Most of us must have heard a lot and read a number of blog posts already about the newest member of the Microsoft Dynamics family, “Dynamics 365“. Those who followed the WPC updates on the web or those attended the event in Toronto this year must already know a lot of details of this by now.
This is the first blog post on my new blog which will be dedicated and tailored for Microsoft Dynamics 365 going forward. In this first post, we will summarize some of the key aspects of Dynamics 365 that you need to know for now.
What is Dynamics 365 :
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of business apps in the cloud from Microsoft. It is intended to bring together the best of Dynamics ERP and Dynamics CRM, cloud offerings into one consolidated cloud service. In other words, it is a new umbrella which will consolidate the Microsoft CRM and ERP cloud applications and provide specific purpose built apps for each of your business areas (Both for SMB and Enterprise Customers) along with the best of Microsoft Productivity apps (Office 365) and Business Intelligence/Analytics, IoT and power of Azure.
In more technical terms, Dynamics 365 aims at providing a new consistent application platform and a common data model with several standard business entities and that partners can leverage to build innovative business process and industry specific solutions using Dynamics 365, office 365, Power BI, Microsoft flow, Power Apps and more. The benefit that customers will get out this is, their users will not have to switch or change between multiple applications and still get everything (Data, Process), all at one place.
Solutions stack in Dynamics 365:
As depicted in the above solution stack diagram, you can clearly see that Dynamics 365 is fully a cloud only solution and is built on the Microsoft Azure stack. Dynamics 365 will provide a new application platform and common data model which will span across other cloud apps like Microsoft PowerApps, Power BI, Microsoft Flow etc., along with Office 365.
Two of the major components in this solution stack are the CRM and Finance/Operations. Dynamics CRM will primarily cater Sales & Marketing, Customer Service aspects. Optionally Field Service as well as Project Service (Professional Service Automation) can also be used by customers.
For the Financials and Operations area, the New Dynamics AX (AX 7) will be the backbone for the Enterprise edition of Dynamics 365 which is targeted for the Enterprise customers. Project Madeira (Code name) will be the backbone for the Business Edition of Dynamics 365, which is targeted for the SMB customers.
Power BI and Cortona Analytics Suite (Which are widely used applications already) will be the business intelligence platform for Dynamics 365.
Finally, there will be third party business applications extensions/add-on solutions by partners for industry specific solutions or functionality enhancements. (For example you can see SBS Group’s Add-on solution in screenshot below). These apps will be available for consumption in an entirely new platform called “App Source”. We will debrief App Source further in the post below.
What versions are available for Dynamics 365:
As of the revealing so far, Dynamics 365 will be available in 2 editions. (This information is subjected to change when Dynamics 365 releases this fall)
The Enterprise edition is targeted for Enterprise customers and will come with full blown Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX will be the ERP for operation. The Business edition is targeted for SMB customers and it will have a future sales and marketing solution (May be a lightweight Dynamics CRM online ?) with Project Madeira for financials.
Licensing options of Dynamics 365:
Even though solid information about this is not yet available, the future licensing model is pretty obvious. Apps, Plans and Team members will be the new building blocks of Dynamics 365 licensing.
Refer the post at the URL below to know more on what Microsoft revealed at WPC 2016 about this.
Introduction to Appsource, A modern way to discover and provision solutions:
App Source is the new “app store” where business customers and prospects can find and buy solutions for any of the Microsoft technologies. This is the platform for Partners to publish their industry specific solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX, Project Madeira, office 365, Power BI etc.
As an example, you can see AXIO For Professional Services, an ERP solution powered by Dynamics AX and is tailored and built for Professional Services firm.
How much is it going to cost you:
Details of pricing are not yet fully available, but customers will have better flexibility for pricing for sure. They will be able to buy in the traditional approach where they can license Dynamics 365 by application (Operations, Sales, Field Service etc.). They will also be to license Dynamics 365 by user role.
You can see some additional details on the blog post at URL below.
Stay tuned for more details.
When will it be publicly available:
Even though there is no solid information on this yet, I guess it may be during the OCT – NOV 2016 time frame. Stay tuned for more updates on this soon.
What it means for existing customers:
For customers who are already using Dynamics CRM online and the New Dynamics AX, Microsoft says it should be a seamless transition. For customers on earlier versions, there will need to be a transition path. I am not very clear on the complete transition path right now, but more details to follow as details emerges.
On Premise Vs Cloud:
Dynamics 365 is a cloud service and will not be available on premise. Microsoft will continue to innovate and support the on premise Dynamics CRM, AX, NAV, SL and GP solutions and may offer connectors if any customers want to use a hybrid of on premise and some of the cloud solutions. You can find more on what the engineering leads have to say about this at the blog post below.