Dynamics 365 Questions, Answers, and More Questions

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  Apprehension has been replaced by enthusiasm and eagerness to innovate.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.

Licensing for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Plan 1

Enterprise Edition Plan 2 Plan 2 includes access to Plan 1 functionality plus Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Plan 2 Overview

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.

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
Chief Solution Strategist, SBS Group

About Robbie
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.  Robbie

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.

Listening In: Ted Kempf and Robbie Morrison discuss Dynamics 365 for Professional Services Firms (32min;12/2016)

It’s time to listen.

A quick google search will turn up websites, brochures, infographics and blogs galore on Dynamics 365.  There is certainly no shortage of digital content on Microsoft’s newest cloud solution for business, but nothing beats a conversation between serious professionals.  If you want to truly understand the value Dynamics 365 can bring to your firm, then listen in on this podcast with Ted Kempf (Director of Service Industries at Microsoft) and Robbie Morrison (VP Enterprise Solutions at SBS Group).


About the speakers:

Ted Kemp, Director Professional Services Industry Solutions for MicrosoftOur expert panel will include Ted Kempf, Director of Service Industries at Microsoft.  Prior to joining Microsoft, Ted held senior Industry leadership positions with Deltek, Oracle and Peoplesoft. He also spent 5 years as principal analyst for Gartner.

The panrobbie-morrison-sbs-group-dynamics-365el also includes Robbie Morrison, Vice president of Enterprise Solutions for SBS Group.  Robbie is a well-recognized leader in the Microsoft community, having both owned and held leadership positions with some of the most successful Dynamics consultancies in the US market.

How do I know if I’m in a Professional Services Firm?

The professional services sector is typically defined as firms that provide accounting, advertising and marketing, architectural, consulting, engineering, IT, legal, and scientific research services.  There are others, but the common denominator is projects and billable services.  Our company provides both projects and support services to companies interested in implementing Microsoft technology so we would be considered a professional services firm ourselves.  Check out a list of industries we service here.

Having a regular flow of projects and delivering them efficiently almost always makes or breaks a professional services firm of any size. Large firms struggle less with resource balancing and are often able to offer wider ranges of services to meet the needs of major clients. Smaller and mid-market firms typically compete by offering unique expertise or focusing in specific regions. The US industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest firms account for less than 20% of revenue.

IT services generate about 20% of the total revenue in the professional services sector, followed by architectural and engineering services, legal services and consulting services that make up around 15% each.  Accounting services,  scientific research and specialized design account for another 25%.

Law firms, banking, insurance and a variety of other companies may provide services to businesses, but are less tethered to projects.  Special needs in these segments often require different technologies and process models.

Topics Covered in this Dynamics 365 Podcast:

In just 30 minutes, Robbie and Ted cover a wide range of topics as they explore the business value of Dynamics 365 for Operations when implemented with SBS AXIO for Professional Services. They discuss their own experiences with these solutions in 2016 and share customer stories that provide “in the trenches” perspective you just can’t get in a brochure.

  • How is Dynamics 365 for Operations performing in the Professional Services sector?
  • How are customers responding to PowerApps, Flow, PowerBI, Azure IoT and Cortana Intelligence?
  • What is the CDM (common data model) being discussed with regards to Dynamics 365?
  • How do these solutions help firms better manage contracts? Recurring revenue management? Subscription billing? Project Accounting?
  • How does it work for sales, service, project management, operations and marketing?
  • How quickly can a solution be implemented?
  • What is “AppSource” and how is that a benefit to customers?
  • Do these solutions offer advantages in mobility? Are they secure?
  • How is Dynamics 365 performing against competitors like NetSuite or SalesForce.com?
  • What advice can you offer to Professional Services companies reviewing new ERP, CRM or other productivity solutions?


Click below to listen in on the Podcast with Ted and Robbie


More on Dynamics 365 for Professional Services firms?

This is the first of several posts that will be published in 2017 to help potential buyers understand the potential benefits of a Dynamics 365 solution.  We’ll bring you podcasts from Microsoft employees, partners and customers and you can listen in on those that are closest to home for you.

If you are part of the Microsoft ecosystem and would be interested in participating in our series, please reach out to Robbie Morrison directly or use the contact form on this site to contact our marketing team.

Microsoft Shuffles Dynamics Events – Where Should Dynamics Users Go?

