little ms 365
06/12/2017

Microsoft Dynamics 365: a deep dive into the most important features

With Dynamics 365, Microsoft has created an end-to-end business solution that combines a powerful ERP and CRM system with field services, HR support, advanced data analytics and machine learning. If that sounds very fancy, it’s because it is: never before has a business solution offered so many possibilities in such an agile and forward-looking way. But how exactly can Dynamics 365 help you attain our business objectives?

In essence, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a collection of applications centered around business processes. These applications target specific business requirements and share the same look and feel. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform provides them with a collective integration layer.

Nine applications

This ‘application’ approach makes it possible to only install – and only pay for – the features and applications you need right now. This is an important asset, as different organizations have different needs and ambitions, and will thus require completely different setups. In this way, Dynamics 365 significantly lowers the threshold of implementing a new business solution: it can simply grow along with your company and your shifting goals.

The nine applications currently available in Dynamics 365 are:

  1. Dynamics 365 for sales: a next-generation CRM solution that allows you to manage your customer and contact base, keep track of customer contact moments, communicate and share relevant content, and gain actionable customer insights based on historical data as well as predictive information.
  2. Dynamics 365 for finance and operations: a fully-fledged ERP system with broad functionalities for sales, production, delivery and invoicing, purchasing, and finance.
  3. Dynamics 365 for customer service: this customer service management solution helps you define service level agreements, prioritize and distribute logged cases and automate their routing within your organization, set up service calendars, and much more.
  4. Dynamics 365 for field service: handle locations, customer assets, preventive maintenance, work orders and resource management, schedule and dispatch your field service workforce, and bill your customers.
  5. Dynamics 365 for project service: manage project-based sales and estimate, quote and contract work, plan and assign resources, enable team collaboration, and track time, expense and progress for accurate billing.
  6. Dynamics 365 for retail: optimize your retail operations and create insightful shopping experiences. Includes a point-of-sale application that connects to your inventory, makes product recommendations and gives insights into your performance.
  7. Dynamics 365 for talent: find, interview and hire the right people and continuously engage with your employees. Manage core HR processes, give day-to-day feedback, monitor performance and track accomplishments and skills.
  8. Dynamics 365 for marketing: brings together your marketing content, data and processes and includes support for campaign management, email marketing and event management.
  9. Dynamics 365 for customer insights: this SaaS application on Azure enables you to bring together all your customer data from different sources, giving you actionable insights into your customer base.

In the cloud, on-premise or in between

With the cloud version of Dynamics 365, you don’t have to worry about infrastructure or hardware: all the performance you need to run the program is covered by your license fee. As a cloud user, you have a say in where your data is saved. Microsoft has data centers in several countries. The hybrid version of Microsoft Dynamics combines on-premise with cloud. In this way, it can guarantee continuity, even when there is no internet connection. This makes it especially handy for retail and warehousing activities.

For enterprises that prefer the more traditional approach, there is also a fully-fledged on-premise version of Dynamics 365. A couple of cloud options and applications, like PowerApps, are not available with this setup, however. Furthermore, the system requirements are quite steep, which means you’ll probably need to invest heavily in infrastructure.

Author: Geert De Win. You can connect with Geert on LinkedIn.