Microsoft Senior Director Angela Bandlow gives an interview on Dynamics 365, which is expected to release Nov. 1.

Cloud-based product caters to smaller companies with app-based subscriptions

Touted by Microsoft as the “next generation of intelligent business applications,” Dynamics 365 is set to release Nov. 1. The company’s latest offering combines features of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software into one cloud-based offering.

What exactly does that mean?

Microsoft has been notably quiet on specifics of its new product, giving the public teasers throughout the summer. The company finally released a “first look” of Dynamics 365 at Summit 2016 last week, offering live demos for those in attendance.

Some details are still a mystery and will be until partners get to see the actual product in November, but here’s what we know so far:

Service-based apps

Dynamics 365 — or D365 as some tech junkies have dubbed it — is intended to bridge the gap between software applications. Are you tired of opening and closing multiple programs to complete a specific task?

Microsoft’s long-range plan with Dynamics 365 is to allow interoperability between its most popular products. Depending on the edition the customer chooses, the streamlined product could include aspects of staple products such as ERP, CRM, Office 365, Cortana Intelligence, Power BI and/or Azure.

How exactly this will work is unclear, but it appears that various features of these Microsoft products will be available separately in bite-sized apps.

In order for companies to pick and choose which services and tools they want to use, Microsoft has introduced AppSource, a cloud-based one-stop shop with more than 250 apps already completed and several more in the works. Some apps relate to a particular industry while others perform specific functions.

New pay structure

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Dynamics 365 to smaller companies who are experiencing growing pains with their current accounting systems is the pricing structure.

In the past, Microsoft typically gave customers the option to buy its premier accounting products for a large lump sum or to purchase a subscription for a moderate monthly fee. They are doing away with the first option entirely for Dynamics 365.

Plus, they’ve broken up the subscription fee into even smaller chunks with the app features. Dynamics 365 will be available in two different editions: Business and Enterprise. Both editions will have subscription-based pricing dependent on the number of apps the company purchases and the number of users who need access to each app.

This is particularly good news to companies that need to move up but don’t quite have the cash to front a big investment.

Who should buy it?

Some partners believe that Microsoft is catering to smaller mid-sized companies who otherwise would not be able to afford Microsoft Dynamics, the company’s larger accounting software for companies with complex finances.

Companies that are currently using or looking to buy Dynamics NAV are likely to be the first in line for Dynamics 365 Business Edition due to the similarities between the two products. However, Microsoft has stopped short of calling it the next NAV product, instead focusing the message on an all-in-one product that appeals to all users of any ERP or CRM products.

Learn more

Better information will be available in the weeks after the product actually releases, once partners have had a chance to interact with the new product and see what the actual features are. Boyer & Associates will host a webinar Tuesday, Dec. 13, to showcase Dynamics 365 and offer more detailed specifics on what exactly is included. With all the excitement Dynamics 365 has already generated, we expect this to be a popular event. Register today!

Dynamics 365

All the pieces come together in Dynamics 365 to create Microsoft’s new intelligent business cloud.