5 min read

Insights from the Engineering Leaders behind Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource

James Phillips, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Applications, Platform and Intelligence Group

Jujhar Singh, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics CRM


Today is a remarkable day for Microsoft, and more importantly for our partners and customers. As the engineering leaders for our business applications and the application platform innovation Microsoft is delivering, we’re excited about the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Today’s announcements reflect our broader vision for the future of business process apps. 

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. 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.

We’re fortunate we get to speak with customers and partners every day. We get the opportunity to hear their perspective on product improvements we must make and learn how our products stack up to others in the industry. From that perspective we worked with our teams to identify some of the top questions we anticipate from you – our customers and partners – and wanted to take a moment to address them in this blog.

We are extremely excited about this next step in business process innovation and look forward to hearing from partners at our Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, and hearing what customers think of AppSource and the launch of Dynamics 365 this Fall.


What will Microsoft Dynamics 365 give me that I don’t already get today?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 will bring together the best of our CRM and ERP cloud offerings into one cloud service with specific, purpose built, apps for each of your key business processes – like Finance, Sales, Customer Service, etc.

Dynamics 365 apps will also provide you with a modern and familiar experience with built in insights, intelligence and workflow. To ensure interoperability and extensibility they also use a common data model and consistent application platform.

The combination of these things gives customers a comprehensive solution for business process innovation that lets them:

  • Start with what they need by offering apps that fit roles, industries, businesses – and grow at their pace to run their entire business in the cloud.  
  • Enable greater productivity where they need it by connecting structured workflow of business applications (Dynamics 365) and processes with the unstructured work of collaboration and productivity (Office 365) so employees are empowered with productivity tools surfaced in the context of their business processes, and vice versa.
  • Gain built-in, actionable, intelligence with business applications that infuse big data, advanced analytics and IoT into processes which proactively guide employees and customers to optimal outcomes. With Dynamics 365, data and insights are transformed into intelligent action right where it’s needed, and without requiring an army of rocket scientists to make it happen.
  • Be ready for growth through nimble, adaptable applications, that allow them to compose, modify and extend processes in real-time. Power BI, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow empower business users to change and adapt their processes without requiring IT support. And organizations can reimagine their business model with a consistent, flexible, extensible platform.


Why did you choose the name Microsoft Dynamics 365 and what does it represent?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is our next generation of business apps in the cloud. These apps bring together the full power of Microsoft across productivity, advanced analytics, Power BI and IoT, with the strength of Azure and a new application platform and common data model. As such, the new name reflects the significance of the offering and the coming together of the two worlds structured business processes and unstructured personal productivity so our business customers can achieve more.


How much will Microsoft Dynamics 365 cost?

The business application industry has traditionally presented customers with a range of “siloed” applications. When Dynamics 365 launches later this year we want to give customers a new choice. While we’ll support the traditional approach and allow customers to license Dynamics 365 by application (Financials, Operations, Sales, Marketing, etc.) they will also be able to license users by “role.” Our new role based approach will give customers the flexibility they need to support modern, more agile, more diverse employee roles – enabling them to access functionality across all applications within Dynamics 365. We’ll share additional details on pricing closer to availability.


Does this mean that I need to re-implement or migrate my current cloud solutions? 

No. Microsoft Dynamics 365 has been very specifically and carefully designed to be a seamless transition for those customers using Dynamics CRM online or Dynamics AX online. 


Will Microsoft Dynamics 365 be available on-premises?

No. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud service so it will not be available, as is, on premises or in private clouds.

We will continue to innovate in, and support, our great Dynamics CRM, Dynamics AX, NAV, GP and SL solutions. We will also offer customers connectors if they want to use a hybrid of on-premises and cloud solutions and a migration path when they are ready to move to the cloud.


What is the “common data model” and what role does it play with Microsoft Dynamics 365?

The common data model is a cloud-resident business database, built on years of experience with our enterprise customers. It will come with hundreds of standard business entities spanning both business process (Dynamics 365) and productivity (Office 365). The standardization and consistency of schema enables partners to build innovative applications and to automate business processes spanning the entire business process spectrum with confidence their solutions can be easily deployed and used across Microsoft’s entire customer base.


What platform should partners use to build solutions today?

Partners should use Power BI, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Microsoft Azure to create composite business applications spanning Dynamics 365, Office 365 and, via a large and growing family of connectors, third-party databases and applications.

To extend the functionality of individual Dynamics 365 apps, partners may continue to use native application extensibility frameworks built-in to the CRM and the AX platforms.


Will partners continue to sell business apps from Microsoft?

Absolutely. Partners are a key part of our strategy and have always been a key part of how our customers get the most from their technology investments. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 partners will have even more opportunity to focus on specific customer needs, build apps to differentiate themselves in the market and take advantage of new opportunities and revenue streams. Microsoft AppSource provides a modern discovery and provisioning system for these solutions.


What are the benefits for customers and for ISVs listing on Microsoft AppSource? 

For customers, Microsoft AppSource is your destination to easily find and evaluate the apps from Microsoft and our partners that drive your business.

For ISVs, Microsoft AppSource is your destination to market line-of-business (LoB) SaaS apps to business users. Drive discoverability and usage of your apps within an existing global network of business customers through co-marketing opportunities, lead generation and the support of Microsoft’s worldwide ecosystem and sales force. Harness Azure’s leading, secure and intelligent cloud services platform and tools to deliver differentiated apps to customers.