Almost every month now, it seems like Microsoft has another major announcement or change for their business solution customers. The latest announcement has to do with Microsoft’s calendar of events like Convergence, Envision and Ignite. In a blog post written by Chris Capossela, EVP & CMO of Microsoft, on December 7th, Microsoft announced that there will be three significant changes:

  • First, we are bringing our annual Microsoft Build conference to Seattle — the “cloud city” — from May 10-12, 2017. Once again, developers can hear from Microsoft engineering leaders and learn about the latest tools and technologies to boost creativity and productivity. Look for information about Microsoft Build 2017 at http://build.microsoft.com.
  • Next, we are renaming the Worldwide Partner Conference to Microsoft Inspire, which will be held July 9-13 in Washington, D.C. This new name reflects how Microsoft and our partner community inspire each other to innovate and deliver powerful new solutions to customers. Registration for Microsoft Inspire is now open — learn more at https://inspire.microsoft.com/.
  • And finally, we are shifting Microsoft Envision, our event for business leaders previously planned for February, to become part of Microsoft Ignite Sept. 25-29. The partnership between business and IT leaders has never been more important, so Microsoft Ignite will now cater to both audiences and help foster collaboration between the two. We’ll have more details to share in the coming months.Read more at http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/12/07/microsoft-2017-event-line/#lYcTbjPrSGRBeSg9.99

These changes are quite significant when you factor in that Envision was brand new and was held for the first time in April 2016. Additionally, Envision replaced a beloved event, Convergence, which Dynamics Partners and users are still upset about losing.

microsoft dynamics events

(Photo: LinkedIn)

The Evolution of Attending Dynamics Events

When these events started, especially events tailored towards users and Dynamics partners, the goal was to “do business”. This was before the times of online marketing, so these events were a major part of each stakeholder’s schedule. It was an opportunity for users to learn about new technologies all in one central location – and purchase whatever solutions they decided to implement.

As time wore on, online marketing, websites and social media decreased the mileage between new technology solutions and users’ fingertips. Users no longer needed to attend an event to learn about a new solution. As such, these Dynamics events became more like networking opportunities where users could meet with their Dynamics partner and Microsoft technology leaders to discuss processes and trends. Partners adjusted by attending these events mostly for brand recognition and validation as well as getting in front of their customers and potential prospects.

Now, these events seem like they change almost every year as Microsoft tries to find the right balance and mix of events which target all their stakeholders. This leaves users and partners searching for answers on where to turn to for technology insight and Dynamics developments.

microsoft dynamics events

Where Do These Changes Leave Dynamics Users?

It has been a wild ride for Microsoft Dynamics users this year. First, there was the announcement of Envision replacing Convergence. Then there was the announcement of Project Madeira which then became Microsoft Dynamics 365. Finally, there was the wait to find out exactly what Dynamics 365 was going to be.

With all these changes, Microsoft must have seen this as an opportunity to tinker with and formalize their event schedule for 2017. However, where does this leave users? Where can they turn to learn more about the latest Dynamics happenings and trainings?

Well, there are a few places for them to go.

SBS Group Blog

Users can follow the SBS Group Blog – The Blog Spot (shameless plug…) for the latest Dynamics news. Our array of bloggers cover everything from Dynamics 365 to Dynamics CRM, GP, SL and NAV as well as other Microsoft happenings.

Microsoft Ignite

It sounds like Microsoft Ignite will become the place for businesses to get their Dynamics news and training. This is a conference that is held in September and used to be primarily for IT professionals. By combining Envision (for businesses/users) and Ignite, Microsoft signals that there is an ever-closing gap between the two and that in this new age technology world coordination between the two is vital.

Dynamics User Group Summit

My sneaky suspicion is that the Dynamics Communities User Group Summit will become the go-to event for Microsoft Dynamics users and business leaders. This year Microsoft had a major presence at the normally “independent” event by unveiling Microsoft Dynamics 365 in incredible fashion. My thought is that Microsoft will have a major thumbprint on these events in the future. The User Group Summit allows Microsoft to release information and maintain contact with users without having to put on the event themselves. This set up allocates less of their resources and frees them up to focus on their larger events for business leaders and IT developers – which in turn creates better products and services for their users!

How to Install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 for Office Outlook Add-in

In this blog, Talina Galloway, SBS Group’s CRM team lead, outlines how to uninstall your old version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Office Outlook, and install the latest 2016 version.

