Author: Daniel Johnson, Vice President Business Development
I’m hearing it a lot lately. Usually whispered secretively in the CFO or CIO’s office after checking under the desk for listening devices. They lean in, glance side to side, and then they ask it “What is Dynamics 365 anyway?”
Is it Dynamics NAV? Is it Dynamics AX? Dynamics CRM? How about Dynamics GP?
My answer is: Sort of. Yes. It depends. And No.
“Wow, thanks Dan, that really clears things up” they say while pushing me out the door.
But wait! I can explain!
There are a few moving parts that need to be explained in greater detail to understand the subtle, yet important, differences between the multiple flavors of Dynamics 365.
First, let’s talk Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Business edition (formerly Dynamics 365 for Financials). This is an Enterprise Resource Planning software application sold as a subscription “SaaS”. It was based on the code and user interface of Dynamics NAV, formerly Navision. But, and this is important, it is not functionally equal to the full on-premise version of NAV. It’s going to do the basics really well – Accounting (GL, AP, AR, FA), Reporting, Inventory Management, and Purchasing. For $40 per user per month, it does not have many of the advanced features that the full Dynamics NAV system has like manufacturing and advanced supply chain management…yet. But that “yet” is very important because Microsoft intends to roll those capabilities in at some point. In fact, on their Website, it claims that more Operations features are “Coming Soon”. The when and at-what-cost, however, are still to-be-determined.
Next is Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Enterprise edition. This is Dynamics AX. Let me repeat that: This is Dynamics AX. In fact, when it was first in beta it was called “AX 7”. This is the functional equivalent of the on-premise Dynamics AX sold as a service/subscription model and deployed in the cloud as a browser-based ERP application. It does everything that Dynamics AX 2012 R3 did and so much more. Will it be available as a server-based software at some point? Rumors abound but no firm dates have been released yet.
Finally (for the purposes of this blog) is Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, and Dynamics 365 for Marketing. These collectively are what was formerly known as Dynamics CRM or “Microsoft CRM” as it is often referred to. It too is sold as a subscription in the cloud. You can technically buy it as an on-premise license still but tends to be cost-prohibitive for most. This is traditional CRM for salesforce and pipeline management, customer service operations, and marketing automation. It can be licensed as a stand-alone system or can be licensed alongside, and integrated to, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Enterprise or Business editions.
What does this mean for applications like Dynamics GP (we old-timers still call it Great Plains), Dynamics NAV, and SL? The answer is – not much really. Or at least no change. If you go to the “Roadmap” pages for each of the applications it shows ongoing development for the foreseeable future. There are also planned releases of the new versions of GP and NAV slated for the coming year.
Still have questions? I hope so! I do too and I’m always working diligently to keep up with the ever-evolving Microsoft solution landscape for you. Drop me a line sometime and together we can figure out what’s best for you and your business.
Daniel Johnson, Vice President Business Development
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