In our previous blog, we outlined a brief history of Microsoft’s evolution – from creating networks and then business productivity applications like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook – to progressing into the accounting and ERP space next, and then finally into CRM applications.
Picking up where we left off, let’s first pick out the key messages from Microsoft’s website for Dynamics 365. These themes have a significant presence across their product line.
“Dynamics 365 – unify your business – from data to people to processes – with modern, intelligent business applications that adapt to your changing needs.”
A few points jump out:
- Integrating all of your business
- Modern business systems
- Systems that adapt to change
Another key point is that the number of accounting or ERP systems has consolidated down to just two. Although they still sell what was Great Plains and Solomon, now Dynamics GP and SL, they are absent from the list of Dynamics 365 products. Navision has morphed into Business Central, while Axapta has become Finance and Operations. In addition, the CRM and Axapta products have become the foundation pieces for a number of other offerings.
Dynamics 365 for Sales
One iteration of Dynamics CRM has Dynamics 365 for Sales, which includes the traditional sales force automation (SFA) but has expanded to better understand customer needs, engage more effectively, and win more deals. It’s not just a list of contacts anymore.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
A second iteration of Dynamics CRM has become Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service. Microsoft positions it as a way to differentiate your brand and drive customer loyalty. Built-in intelligence delivers faster, more personalized service and adds value to every interaction.
Dynamics 365 for Field Service
Another iteration of Dynamics CRM manages field service processes. Built-in intelligence helps you resolve service issues before they occur, reduce operational costs, and deliver positive onsite experiences.
Dynamics 365 for Talent
Dynamics CRM shows up yet again to help your HR department hire, onboard, and retain people.
Finance and Operations
The Axapta product is positioned to help international and more complex organizations make better decisions to accelerate business growth by providing a better ERP system. It is positioned to go from the upper mid-market to compete against SAP and Oracle in the tier one space. In order to compete in that space, Microsoft purchased or developed several industry-specific capabilities. Several of those have become the foundation pieces for the following industry specialty products positioned separately.
Dynamics 365 for Retail
This application tried to unify digital, in-store, and back office operations to provide a retail solution to manage hundreds of locations and thousands of potential sales terminals.
Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation
This derivative of Finance and Operations is designed to provide a more capable solution for delivering profitable projects on time and within budget while increasing employee productivity.
Dynamics 365 for Marketing
The marketing module is more of a service designed to find and nurture more sales-ready leads by moving beyond basic email marketing. Connect sales and marketing, automate processes, and make smarter decisions to maximize your marketing results. It can be expensive and is not directly comparable to the light marketing function found previously in Dynamics CRM.
Dynamics 365 Business Central
Dynamics NAV was the winner of the mid-market accounting and ERP space at Microsoft and, with the advent of a true cloud option, became re-branded as Business Central. Customers can now choose between a SaaS (software as a service), hosted, or on-premise deployment. Basically, if you have outgrown QuickBooks and unless you are going to become a tier one customer, Business Central is what you want now for your core ERP system.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI is an interesting and somewhat unexpected addition to the Dynamics family. Microsoft is actively working to expand AI capabilities in the Dynamics family across the board and this effort is beginning to show results. As an example, the latest Business Central release has the capability to predict payment history when a user selects a customer and recommends a prepayment.
This application is even more out there than Artificial Intelligence. Microsoft is actively working on a way for customers to utilize mixed reality applications in their job. Imagine using virtual reality to visualize a manufacturing process.
You know the Microsoft family has really grown when it takes two blogs just to introduce the history and family members. Our next several blogs will provide even more detail on the various Dynamics products that were built for business.