Dynamics 365, Microsoft's new cloud-based business application platform, will be generally available next month, the software giant announced Oct. 11.
"Dynamics 365, and many of these new capabilities, will be available to customers in more than 135 markets and over 40 languages, beginning November 1," said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, in an Oct. 11 announcement. "Available in Enterprise and Business Editions, to meet the needs of large and SMB organizations, Dynamics 365 will offer subscriptions per app/per user and introduce industry-first plans that embrace the cross-functional way organizations and employees need to work today."
First introduced in July, the offering delivers purpose-built app experiences that address specific business functions, including sales, marketing, customer service, operations and more. By unifying the company's customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) technologies under a common data model; integrating with Office 365; and incorporating the company's latest analytics capabilities, the company envisions that its customers can piece together Dynamics 365 app ecosystems that facilitate collaboration and help automate their business processes.
"We've seen customers achieve significant ROI from both Dynamics and Office 365," Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, told eWEEK. "Bringing them together will accelerate time to value and make deployments easier for customers."
Another key ingredient: built-in intelligence.
The Redmond, Wash., software maker and cloud services provider has been steadily baking its machine-learning and artificial intelligence technologies—or simply "intelligence" in Microsoft parlance—into its commercialized products. Recent examples include Skype Translator and Cortana Intelligence Suite.
Intelligence is more than a trendy buzzword for Microsoft, Barb Edson, general manager of marketing at Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, told eWEEK. "It's not just a flavor of the day; it's deeply ingrained in everything we do."
As evidence, she pointed to the new Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights analytics app, also announced Oct. 11. The app collects and analyzes data from a variety of sources, including Microsoft's own productivity software ecosystem and third-party CRM, ERP, social and internet of things (IoT) systems, to generate a "360-degree view of all a customer's information," said Edson. The app then supplies suggestions for engaging with customers in ways that help improve both an organization's customer service initiatives and the bottom line.
"This announcement shows Microsoft's ability to bring the investments in R&D from Azure, data science, and the whole Microsoft portfolio to make applications—and their users—smarter and more productive," said Wettemann.
Customers can subscribe to Dynamics on a per-app, per-user basis or select from plans that offer users access to functionality from a variety of apps under a predictable pricing model. Dynamics 365 plans allow workforces to "get to work the way they need to work," said Edson. "They don't have to be bartering on price."
Under such a plan, for instance, a customer service representative is granted access to other apps (field service, customer service and sales) that may help them address customer concerns and work more productively, but may incur costs under traditional CRM licensing models.