Microsoft Dynamics 365: Everything you Need to Know
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The Who, What and Why of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft’s first intelligent cloud platform is often referred to as the business solution for the modern workplace. Microsoft Dynamics 365 was designed for scalability and enhanced productivity – leveraging all of Microsoft’s best technology and strongest businesses, like its Azure cloud service and Office 365 subscription software. Since its initial launch in 2016, Dynamics 365 has been leading the charge in digital transformation, collaboration, and intelligence.

While there have been many successes, Dynamics 365 is still a relatively new product to the market, and there is still a lot of conflicting information out there. As a Microsoft partner and global business consulting organization, we have seen firsthand how this valuable cloud ERP platform has created new opportunities for businesses around the world. With our background and expertise, we are going to “clear the Azure clouds” and provide a series of informative posts on Dynamics 365 and what it can do for you. Here we will start by sharing the full story on Dynamics 365 – where it originated, who it was designed for, what is included, and why a business would want to use it.

Where Did Microsoft Dynamics 365 Come From?

Microsoft is well-known for its legacy of productivity applications and powerful business management solutions used and loved throughout the business realm. The Dynamics family includes Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, Dynamics SL and Dynamics CRM, which represent its core enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Each of these solutions were acquired at different points in the past and serve different segments of the market. Dynamics NAV, for example, is one of the most installed mid-market ERP systems in the world. With over 130,000 customers, it is a customizable solution that introduced many capabilities to fit a company’s unique business needs better.

Technology advancements and changing consumer demands have rapidly altered the business management requirements of today’s companies and users. To keep up with this growth, Microsoft has had to evolve its solution architecture and introduce better options for its partners, current users, and prospective customers.

While Microsoft has offered cloud versions of its on-premise Dynamics ERP, CRM, and other business applications for several years, there was never an ERP solution specifically built in the cloud. They did, however, have a world-class cloud service, advanced analytics, ERP and CRM architecture, and a familiar Office 365 platform to work with. Since launching Dynamics 365 as a revolutionary business management solution that ties together ERP, CRM, BI, Office 365, IoT, and AI all-in-one, Microsoft has made huge strides and been able to compete with heavy cloud giants like Salesforce and NetSuite.

As Satya Nadella explained it one of his first articles on reinventing business processes, “Dynamics 365 is going to break down barriers between productivity, collaboration, and business processes.”

Who is Dynamics 365 Designed For?

One of the main concepts behind Dynamics 365 was to end the traditional silos of ERP and CRM by giving users everything they needed to run a business on one platform. Instead of having to open and load several different applications every day, from Excel and Outlook to your ERP application, Microsoft wanted to make life easier for every business user. Ultimately, Dynamics 365 is a unified business management solution that can be built to fit the needs of any business. It can be the right solution for small start-ups, and it can be the right solution for large enterprises.

The reason why Dynamics 365 is so flexible is that it is designed as a series of plug-and-play business applications, where you choose what you use. Business processes across all applications are integrated by a Common Data Model so that you can extend and modify your business processes quickly, without any business disruptions.

To fully service both the small to mid-sized business (SMB) and enterprise market, Dynamics 365 is available in two versions: Business Central and Finance and Operations. Keep reading to find out what version is the best option for you.

What’s Included in Dynamics 365?

The main Dynamics 365 business applications you can choose from fall under these categories: Sales, Service, Finance and Operations, Talent, and Marketing. All Dynamics 365 applications can be used alone or together and include data security, 99.5% up-time SLA, Office 365 and LinkedIn integration, Microsoft’s intelligent technologies, and phone and web support. Apart from those core applications, there is a network of hundreds of add-extensions available in Microsoft AppSource to enhance your system’s functionality.

One of the best parts about Dynamics 365 is that you have options. You can buy each application on its own, or you can purchase a bundled plan that best fits your current needs. Here is a full overview of the pricing for you to review. You can also purchase a specific version for your business, detailed below.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Built for companies that have outgrown their basic accounting software, Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one cloud solution that connects your financials, sales, service, and operations. In terms of financial management, Business Central runs on the same application code as Dynamics NAV, with an Essentials and Premium version available. If you go with Essentials, you can expect the same functionality as the Dynamics NAV 2018 Starter Pack. Dynamics 365 Business Central now runs in parallel with NAV 2018 R2 and is available on-premise as well.

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Compared to Business Central, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is designed for enterprise-level businesses. The Finance and Operations application runs on the same code as Dynamics AX, which is generally suited for more complex business requirements, global financial management, and manufacturing. This is a more robust solution and can easily be customized based on what modules you need for your business.

Why are Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX Users Switching to Dynamics 365?

For most companies, running your business on a cloud application has huge advantages from a cost and efficiency perspective. Existing Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX customers have a great opportunity to upgrade to a new solution with all the same familiarity and functionality while benefiting from lower overhead, automatic upgrades, and faster performance. At the same time, Dynamics 365 is still a customized SaaS solution that you need to know how to use. There are many pros and cons that we will go into further detail in the next post from our Dynamics 365 series.

Before making a move to Dynamics 365, it’s important to find a Microsoft partner with strong product experience and Dynamics 365 implementation background. It might be a new product, but we have helped several Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX clients seamlessly move to Dynamics 365 in the last two years. Read about some of the clients we have worked with here:

Read Our Dynamics 365 Client Success

Are you evaluating Dynamics 365? Find out if Dynamics 365 is the right solution for your business. Set up a meeting or give us a call, we are here to help!  

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