More than three years after the launch of Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s combined customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite has finally come of age, according to Gartner senior director analyst Julian Poulter.
When Dynamics 365 was launched in 2016, it was branded by some as a challenger to the likes of Salesforce, while Microsoft corporate vice president, cloud and enterprise, Takeshi Numoto, suggested the release saw the company “taking the first step to bring our customers new, modern, enterprise-ready intelligent business apps”.
Fast forward three years or so, however, and although Dynamics is without doubt considered a “mature” product that has indeed been very successful for Microsoft as a competitor to Salesforce, while it is regarded as a suite, it has not been a fully functioned suite, according to Poulter, until now.
“A full suite would typically contain sales, service, marketing and commerce as a minimum, especially form a mega vendor,” Poulter said in a blog post. “As a mega vendor and provider of a CRM suite it was always surprising that Microsoft did not have a full offering.
“Announced in November 2019 was the availability of an e-commerce function for Dynamics. After adding Marketing [two] years ago, Dynamics could now be considered a full suite with sales, marketing service and now commerce,” he said.
The comments come after Pouter attended a Microsoft Analysts day in Paris and a couple of months after Microsoft revealed it had expanded its Dynamics 365 service with new online commerce and retail store management capabilities, among other features.
For Poulter, the additional functionality Microsoft brought into its Dynamics 365 offering with new features like Dynamics 365 Commerce, Dynamics 365 Connected Store and Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection marked a new chapter for the product suite.
“Microsoft looked internally and decided to productionise its own homegrown e-commerce facility – Microsoft just happens to be one of the worlds largest e-commerce users,” Poulter said. “All of its own software and hardware products are sold through this homegrown platform, which is also now part of Dynamics.
“Scalability should not be an issue but it will be interesting to see in due course if this solution works for smaller enterprises and how well it’s integrated with the rest of dynamics,” he said.
Broadly, Poulter notes that while Microsoft has a “full” suite, it is still a “bit light” on some functionality compared to Salesforce and, particularly, Oracle, as well as SAP.
That said, Poulter concedes that Dynamics has, in the past two years, significantly built out the functionality provided in its offering.
“If this is taken in conjunction with the fact that rather than an integrated suite (of acquired products), it’s more of a single uniform platform and data model,” said Poulter.
“In addition a strong ecosystem of apps and partners, as well as Azure, ensure its a compelling proposition,” he added.