The growing trend toward a customer-centric operational strategy is causing a massive disruption to the way traditional business management solutions are offered with Microsoft Dynamics 365 leading the way.
Microsoft Dynamics 365, the first new enterprise resource planning or ERP offering from the tech giant in over a decade, is a combination of ERP and CRM (customer relationship management) tools. Blurring the lines between accounting departments and sales reps, the new offering aims to increase productivity, visibility, efficiency, and therefore, profitability, by tearing down the artificial information silos fortified by disparate, so-called legacy solutions.
Microsoft began offering ERP in the early 2000’s with their original CRM solution debuting in January 2003. Today there are many other players in the field namely Salesforce and Sugar on the CRM side with Oracle, SAP, Intaact and NetSuite on the ERP side. At one time, Microsoft’s ERP offerings were thought to be out of date; however, with the release of Dynamics 365, Microsoft has now pulled ahead as the industry leader.
The main difference between Dynamics 365 and these legacy offerings is in the packaging. Think of Dynamics 365 as an operating system with a series of modules, or apps, to address each business need.
The app offerings include Operations (aka Dynamics AX), Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Marketing and Financials. Businesses can pick and choose which apps they need based on company size and employee role. “Plans” are available that bundle these apps for users who work across the various apps to save money and “team member” licenses for read access only are available at the very low price of $8 per month. This “Team Member” license structure contributes to Microsoft’s overall goal of facilitating a culture of collaboration in conjunction with other familiar productivity tools like Outlook, Word and Excel. Tight integration with these tools and other Office 365 offerings provides employees a level of access to information across entire companies that is designed to empower communication and collaboration across departments for better, more-informed decision making.
Microsoft’s goal with Dynamics 365 is to provide an extensible platform, built on the common data model, that will meet the needs of every company while allowing for the purchase and integration of apps that address unique business needs for every industry. So app focused is this new offering, there is a component of D365, as it is commonly referred, called Power Apps that allows less-than technical folk to design and configure custom-built apps for their solution without the need to write code. These custom apps as well as the diverse array of offerings from Microsoft certified Integrated Solution Vendors (ISV’s) are available on AppSource.
AppSource, perhaps the most revolutionary effect of the Dynamics 365 disruption, is an attempt to consolidate the over two-dozen marketplaces Microsoft is currently operating. By providing a new centralized location for ISV offerings, companies can shop for various functionality integrations like Marketing Automation, Property Management or Mobile Payment solutions and get a free trial instantly. AppSource is accessible from within the D365 platform allowing companies to try out many solutions before purchase.
The Customer Connection
Will Dynamics 365 drive a better customer experience?
Employing Power BI and Cortana Intelligence to analyze data from this single source of information, Dynamics 365 allows companies to have deep insight and rich data on their customers. Dynamics 365 data can show a customer’s purchase history, customer service requests and track their spending habits. Power BI allows that information to be cross-referenced with inventory, design departments or service offerings for improved insight and forecasting. Companies can trust that they have real-time access to accurate, robust data from every department sitting in a single system. With a variety of beautiful charts, graphs, reports and custom dashboards, end users now have the visibility they need to make the best choices for their customer.
Companies interested in purchasing Dynamics 365 may only do so through a certified Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, such as Admiral Consulting Group. To request a free trial of the solution, complete this form and an Admiral executive will provide you with a trial instance and complimentary consultation.