An ever increasing number of companies are realising that Dynamics 365 can provide much of what they need in terms of core business applications. I should quickly say that for anyone who saw the image above hoping this article was Beatles related then you have probably already realised you’re going to be disappointed! I thought it might be useful to share my views on how the Microsoft platform has evolved from CRM 4.0 and how the latest version is a leap forward in terms of both design and implementation.
For the last 7 years I have worked with all versions of Dynamics CRM/365. Starting initially with CRM 4.0 right up to Dynamics 365 Online which we use heavily ourselves today, as well as offering consultancy/support to customers. Over this time I have seen it steadily improve, from 4.0 to 2011 then to 2013 and 2015 and 2016, until Dynamics 365 which is what we have today. An example of steady improvements would be the Service Management component which did not include SLA tracking prior to CRM 2013. In CRM 2013 the SLA engine was basic, it was not until CRM 2015 that you could do things like pause the clock on Cases. For anyone familiar with how service desks operate being able to pause the clock on cases is a requirement. This is just one example, slowly but surely the new functionality comes along, the gaps are closed, improvements are made. Another is searching, it has always been a somewhat painful experience in earlier versions of CRM but Dynamics 365 Online now integrates with Azure to offer powerful searching across entities and attached files. The improvements I am referring to have come across all the core components of Sales, Marketing and Service Management. This has continued across the different versions but then Dynamics 365 came along and really shook things up.
How exactly did it shake things up I hear you ask! Two key changes:
- The platform was expanded, no longer did you just get Sales, Marketing and Service Management, suddenly they offered brand new “apps” like Project Services Automation (PSA), Field Service and Talent. As well as bringing Dynamics CRM’s slightly weird and hard to talk to cousin Dynamics AX into the fold under the Operations app, which to me makes a lot of sense. In parallel was key change number two…
- Microsoft decided they wanted all staff using Dynamics 365, all staff accessing it directly. Forget about an employee portal connecting to Dynamics, replicating some of the functionality, just let staff in. They did this by making the interface much better and offering a basic license called “Team Member” which is around €7 per user per month. Just look at how the PSA app offers timesheets and expenses for staff to fill in.