The future of Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects

The future of Dynamics 365 projects will be defined by the people implementing them #HoskCodeWisdom

Dynamics professionals should embrace new technologies and services.  Technology changes and evolves and Dynamics 365 projects adapt to take advantage of them.

Microsoft dropped CRM from Dynamics product, projects evolved from case management, sales pipeline and transforming excel spreadsheets into enterprise projects including legacy software, mobile applications, Azure and other services (Social Engagement, gamification, field service).

Future Dynamics 365 projects will combine digital transformation, intelligence and mobile applications to create projects which deliver business value to the customer.  Customers have changed and want cloud and mobile solutions, the focus has moved it of what can we deliver, not what are the technical limitations.

The drivers of solution architecture are complexity, budget and the knowledge of the architect, no the limitations of Dynamics 365.  The environment has changed and small focused apps being consumed on multiple devices.

Junior Developer

  • Delivers Dynamics 365 projects using the skills, approaches and solutions used previously.

Good Developer

  • Uses familiar solutions combined with new servicesfunctionality and capabilities. Understands new functionality but doesn’t have experience.  Uses new functionality on a project making mistakes during implementation.

Great developer

  • Reads, studies and understands new features, services and functionality in Dynamics 365.  Proof of concepts give practical experience to support theoretical knowledge.

Don’t wait

Don’t wait to try new functionalityservices and tools until  needed because that’s too late.  Dynamics practices should investigate and invest in learning to understand when they to use them.

Examples are Flow, PowerApps, Social engagement, field services, cognitive services, Bots, mobile applications etc.  Microsoft hype new tools and release them with basic functionality, making it difficult to use them on projects.  Identifying the limitations and understanding how these tools work lets you know when to use them and when not to.

examples

  • Flow has no way to script deployment
  • PowerApps is evolving with no scripting deployment
  • Field Service often needs customization to add missing functionality
  • Social engagements interaction with social media services

Past projects

Past projects should not be see as reusable template, they should evolve, improving with new functionality and a better understanding how to architect solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM renamed to Microsoft Dynamics 365 was never just about accounts, contacts, sales processes and case management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an XRM framework, a set of tools to create solutions.   Microsoft created dependencies to sales, marketing and case managementThese common requirements were not needed in many XRM projects and created unwanted dependencies.

The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is now a true XRM framework, you start from a blank slate and use only what you need.

Dynamics projects are not constrained to Microsoft Dynamics 365, they use many Microsoft services (other services are available :-))

• Azure functions and WebJobs allow you to move processing out of Dynamics 365
• PowerApps or quick mobile application
• Common data service enables developers to link data from different sources
• Flow can link different services with Dynamics 365

Breaking free of the shackles of Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows solutions using other services, mobile applications and scaling via Azure. This enables enterprise projects to be created with Microsoft Dynamics 365 at the centre.

Using different services allows Dynamics professionals to tackle different industries, the limit is not technology but imagination and the skill of solution architects.

The future projects of Microsoft Dynamics 365 will include more intelligence and cognitive servicesusing companies’ data proactively to digitally transform businesses.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 continues to evolve, the pace of change is increasing and projects will be bigger, more complex and more fun.

To deliver enterprise projects companies will need to embrace DevOps and bring the best practices of software development to Microsoft Dynamics 365.

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 has changed

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has seen Microsoft move from developing competing products such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Nav, AX and now focus on creating services which are used by all Microsoft products.  Microsoft builds supporting services faster which are more feature rich.

New services and tools

  • Flow
  • PowerApps
  • Azure functions
  • Social engagement
  • PowerBI
  • Cognitive services

The challenge in Dynamics projects is working with its limitations, developers initially thought it wasn’t possible to create complex customisations using Microsoft Dynamics 365 online.

With the tools and services available you can create enterprise solutions, much of it without creating code and using Microsoft Dynamics 365 online.  It’s possible to have full DevOps, automating the manual tasks and improving the robustness of the code which are vital to enterprise projects.

