Microsoft Dynamics 365 is rapidly moving into new industries and sectors of business: Is Microsoft’s management software right for you?
It’s time for even more Inspire conference news: Microsoft unleashed a bunch of new programs and plans for its partners, which means that customers can also expect some big changes down the road. One of the most interesting updates for end users was the announcement of new Microsoft Dynamics 365 features.
Dynamics 365, for those who haven’t heard the term, is Microsoft’s branding of its latest CRM tools. These tools are designed to share data across multiple aspects of business operations like sales, customer services, financial designs and more. It also adds in a healthy dose of automation to make sure forms are populated and analysis is enabled as quickly as possible. It’s a very smooth solution for growing businesses, and so partners have been interested in seeing just what’s up with Dynamics features and where the service is heading. The Inspire-connected July update answered these concerns with a host of new updates. To help out, we’re going to offer a quick guide on what’s new with Dynamics 365 and why it’s worth paying attention.
Partnership with LinkedIn
One of Microsoft’s biggest Dynamics announcements concerns a new partnership with LinkedIn to further the development of the Microsoft Relationship Sales app (part of the Dynamics suite). The Relationship Sales solution now taps into the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to help connect with a variety of buyers more easily, and analyze buyer data for better lead management. Basically, if you like using Sales Navigator or what it offers, you can access that data via Dynamics to gain the same benefits plus the other Dynamics features that you may want.
Why is this exciting? Well, Microsoft has indicated that LinkedIn is just the start. It would love to partner with other companies to provide additional social network data to help fuel Dynamics tools and make them easier to use, rather than having end users skip around from tool to tool to get all the information they want. Microsoft also makes the claim that this LinkedIn partnership offers a service that is about half the cost of similar competitive solutions on the market – a bold but very impressive claim if it holds up.
Dynamics 365 for Retail
Dynamics 365 already has a “For Sales” and “For Customer Service” section, among others, but Microsoft is adding a couple new sections to address farther-reaching needs among companies, especially B2C companies who may be looking for tools more in sync with their industries. The first is Dynamics 365 for Retail: Retail is made for managing store, employee, customer, inventory and financial document data. It focuses on POS activities that bring customer data to improve each transaction and helps managers analyze what sales trends really mean for customer engagement.
Once again Microsoft’s AI features are taken out and used to help automate as much data as possible so you don’t spend too long looking for everything you need. This also extends to shift schedules, shift assignments, and absence requests.
This is a very competitive field with a lot of excellent solutions aimed at small to mid-sized companies, so it will be interesting to see how Microsoft does here. Would you be interested in switching your Retail system if that promised compatibility with the Windows platform?
Dynamics 365 for Talent
Following up the Retail option, Microsoft is also offering a Dynamics solution for talent acquisition. Here the benefits of partnering with LinkedIn become especially obvious: Microsoft is able to use the LinkedIn Recruiter data to fuel “dynamic candidate profiles” which basically means you won’t need to keep visiting LinkedIn to find the necessary information about the latest batch of recruits – it will all be ported right to Talent.
Talent will also help with onboarding by providing important resources and training steps as needed for those just joining the company – a sort of introductory tool to ease them through the process. Microsoft also promises a consolidated HR profile for each employee that will take data from multiple sources to provide a full view of each worker, their current tasks, and their productivity.
Both Retail and Talent will be available summer 2017 for those interested in adopting Dynamics 365 solutions.
Application Update Summary
Along with new Dynamics solutions, Microsoft announced several updates to existing applications that the company thought were particularly worth noting.
First, Microsoft is expanding Dynamics into new geographical areas, updating its offerings for the UK and Canada, which is good news for clients and partners who may be waiting for a full rollout. This also includes new data centers in places like the UK and Germany, which sets Microsoft up to expand its services further in time.
Second, Microsoft has introduced a local business solution that allows companies to run Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations in their own data centers, without the need to contact a provider. This is great for companies that have already invested in their own server setups but still want to use D365 for as much as possible.
Third, Microsoft is adding new prospect-to-cash integration, which is their way of saying that Dynamics can now share information between financial and sales departments. If those two parts of your company have had trouble communicating in the past, they may find it easier with D365.
Lots of Quality of Life Changes
One of the nice things about Dynamics is that Microsoft posts a list of current changes that are in development and changes that are likely to come to Dynamics in the future. Here, you can see that Microsoft has updated the software with significant amounts of integration and new forms to help out different kinds of companies. That includes expense management reports, Cortana compatibility, new forms for employee benefits, more YouTube compatibility…you get the idea. It’s tough to list all these updates, but it’s a good idea to check up on the list on occasion and see if any important features are included.
Do you have any further questions about Dynamics 365, or if could be of benefit to your organization? Why not ask someone with experience? Insight Technologies can help your Grand Forks business find the right services for your unique situation. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (701) 775-5512.