Hello from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in beautiful Toronto!
Every year, Microsoft gathers with its partner community to discuss their plans around all product lines. A common topic the last 3 or 4 years is their efforts to expand their cloud offerings and move even more of their products to the cloud.
This year the big announcement and major discussion topic is around Dynamics 365. This will be a new offering that provides a bridge and common data layer between several of the Dynamics ERP cloud offerings and CRM. Eventually, this will be tied into a new interface. Dynamics AX, NAV and Project Madeira will be the first set of ERP products, along with Dynamics CRM, to provide the base of this new offering when it is available in the fall timeframe.
The other piece of this new offering will be the tight integration to the Office 365 suite. Open an email, from inside the email, access and edit a quote, sending the final result as a word doc to the prospect. Simple process that allows user to work in their preferred application and get their job done more efficiently.
Here are a couple of the official blog posts from Microsoft regarding this offering.
And finally, one from Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft he had posted on LinkedIn
These are great intro blog posts but I wanted to also communicate addition details I have been able to gather here at the conference.
I had the opportunity to speak to one of the key Microsoft Dynamics CRM program managers one-on-one the other afternoon - well, in reality, I cornered him for 30 mins. He graciously provided a few deeper technical details that I won't go into here as well as the direction they plan to take this new app and licensing construct. The key takeaway for customers, however, was that there will be no changes needed to current environments. This means any customization, plug-in, or vendor solution you may have in place can stay and will co-exist just fine.
The platforms will still be available separately but now you will have additional licensing choices based on either User role, department, or whether you are a large enterprise or small to medium business. I won't get into the details here as Microsoft has a tendency to make changes to licensing right up to the official release of the information. Suffice it to say, I am pleased at the thought they seem to have put into it.
In my opinion, I like the direction this is taking. We integrate CRM and ERP all the time and the limitations around licensing and the different data schemas (Account in CRM vs. Customer in GP for example) makes it challenging for some of our customers and their processes.
Feel free to