Chapter 1

What is Dynamics 365?

In this chapter, you will learn everything you need to know about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and what are the different types of applications to better understand the Microsoft Dynamics 365 apps ecosystem.

microsoft dynamics 365

Microsoft has tens of different solutions that at first glance might seem the same. It can be also very confusing for newbies to learn about Microsoft and Microsoft Dynamics 365. So, this chapter view to give you a high-level overview of different Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions in ERP, CRM, AI, Mixed Reality as well as different addons Microsoft and ISV offer that are built on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Applications.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a set of connected modular SaaS Applications and Services built on Microsoft Azure designed to transform your core customer, employee, and business activities. It combines CRM and ERP capabilities and integrates your data, business logic, and processes. And it is natively integrated with productivity apps in Microsoft 365 such as Excel, Word, Outlook, and others.

Dynamics 365 revolutionizes CRM and ERP by applying intelligence to all forms of data. It enables organizations to evolve from reactive business decisions to proactive insights that allow your employees to accelerate business results.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 consists of CRM, ERP, AI, Mixed Reality, and modular intelligent business applications that offer a complete set of solutions across Marketing, Sales, Commerce, Service, Finance, Operations, and Talent.

For example, this is the difference between having separate siloed sales and marketing functions versus creating automated, integrated, and intelligent sales and marketing capabilities that efficiently connect, prioritize, and convert your sales leads into paying customers.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM Solutions

And central to Dynamics 365 is the common data service and its common data model schema. This provides a foundation for data integration across all Microsoft applications, services, productivity, and collaboration apps in Microsoft 365, as well as your in-house and even third-party SaaS applications.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications works based on the modular type of application, where your business can choose one application and then add more applications based on your needs as your business grows.

This allows businesses to quickly scale and adapt whenever necessary without disruptions as data from one application are automatically connected to enable streamline the process of data sharing, storing, and analyzing without costly data migration process.

Microsoft is taking seriously its role as a leader in ERP and CRM applications and twice a year Dynamics 365 users can look forward to upgrades that are bringing new features and updates to further improve the system.

According to Nucleus Research, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a Leader in their ERP Technology Value Matrix, in which they assessed more than twenty Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions on functionality and usability.

Difference Between Dynamics 365 ERP and Dynamics 365 CRM Application

Some might get confused about all the differences between Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications so let’s discuss more in detail what differentiates these two types of software in the Microsoft Ecosystem.

However, let’s explain first the fundamentals of Microsoft Dynamics 365. So, to better understand Dynamics 365 applications, let’s first look at Microsoft 365 (used to known as Office 365) as you are probably more familiar with it.

Analogy on Microsoft 365 (Office 365) to Understand Dynamics 365

When you subscribe to Microsoft 365 (Office 365) you will get access to a suite of applications depending on the pricing you choose. In the standard plan, you will get access to applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Outlook, One Drive, and Teams.

microsoft 365 applications

All these productivity applications are fundamentally different, providing different capabilities and features, and are used for different purposes as you probably know.

And depending on your needs, you can subscribe to a license called Microsoft 365 and pay a monthly or yearly subscription and get access to the suite of Microsoft productivity applications or you can just purchase Microsoft Word itself for a one-time fee.

Now, Dynamics 365 Applications work on a similar principle where you have different applications with different features and capabilities that are used for different purposes.

Fundamentally Microsoft divided their Dynamics 365 applications into two different categories. The first category is their ERP applications, and the second category is their CRM applications.

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP applications consist of applications:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP applications overview

And Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM applications consist of applications:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM applications overview
  • Dynamics 365 Sales: This is a sales management solution for businesses of all sizes.
  • Dynamics 365 Sales Professional: This is a limited version of a sales management solution with core features for businesses of all sizes.
  • Dynamics 365 Relationship Sales: Combination of Dynamics 365 Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator for businesses of all sizes.
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service: This is a customer service management solution for businesses of all sizes.
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service: This is a field service and maintenance management solution for businesses of all sizes.
  • Dynamics 365 Marketing: This is an advanced marketing management solution for businesses of all sizes.

These Microsoft Dynamics 365 Applications are conveniently named in a way to understand what type of solution it is to help you quickly navigate among the different solutions Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers.

However, the difference is that unlike in Microsoft 365 where based on the subscription type you get access to multiple applications, in Dynamics 365 there is no plan where you can subscribe to multiple applications, thus, you have to subscribe to each individual application you want to use for your business. However, Microsoft does provide discounts to additional applications. For more information, contact us.

Both CRM and ERP applications are seamlessly integrated along with other Microsoft applications allowing you to share your data across departments whenever needed, improving productivity and efficiencies.

