Choosing a Version of Microsoft Dynamics 365

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.18″]

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Versions

The focus of this blog is currently the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Service applications. But for context, we supply the full, current list of business software applications that make up Microsoft Dynamics 365. It should be understood that with bundling, it’s possible to use most or all of these applications with a single price that is far lower than if they are chosen individually. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a product in a constant state of evolution.  Thus, we can only report the available versions at the time of this post (early November 2018.)  We have no doubt that what we present below will change, but you can always check the latest version simply by visiting Microsoft’s site devoted to the family of products, which is currently or by simply typing “Microsoft Dynamics 365” in your favorite web browser and following the likely link. Currently, Microsoft Dynamics 365 consists of a wide range of business applications, some of which are very recently added, and some of which were present from the beginning and have gone through a great deal of refinement. Table 1 below shows the application, a quick tagline to explain it, and the approximate date of release.  

Application Release Quick Description
Sales Jan 2003 Leads, Opportunities, and Customer Management
Customer Service Jan 2003 Cases, KB Articles, Queues, and Contracts
Field Service Mar 2016 Work Orders, Dispatch and Service Scheduling
Talent Jul 2017 HR Management (Recruiting, Onboarding)
Finance and Operations 2016-2017 Formerly “AX” (rebranded twice) – a complete ERP solution. Finance, Operations, Supply Chain. Generally, for larger organizations.
Retail   Storefront Management, Payment, Merchandise Management
Project Service Automation Mar 2016 Project Planning, Costs, Sales, Resource Management, Delivery, and Billing
Marketing (Adobe Marketing Cloud) 2017-2018 Analytics, Prospect Tracking and Management. This requires an inquiry to Microsoft to get this set up.
Marketing (Dynamics 365) Apr 2018 Automated Marketing Campaigns, Landing Pages, Prospect Nurturing, Response Analytics
AI for Sales 2018 Artificial Intelligence add-on for Dynamics 365 for Sales
Ai for Service 2018 Artificial Intelligence add-on for Dynamics 365 for Service
Mixed Reality 2018 Virtual Reality devices used to remotely troubleshoot and collaborate
Business Central 2018 ERP for small business – all-in-one financial, operations, marketing, service, and sales (Originally “NAV”).

  Table 1 – List of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Applications (11/2018) Choosing the application or applications from the suite that is Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be a daunting task, although if you approach it systematically, it should not take an onerous amount of time. Here is how we would suggest you approach it:

  1. Identify high-level problems that your company has or needs that are not being fulfilled by your current processes. Keep this list high-level at first.
  2. Review the Overview and perhaps an introductory video of each of the applications that might assist in your quest for business software. Look for some use cases for the applications that interest you the most.
  3. After you have reviewed what is available, return to the list of high-level needs and add to them, since you may have uncovered possibilities that you didn’t know existed from the overviews, videos, and use cases.
  4. Create a matrix that uses the applications and columns and the rows as your needs. Place a checkmark in each cell for the need that could potentially be met by the respective software.

An abbreviated matrix is shown below so you get an idea.  

Category Need Sales Svc PSA Mark
Sales Lead Qualification X      
Sales Opportunity Management X      
Customer Svc Service Requests   X    
Customer Svc Contract Management   X    
Pro Services Software solution project management/delivery     X  
Pro Services Quote and Invoicing X      
Sales Reporting X      
Marketing Email campaigns, analytics tracking       X

  Table 2 – Need/Feature Matric Example The Sales and Service applications are broken up into two offerings levels:

  • Professional
  • Enterprise

At the time of this writing (November 2018), Microsoft just released a new licensing guide that indicates that the most significant difference between these two versions is a limit of 15 custom entities for the Professional version.  There is a limit of 1500 custom entities in the Enterprise version, which we would argue is no effective limit, since we can think of no use case where anywhere near that number of entities would be required. We can easily imagine, however, a scenario when fifteen custom entities may not be enough to create a robust custom solution for a line-of-business application.  Considering this limitation, if you are planning to deploy the Professional version (at the time of this writing, the Pro version of Sales and Service is $30/user/month less expensive than the Enterprise version), there are two strategies that will be covered in the Customization section of this book – Global Option Sets and re-purposing entities.