Step One: Uninstall the old Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Office Outlook add-in

Applies to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Microsoft Office Outlook, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Office Outlook & Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 for Microsoft Office Outlook

Go to the Control Panel and select Uninstall a program.

Windows 10

Open the Control Panel by pressing  & X and selecting it from the list.

 photo CRM 2016 Outlook 01_zpskisj1bx2.png

Windows 8

Open the Control Panel by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Control Panel in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Control Panel.

Windows 7

Open the Control Panel by clicking the Start Button. Click Control Panel on the right-hand side of the window that appears.

From the list, select Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Microsoft Office outlook and/or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Microsoft Office outlook and click Uninstall on the list.

Wait until the uninstall has completed.

Step Two: Download the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 for Microsoft Outlook application

First, verify what version of Microsoft Outlook you have installed.

Outlook 2013 and newer

Click File in Outlook, then select Office Account, and finally click About Outlook under Product Information.

Outlook 2010

Select Help

Once you arrive at the appropriate page based on your version of Outlook, look for 64-bit or 32-bit included with the outlook version information near the top of the About Microsoft Outlook dialog (2013 or newer) or under About Microsoft Outlook (2010).


Once you have verified which version of Outlook you are using, go to the Microsoft Download Center and download the appropriate version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 for Microsoft Office Outlook installer.


Click the Download Button next to Select Language.

Once you have clicked download, the following 2 choices will be available. Click the Checkbox that matches the version of Outlook you are using and the Next Button in the lower right of the screen.

Important Note: The version of your operating system has no bearing on this selection. Even if your Windows is 64-bit, if your Outlook is only 32-bit, select the 32-bit version of the software to download.

Step Three: Install your Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 for Microsoft Office Outlook software

Go to the location you saved the download file. Double-click the file.

Follow the onscreen instructions.

Step Four: Configure your organization

When asked to configure your organization, select CRM Online.

If you have an on-premises installation, enter the URL where you log into the Web client.

Enter your User Name and Password.

Wait until the installation finishes. Easy!

Should you install Microsoft Outlook Customer Manager for Office 365?

Ok, “Install” may be the wrong choice of words.  If you haven’t heard already, Microsoft introduced Outlook Customer Manager last week and will be rolling it out for free to anyone with an Office 365 Business Premium account.  “Install” would imply more effort than required.  In fact, it will just appear as an icon on the home tab in Outlook 2016 soon.  Nothing needs to be installed for it to work. Having it and opting to leverage it, are two different things.


Although the features are quite improved, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has offered smaller footprint CRM functionality for Outlook.  In fact, it wasn’t until the release of Outlook 2016 that it went away.  Microsoft Business Contact Manager was available to the one-man shop and companies with only a few employees for years, and they were not happy to see it excluded in the latest release of Office 365.  Below are just a few comments I plucked from the forums on https://office365.uservoice.com. There were literally hundreds of similar posts from users asking for more advanced contact management functionality in Office 2016.

“I have used BCM for years and have well over 2000 contacts registered. Bought a new computer with Office 2016 and found out BCM is no longer compatible. It’s simply not acceptable that Microsoft first promotes BCM and then gives it up. What about all customers using BCM, what are we supposed to do!?.”-  August 26th, 2016

“I run a Private Equity Firm and have used BCM. For my business the structure, while limited in that I couldn’t consolidate the rest of my teams emails, otherwise worked great. But suddenly, it stopped working. We have been trying to use CRM, but that has been a dismal failure for my type of business. While CRM can incorporate the rest of our team, it doesn’t look or act like BCM, which is what we need. There seems to be a real disconnect between MS and the business community. What is the status of BCM going forward?” – August 21st, 2016

“I run a financial services practice in Canada 5 advisors and 6 support staff, with our study group we are at 25 advisors. BCM has served us well for a contact management system we have looked at dynamics and it is too robust for our simple needs of integrating calendars, communications, and notes for our clients. We have gone to office 365 and share our BCM through that platform we run outlook 2010 and really need BCM to continue, willing to pay just really need the platform. would even LOVE a cloud based version going forward.” – July 15, 2016

Here is the final post in this thread, placed by Barbara Feldon of Microsoft:

Outlook Customer Manager Forum Post by Microsoft

So, here we are.  Below is a brief overview of Outlook Customer Manager followed by my thoughts on how this relates to Microsoft Dynamics 365.

