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Dynamics 365, the story so far . . .

Daniel Brown

Following the latest update to Microsoft Dynamics 365, it’s time to look back at the Cloud interface since its launch to determine just how successful it has been. Constant upgrades  have occurred since the release in order to ensure it meets the needs of its users, but such is the nature and scale of the product that this was always likely.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution released in two versions in late 2016 so as to serve both the small to mid-sized business market and the enterprise market in the US. The UK release followed some six months later in May this year . Offering a range of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for businesses as part of one single Cloud-based system, Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables staff to access data in any environment and via any device. A great deal of flexibility means that it can be scaled to meet the needs a particular business, whereby subscriber numbers reflect the size of a firm, while it can also be easily integrated with other core Microsoft products. Business applications across Sales, Marketing, Project Service, Field Service, Customer Service, Operations and Finance mean a company can find a solution that is best for them. 

It initially joined Microsoft Azure and Office 365 and focused on security, privacy, compliance and transparency. It’s important to point out here that regulatory requirements in Europe will mean further updates with General Data Protection Regulation legislation on the horizon. Some of these have already been addressed however, such are the efforts to ensure that Dynamics 365 remains relevant to its target market. 

Constantly looking to the future

New releases occur in cycles, with each bringing updates and improvements, although the new functionality that comes with each release is not necessarily suited to each and every business. By cutting levels of custom code with each update, the configuration has simplified over time which has helped to enhance performance and further simplify upgrades.

Plans are also in place to enhance Dynamics 365 for Sales from spring 2018 which will see products spread across several price points with varying levels of functionality.  Early October saw updates and enhancements of the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement services for Sales, Customer Service, Project Service Automation and Field Service with a focus on increasing productivity. While a new interface will provide a better visual experience, easy-to-read containers will help to streamline data entry.  The overall goal was to reduce the time needed to deploy Dynamics 365 apps and thus keep it ahead of the competition.

Ahead of the game?

When compared to rival products on the market, Dynamics 365 seems to be ahead of the trend. Salesforce, for example, relies on third-party applications for operations, ERP and finance services, while Dynamics 365 offers all of those services. Work flow management and project service automation are also possible, whereas Salesforce again relies on other partners. Another competitor in the marketplace, Sage, is predominantly a financial tool and does not offer field service, marketing, analytics and apps like its counterparts. 

Dynamics 365 in use

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is one example of Dynamics 365 usage, with the system used to share medical information between professionals and their patients, while Metro Bank claims it allows them to offer a quick and hassle-free service. The Renault Sport Formula One team meanwhile rely on Dynamics 365 to manage the data recorded from more than 200 sensors on the racing cars it develops, meaning parts can be designed and manufactured while the F1 season is ongoing.

Real Madrid FC meanwhile, one of the world’s largest sporting franchises, also relies on the Microsoft Cloud platform in order to directly engage with its 450 million fans across the globe.  This includes the analysing of data to enhance marketing campaigns and boost revenue. As you can tell by these examples, Dynamics 365 allows for mass scale operations and for work to be carried out near real-time, while enabling organisations of all sizes to be ready for what the world of digital brings next.

Read our related article: Where can Cloud computing go next?
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