Microsoft Dynamics 365: What We Know and What We Don’t Know

Will Dynamics 365 be Satya Nadella’s dream come true?

The answer is still elusive and will be until Dynamics 365 is actually released this Fall and we can see exactly how it works. It will ostensibly debut at Summit 2016 which will be held in Tampa, October 11-14. But that hasn’t stopped a whirlwind of articles penned within days of the initial Dynamics 365 announcement. Articles in lofty publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. And I’ll get to those shortly.

But first, let’s look at what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in what one might indeed call his “I have a dream” speech. Here’s an excerpt from that “speech” which Nadella originally posted on LinkedIn:

“Business leaders, imagine a world where your employees are empowered with predictive insights, prescriptive advice and actionable next steps.

IT professionals, imagine a world where you can quickly build and deploy what you want and pay for just the capabilities you need.

Developers and ISVs, imagine a world where you can build systems of intelligence to transform business for every company of every size in every industry.

Partners, imagine a world where your SaaS apps can be easily discovered by millions of customers and other partners.

Digital workers, imagine a world where you can respond to a customer request or replan production as easily as you can find a new restaurant or book a ride.

It’s here.

Microsoft Dynamics 365:

  • Helps organizations move from monolithic application suites to purpose-built, SaaS applications with intelligence built in
  • Integrates Microsoft Office 365
  • Introduces a disruptive and customer centric business model to build what you want and buy just the capabilities you need, while ensuring all roles have access to all the data they need to be successful in their jobs

The motivating force behind everything we do and everything we build is to empower our customers to make things and make things happen. Together with our customers and partners, we are reinventing business processes for a world where devices, data, intelligence and connectivity can be everywhere.

We have a unique approach to building the technology and platforms that will drive widespread digital transformation for every company, in every industry and every country. This will generate tremendous opportunity for our partners around the globe.”

Very eloquent and yet lacking in detail.

So let’s go back to some of the articles that provide greater concrete insights into Dynamics 365. Jay Greene wrote in The Wall Street Journal as follows:

“The software company will unify its cloud offerings that help run back-office functions such as human resources and financial management, collectively known as enterprise resource planning—or ERP—with its sales tools, known as customer relationship management, or CRM. Microsoft believes that combining the services will make it easier for companies to buy and manage those apps. The company will call the new offering Microsoft Dynamics 365 and expects to release it this fall.

… The offering will include Power BI and Cortana Intelligence, two other Microsoft services that aim to predict when, for example, customers might need specific products.

In addition, Dynamics 365 will connect to Office 365, Microsoft’s web-based email, spread sheet, word-processing, and presentation app. For instance, sales reps will be able to send customers quotes with up-to-date pricing and availability via email that draw directly on data in the ERP app.”

Aha! Dynamics 365 will somehow combine ERP, CRM, Power BI, Cortana and Office 365. You can read the full article here: “Microsoft to Update Its Dynamics Line of Business Software.”

Dina Bass in Bloomberg News tells us the “Microsoft Corp. is revamping its software applications that help business manage tasks such [sic] accounting, human resources and customer management, grouping them together in a unified cloud product that will sort and analyze customer information more seamlessly.

The new Dynamics 365 combines disparate products to let customers choose what apps they need for functions such as finance, field service, sales, operations, marketing and customer service, said Takeshi Numoto, who oversees marketing for Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise business. The cloud services will include data analysis and visualization tools from Microsoft’s Power BI and tools from Cortana to predict things like which items and services a customer will need.”

Aha! Now we see human resources, field service and customer services added to the mix. You can read the full article here: “Microsoft Ups Salesforce, Oracle Rivalry with New Cloud Product.”

Alex Konrad in Forbes writes that “Microsoft business apps in the cloud are getting the Satya Nadella treatment.” And that “Microsoft is also introducing AppSource, a marketplace for customers to find and try out cloud-based services from the company and its partners. Initially it will contain more than 200 apps.”

Aha! There’s also going to be an app store called AppSource offering more than 200 apps. The plot thickens. You can his full article here: “Microsoft Makes a Cloud Push with New Dynamics 365 Software Suite and App Store.”


A look at the new Microsoft AppSource. (Credit: Microsoft)

One more thing before we close this already too long blog post. And that one more thing is not trivial. It’s the reaction from the Microsoft partners who sell, implement and support the products that are now apparently going to be bundled into Dynamics 365. We’ve spoken to a few partners who are thankfully adopting a wait and see attitude. However, some partners fear that Dynamics 365 will have a negative impact on their business. David Wallen on the SBS Group blog reprinted a blog post written by Terry Petrzelka, founder and former CEO of Tectura Corporation. Suffice it to say that Petrzelka called the Dynamics 365 announcement “The Slap Heard ‘Round the Dynamics World.” You can read his full article here: “WPC 2016: The Dynamics Channel Gets Slapped in the Head.”

But by all means, feel free to form your own opinion.

By ERP Cloud Blog Editors,

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