Microsoft readies combined CRM, ERP Dynamics 365 cloud bundle

Microsoft is combining elements of its Dynamics CRM and ERP offerings into a new cloud bundle called Dynamics 365.

Will Dynamics 365 replace Dynamics CRM Online and the cloud versions of Dynamics NAV, GP and AX? If so, when will these current cloud services go away?Microsoft is combining its current CRM and ERP cloud products into a single cloud bundle it's calling Microsoft Dynamics 365.

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The new offering, which will be available starting this fall, will include financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project service automation, and customer service, according to a July 6 blog post announcing the new offering.

The Dynamics 365 service will be integrated with Office 365, using a common data model with Microsoft's Office-in-the-cloud service.

Both apps and business processes will be integrated between the two, with Microsoft services like Power BI business intelligence, the Microsoft Flow event-automation and PowerApps development tools for non-professional devs being shared across the services.

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There will also be some kind of connectors available as part of the Dynamics 365 service that will provide custom application programming interfaces that will facilitate integration with other apps and services from Microsoft and partners.

Microsoft also unveiled today a new business service and application finder called AppSource. AppSource is a site where users will be able to find and test line-of-business software-as-a-service apps from Microsoft and its partners. Currently, AppSource includes more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins, and content packs, according to Microsoft officials.

I'm wondering if Dynamics 365 is simply the expansion of Microsoft's Sales Productivity bundle which the company announced two years ago. At that time, Microsoft combined Dynamics CRM Online Professional with Office 365 Plan E3 and Power BI, the company's business analytics service and made that bundle available for $65 per user per month.

Microsoft officials plan to share more information about Dynamics 365 at next week's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto. In the meantime, I will update this post with any additional tidbits I can get regarding what this means for Microsoft's existing CRM and ERP products and services.

Update No. 1: According to MSDynamicsWorld.com, Dynamics 365 will be largely a repackaging and re-architecting of the capabilities of Dynamics CRM, Dynamics AX, and Project Madeira. Project Madeira is Microsoft's new small-business software-as-a-service offering built on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform.

Microsoft is planning to make available two packaging options for Dynamics 365, MSDynamicsWorld said. There will be a "Business" option for small and midsize businesses and an "Enterprise" one for larger deployments. Customers will be able to purchase only the components they need, down to the level of a singular business app.

MSDynamicsWorld was told that Dynamics 365 will be a complement to Microsoft's existing Dynamics ERP and CRM line-up, and not a replacement to any of the existing products there.

Update No. 2: Here are answers to some of my questions about today's announcement, provided to me from a Microsoft spokesperson.

Q: Does Dynamics 365 replace/supersede Project Madeira, which is currently in preview? Or will Madeira still be introduced, too?

A: Coming in the fall, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will include Dynamics 365 Financials for Business, a comprehensive accounting and business management solution for SMBs. That offering is currently in preview in the US today as Microsoft Project "Madeira."

Q: MSDynamicsWorld reported that there ultimately will be two versions of Dynamics 365: Business and Enterprise. What is the difference between these 2? Pricing? Licensing info?

A: Later this fall, we are planning to deliver two editions of Microsoft Dynamics 365: "Business" for SMBs, and "Enterprise" for larger deployments. Each edition has a set of purpose-built applications -- for example, Operations, Sales, and Customer Service.

Dynamics 365 offers customers the flexibility to grow at their own pace and expand into additional capabilities with ease to run their entire business in the trusted Microsoft cloud.

There are 2 ways to license Dynamics 365 - by application or by personalized role. Role-based licensing is designed to help customers to support their employees in real world enabling them to access functionality across all applications within Dynamics 365. We'll share additional details on pricing closer to availability.

Q: Microsoft execs say Dynamics 365 supposedly is not just about repackaging, but also re-architecting. What constitutes the re-architecting?

A: Microsoft Dynamics 365 is our next generation of business apps in the cloud. These apps bring together the full power of Microsoft across productivity, advanced analytics, Power BI and IoT, with the strength of Azure and a new application platform and common data model.

The common data model is a cloud-resident business database, built on years of experience with our enterprise customers. It will come with hundreds of standard business entities spanning both business process (Dynamics 365) and productivity (Office 365). The standardization and consistency of schema enables partners to build innovative applications and to automate business processes spanning the entire business process spectrum with confidence their solutions can be easily deployed and used across Microsoft's entire customer base.

Q: The Wall Street Journal story on Dynamics 365 says this repackaging and rearchitecting also will come to on-prem versions of Dynamics CRM and ERP. Is this correct? When? Will it replace the way the products are sold now?

A: For customers using current Dynamics cloud solutions - Dynamics CRM online or Dynamics AX online - Microsoft Dynamics 365 has been very specifically and carefully designed to be a seamless transition.

For those requiring solutions for on premises or in private clouds, we will continue to innovate in, and support, our great Dynamics CRM, Dynamics AX, NAV, GP and SL solutions. We will also offer customers connectors if they want to use a hybrid of on-premises and cloud solutions and a migration path when they are ready to move to the cloud.

We'll share additional details closer to availability.

Update No. 3 (July 7): Answers (or at least "responses") to two more questions from a company spokesperson.

Q: Will Dynamics 365 replace Dynamics CRM Online and the cloud versions of Dynamics NAV, GP and AX? If so, when will these current cloud services go away?

A: Dynamics 365 builds on and unifies our current Microsoft Dynamics cloud offerings for CRM and ERP. We will have a clear, seamless plan for customers to get Dynamics 365 when its available and will share more details as we get closer to Fall. (MJF: I think this means yes, these existing online Dynamics services will go away. But no word on when.)

Q: Given today's Dynamics 365 announcement is about business processes, I'm wondering how the GigJam collaboration service fits into this. Will GigJam be part of Dynamics 365?

A: We don't have specifics to share on this but can touch base with you on product details as we get closer to Fall

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