Dynamics365 , Source Microsoft

Microsoft have pre-announced in a blog the arrival of Dynamic 365 this autumn, alongside a platform App store that Microsoft are naming AppSource. Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Cloud + Enterprise wrote the blog and gives a taster of what will be available in the new release.

Dynamics365 is not one app

Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, Microsoft (Image Source Twitter)
Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, Microsoft

It appears that Microsoft will not be launching a single app, with a single user cost, but several. Customers will be able to pick and choose between the different components that suit their business. This is a long overdue merging of the existing CRM and ERP cloud solutions into a single cloud service. The additional modules will include Financials, Field Service, Sales, Operations, Marketing, Project Service Automation and Customer Service. It is slightly odd that financials is listed as a separate module and not part of the core ERP solution though this may be an extended financials element.

There are several things that make this announcement stand out. The first is the integration between Dynamics365 and PowerBI/Cortana. Microsoft are claiming that it isn’t integration but BI embedded within the core ERP solution. This is the natural progression of things and something that other vendors such as Workday have already done. The second is the integration with Office365. This appears to be deeper than that achieved previously.

Business Intelligence that delivers Business benefit

Embedding Power BI and Cortana within the application enables customers to produce predictive insights, prescriptive advice and actionable next steps. This is a step beyond many other solutions if it truly delivers prescriptive analytics. If Microsoft have cracked this then many companies will want to take a look. One beta customer appears to be almost achieving this.

Sandvik Coromant are a field service company operating in the metal cutting industry. Klass Forrstrom is enthused by the new products commenting: “Our decades of knowledge of experience for the metal cutting industry combined with Cortana intelligence I think makes the perfect blend…We are really excited how dynamics365 brings all these systems together.”

What Sandvik Coromant are doing is collecting end data point information about temperature and vibration statistics of cutting equipment on customer sites and sends the data to Cortana. This data is then used to make recommendations about changes to equipment usage or replacement which is then fed directly to the call centre. They then use Dynamics CRM to instantly give the customer the relevant information and recommendations.

The next step is to take this to the prescriptive level. This would mean Cortana feeding information back to the shop floors for the machine to make the adjustments automatically. Allowing Dynamics365 to move from predictive information to prescriptive action would align well with Microsoft’s Internet of Things story. While there is no date for this to happen one suspects that this is not far away.

Forrstrom summarised his feelings about the solution by concluding: “With this solution we able to reinvent the art of manufacturing. Tools, machine and  processes working together. All the way from the customer to the sales interaction, helping us deliver an unprecedented level of field service.”

Office365 integration

Microsoft also announced that Office365 and Dynamics365 will deliver a single data model. If this means that Office365 email contacts are also Dynamics365 contacts by default this will make Dynamics very attractive. Many companies use Outlook as their standard interface and while most ERP solutions integrate with it, few have a completely seamless integration. It should still be possible to create personal contacts within Outlook, if these are just held privately within Dynamics365 this will be a major improvement.

It also appears that API’s will be common across the whole cloud platform. Integrations are not only possible with third party applications but also on-premises solutions. This will help companies with specific on-premises applications to integrate them into the cloud and potentially ease the migration issue when they decide to take that step.

AppSource the new platform

AppSource is the new App store for Dynamics365. It will hold line-of-business applications from third-party vendors and Microsoft. At launch AppSource contains over 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs. The blog detailed three:

  • AFS™ “Retail Execution” – An end-to-end solution for CPG organizations to use as they engage with their customers in the field, covering visit and merchandising, sales, asset management and audit as well as a full suite of BI and analytics.
  • AvePoint “Citizen Services” – Government organizations can automate incident reporting, response and resolution, so employees can solve issues faster and serve citizens better.
  • Veripark “Next Best Action” – Financial institutions can maximize the lifetime value of each customer and deliver a first-class customer-centric experience by making the right offer, at the right time, via the right channel.

Interestingly there is already a LinkedIn application there as well. Sales Navigator enables companies to integrate LinkedIn information with contact records within Dynamics CRM. There is already some interesting functionality. It will be very interesting to see if this upgraded for the Autumn launch. Additional functionality will start to leverage the acquisition for the benefit of Microsoft, and the LinkedIn bottom line.


Microsoft will be hoping that additional partners will join the AppSource platform before Dynamics365 is launched. 200 apps seems a lot for the launch of a platform but without more Dynamics365 will not deliver the functionality some of the other ERP solutions already have. However for companies utilising Office365 this will almost certainly to deserve to be on their short list.

What will be interesting is how many other ISV’s Microsoft can entice onto the platform.  The application is likely to general availability in or around Summit 2016. The initial keynote by Microsoft EVP Scott Guthrie at Summit 2016 will launch Dynamics365. Summit 2016 is being held in Tampa, Florida between October 11 and 14 later this year.


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