If you’ve been working in Microsoft Business Applications for more than a couple of years you may be aware that Microsoft moved Microsoft Dynamics 365 to Azure. In the past, this resided in the same data-centres as Azure but did not run on Azure.
That started to change over the last 24 months when Microsoft moved Dynamics 365 on to Azure and started a process of separating Dynamics 365 from the underlying platform.
App Separation with Dynamics 365
As part of this process, apps have been split off into their individual workloads and we now have Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamic 365 for Customer Service and Dynamics 365 for Marketing as well as many more.
This is an exciting transformation that the team has been working through under the leadership of James Phillips who hit the ball out of the park when he led the team that made Microsoft Power BI the best enterprise reporting platform in market.
Since Phillips came to the role we have seen the continued breaking down of traditional silos of CRM and ERP and the view that business want to create line-of-business applications that meet their needs that in many situations do not fit into cookie cutter CRM/ERP.
Also, customers may want one application such as sales without the need for customer service as an example, and no longer have to take it as part of a CRM solution.
The Rise of the Platforms – The Microsoft Power Platform
This app separation left the platform free for others to build applications with the same level of sophistication as those built by Microsoft.
As Ben Vollmer likes to put it…“I would call Dynamics 365 Apps Tier 0 ISV Products on the Power Platform” – take this as a metaphor as intended not literally.
Long live the Microsoft Power Platform
What does it mean now that we have the Microsoft Power Platform? ……Well, it opens up doors of opportunity.
Now anybody can build their own application with the same level of functionality and sophistication that Microsoft has available to Dynamics 365 apps.
When you consider working on any project that might involve Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Power Platform one of the questions you need to ask yourself is,
“Do I really need to use Dynamics 365?” …..In other words, if you are going to create an application let’s say to manage guide dogs, which has been an example that’s been around for years, well, you don’t really need a CRM system for that.
You don’t really need customer relationship management, or you don’t necessarily need functionality of the opportunity; or the lead, or the case entity, or a marketing entity.
If you’re building an application to manage the life cycle of, let’s say, rearing a guide dog, that’s a classic solution that can be built directly on the Microsoft Power Platform.
Yes, it can have all the sophistication, the automation, the work-flow, the reporting, the ability for people outside the organisation to even access that data via portals. That’s all available to you, as part of the Microsoft Power Platform, but you don’t have to take a dependency on a Dynamics 365 app.
Really, if you’re ever building an application that has no need for any of those first-party apps, core Dynamics 365, there’s really no reason to use them at all. Start from a common data model, build up your Common Data Services, and then create your experiences using canvas or model driven apps at the presentation layer.
Let’s get back to the Subject
Is Dynamics 365 dead? Absolutely not.
You know – apps like Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, and Business Central, and talent, and retail, and even now, in the Mixed-Reality area, Dynamics 365 is absolutely not going away.
The reason I spoke about it at the recent executive briefing at eXtreme, in Amsterdam, is that I wanted to shock people out of defaulting to taking a first-party app to build a new line of business application.
I’ve been building apps now for, 16 years, working in the space, and there are many times I’ve totally butchered Dynamics CRM, what we’d now call CE, to make a line of business application.
I always like to quote a friend of mine, Mitch Milam. He is a former MVP, now working back at Microsoft, and he used to say…
“If you’re going to butcher an out-of-the-box entity, in other words, you’re going to turn the opportunity into something other that what it was intended for, don’t do it, creat a new entity instead”
This idea now applies to the entire app. If you don’t need the functionality of Dynamics 365 for Sales or Customer Service. Don’t use them. Build your app directly on the Power Platform.
I’m interested to know what your views are, and what this pivot means for you.
Feel free to leave comments below. You can disagree or agree with me, but I hope this sets the record straight on, Dynamics 365 is dead.