About Outlook Customer Manager for Office 365

As the name implies, this new Office 365 service allows users to keep track of their customers and get all the data about a certain customer in one place.   I love that it takes information gleaned from emails, meetings, calls, notes, files, tasks, deals and deadlines and presents it where and when it is easy to act.  One of the most challenging aspects of any CRM solution, light or enterprise, is getting the selling organization to use it effectively.  They often opt to pass on data entry and capturing milestones in the system, even when they understand the importance of tracking customer interactions.  Outlook Customer Manager is promised to find the data by looking through emails and other activities and surfacing them automagically.


The data is surfaced using a focused list” view that shows business deal information in a table format (figure 1 below).  Tasks can be associated with particular customer contacts, companies or even sales opportunities (deals).  Deals and even customers can be prioritized to help the user optimize daily activities.

Outlook Customer Manager prioritizes contacts, opportunities and customers in custom view

Figure 1 Outlook Customer Manager’s list view. (Source: Microsoft blog post.)

In addition to making it easier and quicker to keep up with customers, Outlook Customer Manager allows users to share data with other team members.  This helps teams handle customer calls and inquiries, even if the customer’s original point-of-contact is out of pocket. Notes from calls, meeting dates, and deals are accessible to anyone at the company with access to the Outlook Customer Manager through their Office 365 Premium account.

Mobile Access for Outlook Customer Manager

Outlook Customer Manager even has a mobile app that gives you quick access to the same customer information you’ll see on your desktop. You can check recent communication right before meeting with a customer, jot down a quick note after a meeting or scan a business card to quickly create a new business contact—all in a few swipes on your phone.

As of now, the mobile experience is only offered for iOS (imagine that) but later it will be rolled out to other platforms as well.

iOS app for Microsoft Outlook Customer Manager

How will this impact Dynamics 365 Users?

This should have little, if any, impact to companies already utilizing Dynamics 365 Enterprise.  These companies are all much larger than the 1-10 user target for Outlook Customer Manager and they already have access to a cost-effective, extremely robust CRM solution (Dynamics 365 Sales).

Smaller and lower mid-market companies considering Dynamics 365 Financials will need to do a bit of investigation to determine whether their business needs dictate moving to a more robust sales management system.  Microsoft has yet to announce specific plans for the sales module as part of the Dynamics 365 Business Edition.  They are expected to make specific announcements in the Spring of 2017.

Before Outlook Customer Manager, their choices were limited.  They had to rely on the sales functionality built into Dynamics 365 Financials or adopt a non-Microsoft product or cloud service to fill this gap.  Now, they have another option to stay within the Microsoft family as long as their needs are fairly simple.  I believe this is another major factor in their decision to move this product into the market during November while Dynamics is still in the first 30 days of launch.

Unfortunately for most Dynamics 365 Business Edition customers, Outlook Customer Manager is mostly targeted towards the 60+ million SMBs worldwide with 10 or fewer employees who don’t need the power of a full-fledged CRM like Dynamics 365.   Service tracking, sales forecasting, marketing automation, nurturing and workflow are examples of functionality customers would expect in a CRM system that is just not part of Outlook Customer Manager.

It is important to note, that Microsoft is allowing Dynamics 365 Business Edition customers with 24 users or less to sign up for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Sales at the same cost of the Dynamics 35 Business Edition for up to three years. This is a compelling offer, but some customers won’t want to invest the amount of time, training and implementation effort involved in adopting a solution like this.  Others may opt for a non-Microsoft solution and may or may not “come back home” when a product is finally launched.

Not everything is perfect, but Microsoft has made tremendous strides in providing the most comprehensive set of cloud services for business users around the globe.  I’m excited to see how things play out as their portfolio evolves over the next 1-2 years.

Is Outlook Customer Manager a this a fit for you?

Below is a simple, but informative video published along with the announcement of Outlook Customer Manager.  Check it out!

Best regards,

Robbie Morrison
VP Enterprise Solutions and Services, SBS Group

About Robbie
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 helps SBS Group customers maximize benefits from the ERP investments.  Robbie

Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Vice President, Enterprise Group where he provides thought leadership and manages the enterprise delivery team.  Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.

%d bloggers like this: