Microsoft readies private previews of Dynamics 365 sales and marketing apps for SMBs

Microsoft is readying its next wave of Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP apps and updates. Officials provided partners with a three-day preview of some of what to expect with the July 2017 refresh.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is running late with its plans to deliver new Dynamics 365 sales and marketing apps for small/midsize business users by mid-2017.


Last week, Microsoft provided its Dynamics partners with three days of non-confidential briefings regarding what's coming next for its Dynamics 365 product line. Officials showed off details of the July 2017 Dynamics 365 app suites, highlighting the new unified interface, mobile app updates, business-intelligence additions and more.

For those needing a quick refresher, Microsoft originally announced plans for Dynamics 365 in July 2016. Officials said at that time that Dynamics 365 would be largely a repackaging and re-architecting of the capabilities of Dynamics CRM, Dynamics AX, and Project Madeira. Project Madeira, the codename for Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Financials component, is a new small-business software-as-a-service offering built on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform.

Microsoft began offering the first seven discrete Dynamics 365 applications in November last year. While most of the apps that were part of Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition were there, the Sales and Marketing apps for Dynamics 365 Business edition were not. Last year, officials were saying these would be available to SMB users in the second quarter of calendar 2017.

Last week, however, Microsoft officials changed their tune, saying private previews of the coming Dynamics 365 Business edition Sales and Marketing apps would be coming in July. Officials did not provide dates as to when customers would see public preview and/or final versions of either of these apps.

During last week's partner briefings, Microsoft officials also said the next update to Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights would add even more buzzy technologies, including machine learning, plus more analytical, predictive and other capabilities.

As MSDyanmicsWorld.com and others have noted, Microsoft is trying to distance itself from "CRM" and "ERP" in describing its Dynamics 365 line-up, despite the fact that this is the nomenclature most customers still use.

Here's a quick guide to some of the preferred (and in some cases, actually announced) branding/rebranding that the Dynamics 365 team is using -- for those trying to keep up at home.

Old: New

Dynamics CRM: Dynamics Customer Engagement

Dynamics 365 for Operations Enterprise: Dynamics 365 Unified Operations Plan

Dynamics 365 for Financials: Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1: Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 2: Dynamics 365 Plan

Common Data Model: Common Data Service

Note: I have seen slightly different wording on a number of the entries above. This is my best attempt at trying to resolve them.

Update (July 3): Here's Microsoft's latest Dynamics 365 pricing page, which provides the official new naming conventions. It also mentions device-based pricing ($75 per device per month) available to some enterprise users, as well as new Team and Activity pricing.

A number of Microsoft Dynamics partners blogged and tweeted about last week's various Dynamics 365 announcements. Here are a couple of other related links that may be worth checking out:

Microsoft shows Dynamics 365 CRM interface refresh, mobile updates and slew of app enhancements

All You Need to Know About Dynamics 365 v9.0 (For Now)

Dynamics 365: Thoughts on the Business Edition

Previous CRM and Version 9 compared in one nice diagram

Microsoft has a lot of balls in the air with Dynamics 365. The company is working to integrate LinkedIn's various offerings with Dynamics 365. Execs also recently reorganized some of the teams inside its Cloud and Enterprise business unit in a way that affects the management and reporting responsibilities for some of its Dynamics 365 teams.

Microsoft will likely (and hopefully) talk more about its Dynamics 365 plans and line-up at the company's Inspire worldwide partner conference in mid-July in Washington, D.C.

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