The launch of Dynamics 365 by Microsoft in late 2016 drove a lot of excitement, anticipation and even apprehension within the Microsoft Dynamics reseller channel and customer community. Some were quite positive and others less so. One feeling shared by nearly everyone involved was: Confusion.
Some products were going away completely. Others became foundational elements to new offerings. Some didn’t change at all, but their future became suspect. Even Microsoft employees were confused. And I’m not referring to the retail assistant working the Microsoft Surface kiosk at the mall. I spoke with 20-year Microsoft veterans whose current position were focused on Microsoft Dynamics and even they were confused.
And why not? New products. New product groupings. New license models. New deployment models. New reseller programs. New prices. New database architecture. New reporting tools. Man! My first look at pricing included a 70+ slide PowerPoint deck that was wall to wall content. I attended multiple online meetings where things were explained (those that could be explained…many kinks still needed to be worked out and some decisions weren’t finalized).
Eventually, and with the help of the team at SBS Group, I sorted things out. The new product groupings, naming and license models started to make sense to me. I found myself wondering why they hadn’t done this sooner. Today, most of us who make our living in the Microsoft Dynamics Ecosystem have made friends with Dynamics 365 and the potential it provides our customers. Apprehension has been replaced by enthusiasm and eagerness to innovate.
Did we forget about you?
After I figured out Dynamics 365, I started to assume that everyone had. My introductions to the offering became more succinct and my focus centered around the big ideas, like: Common Data Services, PowerBI and the almighty Cloud. These are important, but often it is in answering the most simple questions that provides the best foundation for learning.
Below are a few questions I hear again and again:
What is the difference between Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365 Financials?
Dynamics 365 has two editions, Enterprise and Business editions. The Enterprise edition is optimized for 250+ employees and includes the capabilities of Dynamics CRM Online and Dynamics AX products that existed in market pre Q4CY16. The Business edition is optimized for 10-250 employees and includes Dynamics 365 for Financials. Business edition and is not inclusive of Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV or Dynamics SL.
What is the difference between Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1 and Plan 2?
Enterprise Edition Plan 1 gives you the flexibility to work with any app functionality. Plan 1 includes flexibility to use Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Field Service, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation, and full PowerApps P2. Licensing becomes simpler because all Plan 1 business application rights are included.
Enterprise Edition Plan 2 Plan 2 includes access to Plan 1 functionality plus Dynamics 365 for Operations.
Why would I need Plan 2?
Plan 2 adds Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations to the Enterprise edition of Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 for Operations provides cloud-based ERP designed to help your entire enterprise work smarter with connected systems—including financials, demand planning, supply chain management, project management, project accounting, human resource management, retail, and much more.
Where did CRM go?
CRM is alive and well, but is packaged differently since the release of Dynamics 365 Enterprise and Business Editions. Dynamics 365 delivers the full spectrum of CRM through five individual apps— Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, and Marketing —that work seamlessly together. So you can implement just what your business needs now, and add others as those needs grow.
In fact, if you are a current Dynamics CRM Online customer you’ll find that converting to Dynamics 365 will require considerable thought. There is no direct relationship between the previous structure and the new structure. Instead of levels (essential, basic and professional), you’re now providing access to users based on their job function. In the end, it is a better fit all around but reaching out to your partner or Indirect CSP for help will make life much easier.
If Office 365 is part of Dynamics 365, do I get a discount if I already use Office 365?
No. They are meant to work together, but there are many options for subscribing to Office 365 so these are separate decisions. Office 365 is a collection of online services designed to work together to provide enterprise-grade, anywhere access to email, file sharing, and online meetings. Office 365 includes features that allow administrators to add users, manage passwords and licenses, and much more. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) takes advantage of the Office 365 administration features to simplify user management. Dynamics 365 (online) users are created and managed in the Office 365 admin center.
A Dynamics 365 (online) subscription doesn’t include Office 365 applications such as Exchange Online or SharePoint Online. You can significantly enhance your company’s online, collaborative experience by integrating Office 365 applications with your Dynamics 365 (online) subscription. However, that requires a separate purchase.
Is Dynamics AX still for sale?
Microsoft has recently extended the mainstream support date of AX 2012 R3 to October 2021. This is perfect for companies who have recently implemented AX 2012 R3 and those requiring more time to migrate to AX7 and Microsoft Azure.
Dynamics 365 for Operations will be available to purchase on-premise starting in June 2017 and a preview will begin in April. The special caveat to remaining on premise is as follows: The on-premise data will not benefit from Microsoft’s intelligence capabilities of embedded analytics, machine learning, or other capabilities available to cloud subscribers.
Why are there Dynamics 365 PSA and Dynamics 365 Operations PSA solutions.
We get this question often and have written a blog post just on this topic. Check it out here “When is Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation (PSA) the right fit?”
In a nutshell, it just depends on your business model and the complexity of your project management and project accounting needs. Companies with more complex project accounting or regulatory requirements are almost always going to opt for project management built around ERP (Dynamics 365 for Operations). When project management is less complex, but bid management and early cycle scoping are more important, then the Dynamics 365 PSA solution may be a better fit.
What is Microsoft AppSource?
Microsoft AppSource is the equivalent to whatever app library is available on your phone. When you are looking to add functionality to your mobile device, you click on the Microsoft “Store”, Apple “App Store” or Android’s “Google Play”. You search, learn, try and ultimate purchase or subscribe online. AppSource is similar, but for users of Microsoft’s B2B solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365.
“Microsoft AppSource provides a modern discovery and provisioning system for these solutions. For customers, Microsoft AppSource is your destination to easily find and evaluate the apps from Microsoft and our partners that drive your business. For ISVs, Microsoft AppSource is your destination to market line-of-business (LoB) SaaS apps to business users. Drive discoverability and usage of your apps within an existing global network of business customers through co-marketing opportunities, lead generation and the support of Microsoft’s worldwide ecosystem and sales force. Harness Azure’s leading, secure and intelligent cloud services platform and tools to deliver differentiated apps to customers.”
More Dynamics 365 Questions – Send’em my way!
Obviously, there is no way to answer everyone’s questions in a single blog post…but I would love to give it a shot. If you have questions about Dynamics 365 or would like to explore new ideas, please feel free to reply to this post. If I can’t answer your question, you can bet that someone on our team can.
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions. From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and products helps SBS Group customers maximize ROI on technology investments.
Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Chief Solution Strategist where he provides thought leadership and manages the development of B2B solutions. Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.