Microsoft is overhauling its existing customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions into a new cloud-based offering with purpose-built apps for specific business functions and integration with the Office 365 suite to drive business processes.
Due to be available sometime this autumn, Microsoft Dynamics 365 evolves the company's current CRM and ERP tools into a new cloud-only platform with a modern and familiar experience plus built in insights, intelligence and workflow, the firm said.
Dynamics 365 will actually be made up of separate purpose-built apps designed to address specific business functions, including financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project service automation and customer service, designed so they can be independently deployed, but work together seamlessly as required.
Power BI and Cortana intelligence capabilities have also been built into the apps to provide customers with predictive insights and prescriptive advice to help them meet business goals.
Meanwhile, integration with the cloud-based Office 365 productivity suite will enable the structured workflow of the Dynamics 365 apps to drive business processes, such as creating and sending an email quote based on information pulled from the Finance and Sales apps, all without the user having to leave Outlook, according to Microsoft.
This integration is thanks to a common data model across Office 365 and Dynamics 365, based on a cloud-resident database for each customer. This will also enable partners to build innovative applications that deliver additional capabilities to further automate business processes.
"Business processes are at the core of every business. Across all industries our customers are looking to adapt their customer engagement and business operations processes to the digital era, to secure and expand their businesses," said Jujhar Singh, corporate vice president for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
"This digital transformation requires a degree of business process agility, and a unification across the business, not supported by the traditional ‘siloed' ERP and CRM approach of the past."
Microsoft also announced AppSource, a new online app marketplace intended to let business users find and try out cloud-based line-of-business apps from Microsoft and its partners.
"For customers, Microsoft AppSource is your destination to easily find and evaluate the apps from Microsoft and our partners that drive your business," said Singh.
Details on prices for Dynamics 365 will be announced closer to availability, Microsoft said, but the firm hinted that it intends to deliver a new licensing model whereby customers can provision users based on their role rather than by specific applications.
"Our new role-based approach will give customers the flexibility they need to support modern, more agile, more diverse employee roles," Singh said.
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