The common data service, PowerApps and Azure stop projects from being constrained to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and ease integration with non-Microsoft services/legacy systems. You can integrate multiple services and Microsoft cognitive services to process customers’ data, automate and add intelligence to data and processes.

The future

Microsoft Dynamics 365 will digital transformation of many business and industries, Dynamics professionals will need to know the tools, services and new Dynamics 365 functionality to enable them to create the best solution.

With change comes disruption and opportunity #HoskWisdom

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5 thoughts on “The future of Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects

  1. Alistair Dickinosn (CEO MyCRM) August 31, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    Great post, but I cant help think that the technology is surpassing the need, take the UK as an example there are 5.4 million SMB organisation who are at the stage of needed a basic CRM. There are 241k small businesses who need CRM with basic integration then about 42k medium and enterprise businesses that need what is now D365. It is a shame that CRM as a product has been dropped in favor or enterprise technology.

    Like

    • Hosk August 31, 2018 / 12:35 pm

      Great comment and I confess I am looking at Dynamics 365 from the perspective of large projects because they are the projects I am involved it. Dynamics 365 is improving its no code functionality and can deliver many the requirements of less complex projects with GUI customisations.

      The common data service, Flow and PowerApps will enable basic integration and allow Dynamics 365 with integration and mobile apps to be delivered with little code.

      Moving to Enterprise projects is possible but it’s difficult with Dynamics 365 (Enterprise projects are difficult full stop) but now DevOps (CI, CO and other automation) is available I think it can be done. Enterprise projects needs to focus on quality, testing and delivery with lots of developers/consultants.

      The more successfully delivered Enterprise projects the more people businesses will choose it or upgrade their projects to Enterprise level. Azure is key in this development because you need to leverage the scalability it offers. Microsoft need to improve the product, it’s processes (delivery cadence) and the enabler services (Flow, PowerApps, Common data service). Microsoft need to work on the quality of new versions, Version 9 had a lot of bugs which made using it and upgrading it difficult and costly.

      Microsoft could do with improving their support, messaging and focus on quality if they want Microsoft Dynamics 365 to be seen as a choice for Enterprise projects.

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      • Alistair Dickinosn (CEO MyCRM) August 31, 2018 / 12:57 pm

        I have to agree, D365 is not quite enterprise just yet, but it seems to be the direction of travel at the cost of SMB. The price point is now a little rich for what is deemed a micro business in the UK, and most partners are micro businesses in size. This means you have a collection of micro businesses trying to sell solutions to medium and enterprise. The SMB market I would imagine will turn to simpler off the shelf offerings, but confess the main 4 market leaders including Microsoft are not addressing this need. There is really only Zoho that have kept their price point and strangely they have the most users, nearly 12 million globally. I can totally understand the need from a provider point of view to push into the enterprise space as bigger investments in technology lead to long gevity of licence return, but after 20 years delivering CRM solutions this is the second time I have seen this, the other was when Seibel, Pivotal and Onyx, Changed direction and focused on the enterprise space. As you know those companies no longer exist, and the upstart at the time was Saleforce. All this new technology is great, but the need for SMB and the lower end of Small Business i.e. sub 25 users is not lots of technology, its simplicity i.e. 2 to 3 weeks up and running with data that can be used for Sales and Marketing. This need has not changed in the last 20 years

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      • Hosk August 31, 2018 / 8:29 pm

        Microsoft has attempted to try to create cut down versions of Dynamics products but never made any progress. The team license is sort of attempt.

        Microsoft is built on Windows server, Azure SQL, Office 365, Exchange. To manage these service, update, invest in future features and maintain/bug fix then it needs to charge a certain amount. For small customers I guess this doesn’t make sense and Microsoft isn’t targeting those because it can’t compete with the other CRM’s you mentioned.

        Microsoft seems to be aiming at companies who want to use Dynamics 365 to create their business applications with out of the box functionality and extending the no code solutions such as Flow, PowerApps, PowerBI. Instead of getting developers to create solutions it wants it power users or less expensive developers to create solutions.

        Microsoft’s goal is to encourage companies to sign up for all Microsoft products and buy into the whole eco system.

        Like

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