Microsoft Dynamics 365 – It’s here

By Eric Newell | November 1, 2016

I’ve been waiting for this announcement for a few years now, and it’s finally here! I was hoping to see Microsoft put together their ERP solutions with their CRM solution to form a broad-based, business application and with Microsoft Dynamics 365 – and they’ve done it.  Launched November 1, 2016, you are now able to purchase a fully-functioned ERP solution packaged together with a leading CRM solution. If you’re like a lot of our customers, you want to know how this is happening and what’s in it?  First, there are two editions of Microsoft Dynamics 365, so let’s explain what’s in each package.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition is Microsoft’s flagship product which combines Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX 7) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. It includes all the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics AX, which is now called Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations: financials, manufacturing, project accounting, distribution, retail and a lot more. You can continue to purchase Dynamics 365 for Operations separately, but it’s only a little more to add on all the CRM functionality. Dynamics CRM will transition to Microsoft Dynamics 365, Enterprise Edition Plan 1. This includes Sales, Service, Marketing, Project Service and Field Service functionality, although you can buy each of them separately if you choose.

There are different options to purchase Dynamics AX and CRM now. You can buy them by function (product) or by access. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition Plan 2 gives a user access to all of AX and CRM functionality. Plan 1 gives you access to all the CRM functionality. You can separately buy Dynamics 365 Sales which would give you the functionality inside Dynamics CRM Sales today. The best “deal” of this whole equation is the ability to buy a “Team Member license” which will allow you to have one inexpensive user who can read data across AX and CRM, plus update accounts and activities in CRM and do functions in AX like processing purchase and sales orders. With the new licensing model, you’ll be able to balance your user count to get a competitively priced solution for your enterprise.

For pricing information on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition click here.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business edition

The Business Edition is a SaaS-based solution targeted at companies between 10-250 users. It is comprised of Project Madeira (the webified version of Dynamics NAV) and CRM Sales and Marketing functionality. It is a very reasonably priced solution that allows small to medium businesses to get up and running very quickly. Similar to the Enterprise Edition, you can buy Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials (the NAV component) or the CRM functionality separately, or you can buy them together. You can also buy a “Team Member license” for a person allowed to read data across both the financials and sales systems.

For pricing information on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business edition click here.

What’s the Integration between the ERP and CRM functionality?

For the Business Edition, the integration will be done using the tools introduced in NAV 2016 that allow you to easily set up a synchronization between the two systems. For the Enterprise Edition, the integration will be based on a new concept called the Common Data Model (best explained here). This common data model will allow you to send data from AX or CRM to this common data structure which then can be used to send to AX, CRM, Office 365 or new applications Microsoft has released PowerApps and Flow. This middleware will allow you to connect all your business applications and PowerApps and Flow will allow you to write logic to build custom functions quickly and without the overhead of a full ERP application.

How are ISVs going to work in the new Dynamics 365 world?

Microsoft is directing partners and ISVs to post their solutions on a new marketplace called AppSource. There you’ll find solutions for add-ons like credit card processing or sales tax plus full-fledged solutions like our PropelAX solution for Professional Services companies. On the Business Edition, you’ll download Extensions and apply them to your instance to provide the additional functionality. In the Enterprise Edition, you’ll manage AX functionality through Lifecycle Services and CRM functionality through Solutions just as before.

What’s the Plan for Existing Dynamics Customers?

If you’re an existing Dynamics GP, SL or NAV customer, you can continue your on-premise solution for many years in the future. Microsoft has committed to future releases of those products and provides 10 years of support for the latest version of the product. If you want to make the shift to the cloud, you can either continue to pay your enhancement renewals on your on-premise solution and pay a small cloud add-on price or you can convert your license completely to the cloud for a substantial discount.

For Dynamics CRM and AX customers, the products will be continuously enhanced under their new names. You don’t have to make any changes to your current systems.

When is Dynamics 365 Available?

As of November 1, 2016 Microsoft Dynamics 365 is now available for purchase from Stoneridge Software.

We’d love to help you understand the new Dynamics 365 landscape so you can find the best-integrated solution for your business. More information on Dynamics 365 can be found here. Let us know if you have any questions – we’re excited about the road ahead. Contact us at 612-354-4966 or solutions@stoneridgesoftware.com.

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