In an exclusive interview, Constellation Research Founder, Ray Wang warns “Digital Darwinism is unkind to those who wait…”, following this, Wang listed the five factors he believes are critical as organisations begin their own digital transformation initiatives; establish your business goals, humanise your digital culture, align your business model before investing in technology, take advantage of data insights and drive co-innovation and creation. Digital transformation is supported with the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition in November 2016.
With the speed of digital transformation accelerating and companies increasingly diverse technology requirements Microsoft’s new business solution Dynamics 365 looks to combine ERP and CRM functionality into one cloud service with new purpose-built applications and built-in insights and intelligence.
This new Microsoft business application platform includes functionality from previous products Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM and Dynamics NAV arranged into two editions – Business edition and Enterprise edition. Let’s look at these editions in more detail, starting with the enterprise edition…
Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition
Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM are both accelerating their market momentum, but with different customers in different markets. In this Enterprise edition (released in UK on 1st November) , cloud based Dynamics AX 7 has been renamed Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and Dynamics CRM Online has been split out into Sales, Marketing and three Service suites – Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation.
Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Packaging
The Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition has two plans available upon its release:
Plan 1 includes apps for the CRM components of Sales, Service, Project Service and Field Service together with Microsoft Flow and Microsoft PowerApps. This will also include a Marketing app that is due to be released in 2017, legacy Dynamics CRM marketing functions including Campaigns and Marketing Lists remain available in the Sales app.
The Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition also includes PowerApps – a mobile-first service used to create device agnostic business apps using a visual designer – and Microsoft Flow – a new workflow management tool that facilitates process automation using a visual design tool.
Plan 2 will include all of the above and brings in Finance and Operations (AX7) – we will look at this app in more detail shortly.
Microsoft also will sell “team-member” versions of both the Business Edition and Enterprise Edition that will be aimed at light-usage customers, individual apps can be licensed on subscription.
Microsoft Social Engagement will be distributed across all apps reflecting Microsoft’s often repeated commitment to put social tools and insights in the hands of all teams.
In the future we can also look forward to the prospect of LinkedIn people-based data coming into the mix.
Microsoft’s new AppSource is also part of the Dynamics 365 evolution. AppSource aims to build a Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM rich ecosystem of third party industry, micro-vertical and niche solutions. More information about Microsoft AppSource can be found here.
Microsoft will begin rolling out the first components of its Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition as of November 1.
Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
According to Pepijn Richter, Director of Product Marketing at Microsoft, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is set to release industry specific capabilities in waves, starting with the retail store in November, followed by shop floor and warehouse in Spring 2017.
Microsoft look to recognise that the customer journey has evolved to include product/service awareness, evaluation of suppliers, buying, post-purchase support, and relationship management. Technology needs to be able to integrate with online content management systems to create an omni-channel ecommerce shopping experience, and to generate interaction between employee and customers via mobile devices. Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations aims to support an end-to-end process, from headquarters, to the supply chain, and mobile workers, with features such as:
- Hybrid transactions allowing shipped and purchased in-store items to be recorded on one transaction
- Inventory look-up in stores in local regions and warehouses
- Record of sales representation, including listing of one or more sales reps per purchase
- Basic and Advanced warehouses with capabilities for large storefronts
- A Windows universal app runs on all devices, such as phones, PCs, tablets, Windows, iOS, and Android
- POS applications can be run on a tablet and created in 10-15 minutes
- Look up products, view images, add products to cart, provide warranty information and view side-by-side comparison of items
- Meaningful and personalised product recommendations
Dynamics 365 Business Edition will be released in 2017 in UK and include Dynamics 365 for Financials functionality (aka Project Madeira). For more information on the differences in functionality, pricing and license plans, please visit our Dynamics 365 website.
Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition and Business Edition are set to generate tremendous opportunities for customers. In his blog Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO states, “In a world of infinite information and computing and finite attention and time, we aim to help everyone get more out of every moment and change the nature of digital work within organisations of all sizes.
We pursue this ambition in service of our customers’ digital transformations. Businesses of all sizes in every country will not just use digital technologies, but become digital companies themselves. Each company is attempting to digitally transform to achieve the same four outcomes – to engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and transform products….” Find out more about how Dynamics 365 can help drive your digital transformation strategy, contact Prodware today.