In the chapter Dynamics 365 Modules, we will discuss in more detail each category and application that is part of the category. However, for now, this should help you to get a better understanding of what is actually Dynamics 365 and what differentiate Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications

Other Microsoft Dynamics 365 Applications You Should Know

Except for Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP & CRM applications, Microsoft also offers other applications for your business. Some of these applications are standalone applications and some of them are extension applications.

So, let’s learn more about these:

Microsoft AI Applications for Dynamics 365

Apart from the “basic” Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP & CRM applications, Microsoft is also one of the leaders in AI development and applications.

Microsoft developed AI applications that empower organizations to take informed actions and converting their data into insights with the intelligence of Microsoft AI. These out-of-box insights applications Enhance core business processes with AI functionality.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI offers eight Artificial Intelligent applications:

dynamics 365 AI applications overview
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Insights: This is an AI application that helps you gain a 360-degree view of customers and discover insights that drive personalized customer experiences.
  • Dynamics 365 Finance Insights: This is an AI application that helps you accurately and intelligently predict your company’s cash flow, predict when you will receive payment for outstanding receivables, and generate a budget proposal that can speed up your budgeting process.
  • Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection: This is an AI application that helps you protect your e-commerce business—and your customers—against fraud and improve your shopping experiences.
  • Dynamics 365 Connected Store: This is an AI application that helps you make your retail stores more efficient and engaging by turning observational data into insightful recommendations.
  • Dynamics 365 Sales Insights: This is Add-in for Dynamics 365 Sales that helps you increase sales and improve decision making with AI-powered insights fueled by customer data.
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights: This is an add-in for Dynamics 365 Customer Service that helps you leverage AI-driven insights to make better decisions and proactively improve customer satisfaction with confidence.
  • Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service: This is an AI application that helps you put the power of deploying solutions to problems through a virtual agent in the hands of the subject matter experts—your customer service team.
  • Microsoft Customer Data Platform: Is AI application that collects customer data from first, second, and third-party sources and analyzes this multi-source data, and provides insights, recommendations, and a holistic view of each customer that’s based on data from every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI apps add-ons leverage the power of Microsoft’s AI research, tools, data, and powerful platform to help companies turn your data into insights and actions, give you a unified view of your customers, products & people to uncover new opportunities and take your business that next step into the future.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality Solutions

Microsoft is also extending its Dynamics 365 Applications into Mixed Reality. These applications are seamlessly connected with the main Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP & CRM applications.

Mixed Reality allows you to work with people and objects as if they were really there. You can learn, teach, design, build, repair, and experiment in a completely new way. For example, with a little configuration, field resources could access a calendar service, view products, and equipment, launch interactive guides, and provide remote support assistance.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality solutions include:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 mixed reality applications overview
  • Dynamics 365 Product Visualize: This is a mixed reality application that helps your sellers meet their customers’ needs faster with mixed reality.
  • Dynamics 365 Remote Assist: This is a mixed reality application that helps your technicians to collaborate more efficiently by working together from different locations.
  • Dynamics 365 Import Tool: This is a mixed reality application that helps you to import 3D (CAD) models for use with the Dynamics 365 Layout HoloLens app or the Dynamics 365 Layout immersive headset app.
    Dynamics 365 Guides: This is a mixed-reality application for Microsoft HoloLens that helps operators learn during the flow of work by providing holographic instructions when and where they’re needed.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality solutions offer great potential across a variety of industries and professionals enabling businesses to be closer to their customers than ever before and act. Such tools will continually improve the way how we operate and help our customers.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Modular Solutions

Another important part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite of applications is modular applications.

These modular applications offer a suite of capabilities that extend the power of Dynamics 365 to enable organizations to customize their solutions. Also, some of these modular solutions are free of charge.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Modular Applications includes:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 modular Solutions
  • Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service: Enable organizations to instantly connect and engage with their customers via channels like Live Chat and SMS.
  • Dynamics 365 Universal Resource Scheduling: You can enable scheduling for any entity in Dynamics 365 Sales, Field Service, Customer Service, and Project Service Automation, including custom entities.
  • Dynamics 365 Gamification: Enables employees to participate in individual and team-based competitions that motivate them to achieve certain pre-defined KPIs by offering prizes, awards, privileges, and recognition.
  • Finance and Operations Mobile App: Enables your organization to make its business processes available on mobile devices.
  • Field Service Mobile App: This is designed and optimized for technicians to view Dynamics 365 Field Service work orders, customer assets, accounts, and contacts.
  • Customer Portal for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management: Lets companies create an externally facing business-to-business (B2B) website for scenarios that are related to sales order processing.
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Voice: Empower your organization to quickly collect and understand omnichannel feedback at scale to build better customer experiences.
  • Dynamics 365 Unified Service Desk: Provides a configurable framework for quickly building applications for call centers so that agents can get a unified view of the customer data stored in Microsoft Dataverse.
  • Dynamics 365 App for Outlook: Enables you to quickly add new leads, view information, link emails within CRM, and streamline other tasks.
  • Dynamics 365 for Phones and Tablets: To run customer engagement apps (such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, and Dynamics 365 Marketing), built on Microsoft Dataverse on your mobile device.
  • Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn: This allows you to automatically sync leads captured on LinkedIn using Sponsored Content with Dynamics 365 (online). Enable your sales and marketing teams to develop and nurture these leads.
  • Dynamics 365 Lifecycle Services: This is a collaboration portal that provides an environment and a set of regularly updated services that can help you manage the application lifecycle of your implementations.

