Dynamics 365: The next evolution of Dynamics CRM

When people think about Dynamics CRM, they naturally think about the out-of-the-box features: sales, service and marketing. It hasn’t necessarily come across as a powerful app development platform – the inclusion of CRM in the title hasn’t helped. With all of the recent add-ons and changes, it came as little surprise when Microsoft recently announced it was combining the CRM and ERP products into Dynamics 365. But is this really just a name change?

Illustration of the connection between accounts in the hands of a business person.

Why Dynamics 365 is NOT just a name change

In recent years, I’m sure you’ll have been confused by bolt-on applications like FieldOne, Social Engagement, Parature, ADX, and others. You’ll have been forgiven for asking where and when will they fully integrate?

Thankfully, Microsoft is moving away from the monolithic business system and towards the interconnected ecosystem. This will help organisations to create applications that revolve around the business, so it’s easier to communicate with each other about the things that matter.

Satya Nadella’s recent blog post about Dynamics 365 makes this clear, stating that “digital transformation won’t happen with another bolted-on cloud app or a giant implementation of monolithic and closed business application packages… [it] requires systems of intelligence that are tailored to each industry, each company […] Systems that can learn, expand and evolve with agility as the world and business changes.”

Pretty words – but is this just “vapourware” or is there a framework you can get your teeth into?

Microsoft says that the Dynamics 365 platform will include purpose-built apps for financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project service automation and customer service. This approach elevates the current add-on applications (like field service) to the same level as the traditional built-in Dynamics CRM areas (sales, marketing and customer service).

Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed how this will all be presented to the user. However, I suspect this will be a modular approach where you can start with nothing at all – a Dynamics “shell”. You will then have the choice to either pick from any of the Microsoft applications for the business areas described above, add your own, or add third-party applications developed specifically for Dynamics 365.

Diagram showing the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem.

However, it’s more than a bunch of applications making use of a security framework. Microsoft has said, for example, that:

  • Power BI and Cortana will be embedded in order to (for example) give cross-sell recommendations
  • “Deep integration between Dynamics 365 and Office 365 will connect the structured workflow of business apps with the unstructured work of collaboration and productivity. 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 apps, stored back to the right app, with right pricing, discounting, etc. All without the user having to leave Outlook.”

Final thoughts

Details and demos are still under wraps at Microsoft, with more news expected this autumn. At OCG, we’re in the perfect position to take full advantage of any new developments.

These changes are very much in line with OCG’s existing vision and proposition. Watch our xRM webinar and discover how you can improve the relationship between people and services, or read our white paper to find out how Dynamics CRM can deliver faster, more effective complaints handling.