April 20, 2020

Your questions answered: Dynamics 365 explained

David Welsby
Solution Lead – Business Applications at Data#3
When we introduce Microsoft Dynamics 365 to organisations, a familiar set of questions often crop up – from costs and deployment instructions, to cloud versus on-premises models. We know you’ve got more important things to do than research “Dynamics” to within an inch of its life, so we’ve pulled together a quick explainer for the top five frequently asked Dynamics 365 questions.

No time to read the full article? Jump to your most pressing questions using the links below.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

We’ll be honest with a little disclaimer here: this question is actually seldom asked by those business leaders who reach out to us. However, web data tells us it’s a top Dynamics query. When commencing a Dynamics 365 implementation journey, having a straightforward explanation will help both organisations and employees understand more about the platform to leverage to its full potential.

At its most basic level, Dynamics 365 is a database that allows businesses to organise and manage their customer and lead data. But the elevator pitch really doesn’t do it justice.

Dynamics 365 is better understood as a family of integrated business applications. It contains not only traditional customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities, but also dozens of apps and add-ons to cater for almost every business process across sales, finance, operations, field service, customer service, HR, commerce and marketing.

The real beauty of Dynamics 365 is in its innate flexibility – everything is configurable to suit your business requirements. For example, you can use stand-alone applications, integrate with existing applications or your total Microsoft stack, or plug in multiple CRM tools to create a single powerful integrated solution. In short, whatever your business size, turnover, product, service or sales model, Dynamics 365 can shape to your needs.

Now that you’ve got a good grasp on the 101 of Dynamics 365, let’s get down into some nitty gritty.

Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud-based?

Yes, Dynamics 365 can be deployed in the cloud but it also has an on-premises option. These days, the vast majority of deployments we see are cloud-based, with the few lingering on-premises implementations.

We’re also witnessing many organisations that have previously opted for on-premises choosing to migrate to the cloud. For some, the impending renewal of an Enterprise Agreement is an obvious point to reassess, with many finding a move to cloud makes better fiscal sense. Others are recognising the limits of their on-premises solution, particularly around supporting remote access.

If you’re debating which model is right for your organisation, please get in touch. We can work with you to determine your needs, review your existing solution, and provide specific recommendations about which Dynamics 365 option is best for you.

How much does Microsoft Dynamics 365 cost?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question because there are so many variables. To understand cost, you need to consider two elements:

  • First, the licencing component which includes the functionalities, customisations and apps required, along with the number of users who need access, and to what degree.
  • Second, the cost of system design and implementation.

Because of this, even the size of a business won’t dictate the price. For example, an SMB with 50 employees can have highly complex business processes that demand a more intricate solution design than a large enterprise with hundreds of users but a much simpler architecture. While there is no magic button to instantly calculate cost, a Fit Gap Assessment can provide the answers you seek.

How does the Data#3 Fit Gap Assessment help me understand costs?

No customer should, or ever would, move forward with a deployment without a view of what they’ll be paying. The best way to reach a more meaningful estimate involves undergoing a detailed consultation and assessment upfront. Data#3’s Fit Gap Assessment is an essential process that establishes a detailed scope of requirements based on your unique objectives and budget.

If those two elements don’t align, the assessment will provide what’s needed for a minimum ‘valuable’ product, determining what needs to be prioritised to allow you to meet business requirements without breaking the bank.

The Fit Gap Assessment is a paid engagement that, depending on project complexity, can take anywhere from 3 to 10 days – with most engagements at 5 or 6. This time allows the Data#3 project team to thoroughly work through and document requirements, resulting in a more comprehensive output document. Doubling as a proposal, this detailed view of your objectives and how Dynamics can deliver the required outcomes provides you with certainty upfront.

How do you install and setup Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Dynamics 365 brings many different facets of an organisation together, but there’s a thread of commonality between every one of these business functions: security and governance. Working with an external partner who can demonstrate comprehensive technical, security and governance knowledge will ensure a smoother, more secure implementation from the outset.

We’ve seen installs – whether completed by customers or with another partner – where security and governance weren’t adequately enforced. This neglect resulted in critical information being made visible across the organisation, as opposed to being accessible to only those who need it – something you will certainly want to avoid.

The Fit Gap Assessment is again critical here, as the output document provides the answers to ‘how to setup’ Dynamics to best serve the business and its needs – without jeopardising security and privacy.

Ready to take the Data#3 Fit Gap Assessment?

As Microsoft’s largest Australian partner and with over 40 years’ experience, we apply our extensive Dynamics expertise to help you get the most out of Dynamics 365. Get in contact with our team to see a demonstration, request a Fit Gap Assessment or learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 can work for your organisation.