Dynamics 365 is the way to go
Updated July 14, 2019
Dynamics 365 is the way to go
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM)
My organization is using Dynamics 365 Online (currently Version 18.104.22.16826 April 2019 release) in three small to mid-size projects delivering professional services for 3 large company clients. We have Customer Engagement licences that include Sales, Customer Service, Project Service, Field Service, Voice of the Customer Surveying, Retail, and a Portal. Along with delivering our professional services to customers on behalf of our clients, we utilize Dynamics 365 as a standalone XRM database to thoroughly and accurately record and house data.
While a spreadsheet can easily house data, the Dynamics 365 platform is streamlining data entry, ensuring projects and other record types move along a rigid process for consistency and predictability, and providing unrivaled data insights to making decision and ultimately serve our client better. We are currently using the Project Service Automation app to manage thousands of construction projects that are applying for grant and incentive money. We easily imported more than a million of the clients customers records from their database to be able to understand the customer base and better serve them for our client.
We will eventually take advantage of the Voice of the Customer Surveying Portal for external partner access, as well Field Service for scheduling field work.
- Provisioning and initial deployment are a breeze and completed within a day or less after receiving the licences.
- Customizations and configuring the database instances is extremely simple as long as changes and enhancements are implemented cautiously and with purpose.
- Integration with other Microsoft applications is one of the top selling points, such as Outlook for tracking email to Dynamics 35, data connections to Excel for refreshing data exports, PowerBI, Flow, & PowerApps
- Advanced Find querying is one of the easiest tools to quickly get and save data accessed regularly.
- The native Microsoft mobile tablet and phone app can be implemented with minimal extra work or configurations.
- Ability to 100% fully implement (and integrate with other Microsoft platforms) with no code whatsoever (100% no code SaaS!) saving time any money for quick deployments.
- The Dynamics 365 community is massive for forum support and user group networks.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 storage & license cost can prohibit some large deployments or even cost-sensitive small projects from using the platform (although I'm certain most deployments would realize a positive ROI if implemented correctly with process automation).
- The cost and licensing document for Dynamics 365 is 61 pages and will take a rocket scientist to understand it. It's better to just have your Microsoft help estimate the cost if they are willing to help you that.
- The documentation on how to first fully understand the Out of the Box default solution and settings is lacking or even non-existing. This has the potential to derail Dynamic 365 launches and implementations from the gitgo. Want to use an out of the box entity?.. well it's probably related to 5 other entities that require configuration and full understanding of it to successful implement. And you ask where is the laymen guide or instructions?... User groups and forums. In Summary, Microsoft can up its game in deployment training and supporting documentation.
- Several limitations inhibit successful Dynamics 365 deployments such as: limited number of Rollup field calculations (summarizing fields on child/related records), limited number rows that can exported to Excel via advanced find, Dynamics 365 files, log and database storage size limit is extremely small and will always require purchasing additional storage (for Online deployments).
- New user buy-in or acceptance or system platform changes can be difficult if a solid change management plan isn't enacted.
- Don't expect much help from Microsoft on implementation or solutions unless it's a technical flaw with the platform. Microsoft relies on their MVP partner network to consult for implementations at a hefty cost. Hiring a knowledgeable and savvy Dynamics 365 System Administrator can reduce the need for consultant support; of course, this is dependant upon many many variables.
- Automation (such as automatically sending emails, follow ups, workflows) has reduced the need for several administrative tasks
- Ease of use has led to quick user acceptance and adoption rates
- No code/low code solution and rapid deployment has allowed for needing only 1 Dynamics 365 Database Administrator and customizer for 3 small to mid-size implementations, and no need for coders or developers
- The Software as a Service SaaS model has allowed us to invest little upfront and keeps any capital investment risks low incase we no longer need the Dynamics 365 Databases. The monthly subscription model means we only pay for what we need, when we need it with no contracts or strings attached.
- We utilize our existing entreprise relationship with Microsoft to secure better pricing.
Our business switched from a year long Salesforce deployment to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online in order to bring the program/project's data and database management in-house, eliminating the need for a Salesforce implementation consultant and resulting in significant cost savings. The ease of use and native integration with our enterprise Office 365 also was a reason we selected and migrated to Dynamics 365.
Scenarios that are well suited for Microsoft Dynamics 365 deployments are:
Those that may shy away are
- ones with rapid deployment requirements, ones favoring low/no code solutions,
- needing process automation (such as automated emails or workflows),
- existing Office 365 platform enterprises,
- those needing to standardize manual data entry for error elimination and enhance consistency,
- those looking to utilize a third party consultant or Microsoft Partner for implementation.
Those that may shy away are
- ones with extremely complex integrations with other systems and with little resources/capital,
- those with datasets that are so large requiring a lot of extra GB storage and thus becoming costly.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Feature Ratings
Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM)
The usability is easily adopted for users familiar with other Microsoft products. Dynamics 365 has several interfaces that cross over browsers and tablets. These multiple interfaces will be phased out and updated to a single unified interface eventually to provide the same usability across all devices. The backend configurations is slowly improving with the introduction of PowerApps compared to pre-D365 Online versions.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
- Creating form for consistent and easy manual data entry.
- Creating workflows to automate tasks and processes.
- Exporting data for in depth data analytics or data scrubbing.
- Finding information on success implementations and technical guides.
- Deciphering the licensing and cost for implementation.
Yes - The mobile interface is a highly beneficial tool if configured correctly. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 app provides offline capability and continually being enhanced by Microsoft. Some of tools and features are unrivaled by competitors, such as the Field Service tools.