Last week we heard some great news from Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft is finally rolling out Dynamics 365 on November 1, 2016. Some of our Dynamics users are probably wondering what it means for them, and possibly what the benefits are to switching over to Dynamics 365. To address those questions, there are just a few big improvements that have been made to Dynamics, and it could very well be worth switching over. Those improvements are: a better, more integrated user interface (UI), a complete switch to the cloud, and built-in artificial intelligence (AI.)
1. Dynamics 365 UI
2016 seems to have been the year of updated user interfaces. SharePoint 2016, OpenText eDOCS DM 16, iManage, and Microsoft Dynamics have all made changes to their UI this year. Dynamics 365 brings all the various apps that a business would use (sales, financials, operations, etc.) together for easy navigation between each process. 365 allows users to seamlessly switch between these applications without having to open new tabs on a browser. Dynamics 365 is also heavily integrated with Office 365 allowing for a much better user experience. This integration is meant to better help businesses serve their customers with newly discovered insights. We will touch on this more later in this blog.
2. The Cloud
Cloud is something that is talked about in every industry nowadays. Every day more enterprises are turning to the cloud for the elasticity of storage it provides. Dynamics 365 is a great example of enabling elasticity of setup. They have built this system around the idea that an ERP should be “purpose built” and combined it with Dynamics CRM into a single cloud-based system. Those who utilize cloud storage should not be paying for more storage space than they need, and that is what Dynamics is trying to achieve. Another key component of cloud usage is the accessing of Dynamics 365 through any iOS, Android, Windows or web device. The recent uptick in Office 365 adoption is another aspect of why Dynamics went to the cloud. It is easier to integrate these systems if they all exist in the cloud, and it enables businesses to provide better support and run more smoothly.
3. Built-in AI
A hot topic, in general, this year has been the adoption of artificial intelligence. AI with Dynamics 365 is going to provide relationship insights to sales people. Dynamics 365 will give recommendations for better customer engagement, auto capture data into 365 from emails or other applications within Dynamics, and enable sales people to spend more time selling and less time filtering through the data. Dynamics 365 will also track the health of a relationship with a customer and help sales people prioritize which accounts need attention. 365 can also show a full communication history to better assist a sales person in how to best to reach a customer. It can track when an opportunity is at risk and if a customer has opened an email and basically push those notifications on to sales people. It might sound a bit “big brother-ish” but it is information that sales people have never had before. It can raise customer satisfaction, thus increasing the amount of revenue earned from each account.
Overall these changes might not be significant to the average user of Dynamics, so a switch over to Dynamics 365 might not be necessary. But what Microsoft is trying to achieve is the ability to better engage with customers, empower employees to spend more time selling, and less time analyzing data, optimizing operations, and transform products. They combined CRM analytics and ERP to better provide SaaS within the cloud. Some of you might be saying, “while these improvements are great, I don’t think I need all of that.” That’s totally fine too. Dynamics 365 gives you the option to start with a bare-bones service and expand as you need to integrate more applications together. That way you aren’t overwhelmed with a bunch of stuff you will likely never use. Dynamics 365 can integrate with hundreds of applications from Microsoft and many of their partners.