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Microsoft Dynamics® 365 Explanation

Microsoft Dynamics® 365 Explanation

Microsoft Announce Dynamics® 365 at WPC

The World Partner Conference (WPC) is Microsoft’s big event that they hold every year which is aimed at partners from around the world. This year it was held in Toronto and there was a big emphasis on productivity for customers driven by partners. With any large corporation these sorts of events are always full of hype with larger than life American directors excitedly announcing all of the latest and greatest. But in the last couple of years Microsoft’s events have been filled with sincere excitement over the new technologies – not just some interesting new disparate products, but a broad spectrum of integrated tools with one aim – helping businesses get better.

For those of you who follow our blog, or the news in general, you will have seen that Microsoft have released Project Madeira, a new platform that looks a little bit like a simplified mix of Office 365 and the basic modules of Microsoft Dynamics® NAV. Although this is something that is an exciting prospect, one of the big issues that people have had in general is understanding the difference between all of the Dynamics Products. That is why we have written this blog, to help clarify some of the key points and to help users and potential users know what they are looking for. Some of these clarifications are based on our business being mostly based in the UK and Europe – it will be slightly different depending on where you are based.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an online only business software solution. This will be made up of two offerings:

Dynamics 365 Business Edition – this is Project Madeira (essentially Dynamics NAV and Office 365 fully integrated), aimed at the small business who need a limited and off the shelf solution.

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition – this is something new based on Dynamics AX, CRM online and Office 365, again fully integrated.

A new product

Dynamics 365 is not a replacement for the existing Dynamics Products, in fact Microsoft have made it quite clear that Dynamics NAV etc will continue to be developed, and we suspect a lot of the new tools and functionality will be available across packages. There is a general feeling in the marketplace that Dynamics 365 will provide the stepping stone in the marketplace for the much smaller businesses who aren’t ready for full scale implementations of ERP software. Depending on how the companies and the products progress, businesses on the new platform will likely either grow with it, or migrate on to a package such as Dynamics NAV. This will become clearer over the coming years, but the point to take away for existing users of Microsoft Dynamics NAV is that they will remain largely unaffected by the new products. In fact, Microsoft are pushing partners to continue to develop new solutions based on the existing Dynamics products.

The Platform

As with Office 365, the solution is being pushed on Azure cloud hosting and is only available as a cloud platform product, with subscription licencing models to suit. For those of you who are more technically minded, Microsoft are producing a Common Data Model, so that Dynamics products and associated apps are all build on the same platform, making it easier for developers to provide solutions and for end users to migrate.

What’s Included?

Microsoft’s recent releases are mostly based around the project madeira offering, which provides a Financial package with some basic business management tools, such as quoting and basic inventory. This will be followed by CRM capability at some point in 2017.

The Dynamics Range Explained

So if you are looking at Microsoft Dynamics how do you know which one to go for? Here is a guide to the products for companies in the UK and Europe:

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition (Coming soon) – small companies who are just starting with business management and finance tools
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV – A full Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software suitable for most businesses in the SMB market. For those customers who want the option to be able to develop their solutions to suit their processes but still have a limited budget, or want the security of a perpetual licence instead of subscription, then a pre-packaged version of Dynamics NAV might be the right option such as our Fast Financials solution.
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX – ERP aimed at large Global Enterprises.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Class leading CRM package which can be used by any sized business..

We have not put Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition on this list yet! Microsoft have as yet been unclear whereabouts this sits, however as it’s based on AX and CRM it is likely to be either above or below AX. By the way Microsoft are marketing this, it is likely that they are going to be offering this either as an upgrade route from Dynamics 365 Business, or as an entry level product for the AX market.

Microsoft AppSource – A different set of apps

Microsoft have always been keen to push development of repeatable solutions. Traditionally this has come from the “add-on” market place, where partners and ISVs would build tools that worked within the Dynamics products. Partners sell through each other to provide more rounded solutions for customers, with obvious cost and availability disadvantages – getting the products out there has always been difficult.

To help with this Microsoft are changing the way apps work, making them more useful extensions rather than integrated modifications to the system. In this way the products will be available through a marketplace. But Microsoft already have three marketplaces:

Office Store - Extensions to Office

Azure Marketplace - Services for building apps on Azure. IT solutions templates for Azure -

Windows Store - Windows 10 apps and games

As you can see, business apps for Dynamics does not really fit here! So they have now released the new AppSource, which is aimed at business specific applications for the following products:

  • Dynamics AX
  • Dynamics CRM
  • Dynamics NAV
  • Project Madeira
  • Power BI
  • Office 365
  • Azure

This should make it easier to find specific solutions for specific platforms, which will bring a much better user experience. The traditional add-on model will still exist, however this is likely to be the preferred option for Microsoft. Its worth noting that both methods require high levels of approvals before they can go to market.

All of the latest in Microsoft Business Software

We hold a very popular event in our Southampton office which attracts business owners and department managers who are looking to find out all of the latest in software solutions. We will be discussing the latest releases from Microsoft, such as the next version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV – NAV 2017 – and Dynamics 365. As a proactive business in the community, we will be supported by Microsoft staff as well as by businesses who have fully adopted an integrated Microsoft approach to their business. If you are interested, please register at the link below:

Business Software Showcase 2016 >

Jesse Lawrence

Jesse is our marketing manager, keeping an eye on the latest news in the market as well as having worked on the GDPR legislation. 

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