenarios required for customer engagement solution.

  1. What does Dynamics 365 offer for Small and Midsize Businesses?

At launch, Dynamics 365 will include Dynamics 365 Financials for Business, a comprehensive accounting and business management solution for SMBs. That offering is currently in preview in the US and Canada today as Microsoft Project “Madeira.” In the months following general availability of Dynamics 365, Microsoft plans to rapidly expand the number of countries where Dynamics 365 for Financials is available.

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About the author
Danail Andonov
Danail started his professional development in 2008 as a Marketing and Advertising Specialist in an insurance company. In 2011, he joined the team of Intelligent Systems with duties related to management of corporate, product and e-commerce websites, and generation of MQL through a variety of organic and paid channels like Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more. Danail got a Masters Degree in Marketing from University of Leicester, UK. He also holds multiple certificates including ClickMinded SEO Individual Qualification, Google Ads Fundamentals, Google Ads Search Certification, Google Ads Individual Qualification, and more.

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