eCommerce + CRM the Microsoft Dynamics 365 advantage

Launched by Microsoft late last year, Dynamics 365 was expected to be a bit of a mash-up thrown together by the software giant in an attempt to retain a foothold in the market. A combination of customer relationship management (CRM) put together with enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, the Cloud-based platform turned out to be flexible, innovative, and crucially, efficient. Thousands of businesses invested in the software early on, almost immediately seeing a positive business result.

The unified approach of Dynamics 365 enables businesses to move seamlessly between CRM and software applications such as stock, marketing, inventory and financial. It integrates and replaces what were two separate solutions, Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM

Whereas before, users needed to navigate in and out of the programs, these are now all connected using the Common Data Model, which also enables anyone from partners and businesses to developers and end users to create purpose-built applications, specific for an industry. The result is a robust and discrete marketplace system. The model also means that businesses with legacy AX and CRM data models can still use them.

Because the platform is modular, businesses can include only the modules that they need. This makes the user journey more efficient, cutting down on wasted time, duplications, and possible mistakes. Businesses only need to pay for what they use.

With this solution, e-commerce businesses can also easily connect shoppers between their online and in-store shops, across multiple devices, and include options from various channels, such as buying online and collecting in-store. As Dynamics 365 also integrates fully with Office 365, users can operate across multiple applications without having to leave the program they are in. For example, responding to an email in Outlook could involve pulling in data from the Finance module, without actually leaving Outlook.

Pricing for Dynamics 365 varies depending on the plan and plans start at US$50 each month, although many business users will be able to utilise various bundles, groups and tiers that may lower that price. What’s useful though, particularly for the SME market, is that the platform will be a set amount each month that doesn’t vary.