While working with Dynamics CRM for last 10+ years, i often felt the need of having one common integrated platform in Microsoft Office 365 space which can offer our Customers to utilize a package with all required functionalities instead of providing them several isolated applications with independent database and user interface.
I am not sure if it is comparable or not and if everyone will agree to it or not; but SAP has similar setup since long time where almost all business modules are seamlessly integrated together and share the same Oracle database.
Finally Microsoft with Dynamics 365 has come up with a revolutionary concept which is recently introduced by in July 2016. It can facilitate our Customers to benefit from one common platform with end to end business application functionalities with in Microsoft Office 365 space.
Today almost all Customers faces one common issue of managing several isolated business applications for each and every business operation such as Marketing, Sales, Finance, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service, Analytics etc.
Together with that there is always a big overhead of integrating all business application together to transfer relevant data across. It ends up with extremely complex infrastructure which is not only hard but also very costly to maintain and extend.
To mitigate this common problem for all Customers, Microsoft has now came up with the concept of Dynamics 365.
Dynamics 365 will create a possibility for the Customers to use a common client platform such as the Outlook client or may be a Mobile app to access and work on end to end business operations all integrated together seamlessly.
To facilitate such a solution for the Customers, Dynamics 365 will use the follows:
- Common data model shared among Office 365 applications to simplify data management and integration across business apps and business processes. However it is not very clear how the security model will work for the Common Data Model.
- Microsoft Flow to integrate and transfer trigger based data among Office 365 applications and also among several external cloud based applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Box etc.
- PowerApps to provide functionalities to create new custom business applications connected with any Office 365 application or Common Data Model. However the current PowerApps seems to be very basic and not ready for actual business point of view.
- Power BI to facilitate real time reporting from single or multiple applications for independent or aggregated analytics.
In today’s connected world where every other device is connected to Internet; for many organizations it is vital to establish a two way connection with devices in order to know automatically when the device has an issue and need support or replacement.
- Azure IoT service is intended to connect to all existing devices and capture data from them over the internet using Axure IoT Hub. Once captured this data can than be analysed in Azure IoT Suite and moved to relevant business application for facilitating Customer support, Field service or may be to offer a new Product to the end Customers.
Today all larger organizations capture data from various sources such as devices, social media, online web tracking etc. Hence the organizations ends up will billions of records to analyse and process for making predictions, taking decisions or defining next actions. All this processing of data is required to be done with high speed and accuracy.
We all know that with time the hardware is getting cheaper more and more as compare to human resources, hence for all organizations it is really important to perform all the processing of data automatically with our human intervention at all.
This benefits the organizations to reduce cost, to achieve speed and also to eliminate human mistakes.
- Azure Machine Learning (Cortana Intelligence) service is intended to process huge amount of data collected from different sources and returns information such as predictions, decisions, next actions etc. with high speed and accuracy. Once the rules are defined and the application is trained to process data automatically, Azure Machine Learning project can be published to result a web service end point URL. This URL can be used to integrate and utilize the same Machine Learning capability across applications within the organization.
Dynamics 365 Editions
Dynamics 365 will have two editions “Business Edition” and “Enterprise Edition”
- Business Edition will be suitable for small organizations with limited number of employees. It will be consist of three module Sales, Marketing and Finance. For Finance the solution will be Project Maderia a new Office 365 tool, however for Sales and Marketing the solutions are yet to be defined.
- Enterprise Edition will be suitable for larger organizations with large set of employees. It will be consist of Dynamics CRM (for Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and Project Service), Dynamics AX (for Operations) and for Marketing a new Office 365 solution is yet to be defined (as Microsoft has planned to discontinue with Dynamics MDM in future).
As mentioned earlier the Dynamics 365 concept is brand new and hence there are several open questions which needs to be explored and answered. This is just a first step in the new era of connected applications in Microsoft cloud space.
By: Prashant Mittal – Dynamics 365 (CRM) Architect @Microsoft