And Microsoft is continually developing new modular solutions to furthermore customize your solution and streamline your tasks to improve efficiencies and save time.

Add Addons to Microsoft Dynamics 365 from Microsoft AppSource

On top of all these solutions, Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be customized by installing addons from Microsoft AppSource.

Microsoft AppSource is an online store that contains thousands of business applications and services built by industry-leading software providers. You can use AppSource to find, try, buy, and deploy the business software and services that help you run your business.

microsoft appsource addons for Microsoft Dynamics 365

These addons allow you to furthermore customize your solution based on your needs without hiring experts to custom code your solution. Also, these addons are maintained to ensure they can be run on the latest versions of Dynamics 365 products. Thus, ensure your addons work even when you update your system.

This gives you almost unlimited possibilities to customize your solution without investing a big budget into customization and integration, making Dynamics 365 solutions truly adaptable to every business need with friendly pricing even to SMBs in Malaysia and other ASEAN countries.

Microsoft Power Platform Extended Capabilities for Dynamics 365

And lastly what you should know about Dynamics 365 is that they are seamlessly connected with Microsoft Power Platforms such as Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agent.

microsoft power platform and microsoft dynamics 365

These powerful tools allow you to automate your processes, build custom apps and reports, enhance your customer communication, and everything in between.

Microsoft Power Platform applications are seamlessly integrated with Dynamics 365 applications allowing businesses to customize their solutions for their needs.

Microsoft Power Platform applications include:

Microsoft power platform applications overview
  • Power BI: This is a great tool for reporting on and analyzing data, from a wide range of sources, including Dynamics 365.
  • Power Apps: Is low code application development platform for professionals and amateur to build custom apps using Canva and/or Model-Driven. It allows you to customize and build custom solutions for your Dynamics 365.
  • Power Apps Portals
  • Power Automate: Is a low-code tool that allows creating automated workflows between application and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data and more.
  • Power Virtual Agents: Is designed to transform ordinary chatbots into intelligent virtual agents through the use of AI.
  • Microsoft Dataverse: This lets you securely store and manage data that’s used by business applications.
  • AI Builder: Enables your business to use AI to automate processes and glean insights from your data in Power Apps and Power Automate.

What is Not Dynamics 365

Microsoft coming up with many tools to enhance business and personal productivity and collaboration which are Microsoft 365 (Previously known as Office 365) and Dynamics 365 and because Microsoft is using a lot the term 365 which is for marketing purposes it causing misunderstanding.

So, to avoid confusion about what is Dynamics 365 and what it is not Dynamics 365 let us further explain what Dynamics 365 is not.

This is the list of solutions that are not Dynamics 365

  • Microsoft 365 (Office 365): Are productivity tools developed by Microsoft such as Excel, Word, SharePoint, and PowerPoint. Those tools are not Dynamics 365, but they are integrated together to improve your productivity and streamline processes.
  • Microsoft 365 for Business: This is a Microsoft 365 plan that provides businesses with a suite of collaborative applications of Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft 365 for Enterprise: Nor this Microsoft 365 plan for large businesses is the actual Dynamics 365.
  • Dynamics (GP, NAV, SL, AX): Dynamics 365 is based on the previous version of Microsoft Dynamics with differences between the two of them – from the infrastructure on which they both are deployed to their licensing options, integration capabilities, and scalability and development options.

So, these are the common misunderstanding of what is Dynamic 365 as those tools are not Dynamics 365, but they are part of the Dynamics 365 series or included within the Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM systems.

Do you want to bring something with you and read at our convenience? Microsoft has prepared an ebook for you to download for free and learn more about ERP systemsDownload now ERP System ebook for free.

Book Dynamics 365 Free Demo

Are you searching for a suitable ERP or CRM application for your business? Book a Dynamics 365 free demo with our experts to get a personalized approach for your business. We recommend the most suitable Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications based on your needs, help you to understand the licensing, and as well as provide guidance on deployment, implementation, and change management processes to go live with confidence. We are the leading Gold Microsoft partner helping businesses to digitally transform with Microsoft Dynamics 365 intelligent business applications.

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