Business Intelligence Business Operations Manufacturing AI

Est. reading time: 5 minutes
Author: Nikhil Kanukuntla

Dynamics 365 is a cloud-first platform providing CRM (customer relationship management) solutions for businesses. The platform takes a modular approach and offers a suite of products which can be tweaked and defined according to business needs.

Nikhil Kanukuntla

Junior Software Engineer passionate about developing their craft.


Dynamics 365 has become a key figure in the cloud CRM space in terms of market share, frequency of use and customer satisfaction. Its adaptability, integration capabilities, and robust data security and governance make it an attractive option for businesses seeking digital transformation from the ground up. Businesses seeking to migrate from an existing CRM may be enticed by the relative affordability of Dynamics 365 with its numerous licensing options, benefiting SMEs all the way up to enterprise organisations. But what exactly is Dynamics 365, and how can it improve business operations for you?

Dynamics 365 is a cloud-first platform providing CRM (customer relationship management) solutions for businesses. The platform takes a modular approach and offers a suite of products which can be tweaked and defined according to business needs.

Dynamics 365 offers a range of business intelligence apps as well as sub-apps and add-ons.

The platform offers several independent but connected business functions for automated, integrated, and intelligent sales marketing. This enables cohesive and centralised solutions which can touch all areas of your business.

The business areas (or modules) within Dynamics 365 include sales, customer service, and marketing. Each module can customise your CRM system to suit your organisation and track your customer needs effectively, dependant on your role or task.

Using the capabilities of each of these modules you can begin to systematically convert your sales leads into paying customers. For example, you may calculate a lead score which considers job role, details about the specific organisation in question, and actions taken by the relevant contact during customer communications. This allows you to strengthen your marketing efforts by nurturing the most promising leads or troubleshoot ailing ones, all the while providing insights for next actions to acquire and retain customers.

Dynamics 365’s customer engagement applications are built on the Microsoft Power Platform, enabling you to craft custom and automated experiences around your data and processes using Power BI, Power Apps or Power Automate with minimal coding required.

The baked-in business intelligence of Dynamics 365 is most evident from their AI suite of products. These allow you to use the power of AI to prevent fraud, deliver astute, data-driven customer communications, and convert your observational data into actionable insights.

The history of Dynamics 365 involves Microsoft’s acquisition of smaller ERP systems developed by other companies, such as Great Plains (GP) and Axapta (AX) - both now part of the Dynamics 365 family. As part of integrating these systems, Microsoft have built Dynamics 365 on top of Microsoft Azure, itself an ever-expanding and industry-trusted platform with a broad ecosystem of services. Consequently, unlike other cloud CRMs, Microsoft use their own data centres and offer a 99.9% SLA supported by their own Trust Center policies.

Businesses used to the Microsoft look-and-feel from popular SaaS offerings within Office 365 or Sharepoint will feel right at home using Dynamics 365 as it includes a similar UI/UX as well as native integration with your favourite productivity apps. For example, Microsoft offer add-ins for Excel to analyse and edit data from Microsoft Dynamics systems to increase productivity and ensure data accessibility.

A sample sales activity social dashboard below shows open leads with a breakdown of lead sources. On the left is a sales funnel graphic, outlining the leads according to their corresponding stages with estimated revenue figures attached. You can move leads along by qualifying them as opportunities, allowing you to then put forward a quote and close an order.

An example of the Dynamics 365 Sales Hub Dashboard

Executive View

The Dynamics 365 suite of applications is designed to be flexible and extensible. You can license the apps that provide the best value for your organisation and select services according to organisational needs.

Access to the global fabric of Azure data centres give you piece of mind when it comes to data uptime and ensures high availability. The hybrid model option also means that you can choose what information you would like to remain on premises and what can be moved to the cloud, allowing you to use a SaaS solution wherever you are able to reduce infrastructure costs.

Dynamics 365 helps businesses:

  • streamline processes by making actionable insights from heaps of organisational data
  • adopt AI natively into organisational marketing efforts
  • remain in the Microsoft ecosystem and benefit from the native integrations Dynamics 365 offers

Business function leader view

Dynamics 365 benefits from Microsoft’s extensive cloud infrastructure which means you can take advantage of preferred data centres around the world. This ensures you are using data services with proximity to your users and reduce latency. Department leaders can also take advantage of role-based access control via Azure Active Directory.

You may need this service if:

  • you are looking for an all-in-one business application with finance, operations, sales, service, manufacturing and project management capability
  • your team has access to large volumes of data but is not using it to make predictions or decisions
  • you need to ensure full ownership and encryption options over your data
  • you are a growing organisation, and you require a modular CRM that will grow with you

The KPIs you should consider measuring for this are:

  • increased sales of your product
  • improved customer retention
  • increased lead generation
  • increased efficiency with customer communications
  • increased profits

Technical View

Dynamics 365 provides a cloud-ready, centralised approach for your CRM operations no matter the size of your organisation. Technical teams will enjoy the opportunity to utilise heaps of observational data for actionable insights.

Dynamics 365 helps deliver:

  • seamless application and data source integration
  • business intelligence and AI adoption

Get this service if you encounter:

  • a lack of cohesion between departments when it comes to using data
  • problems with connecting teams to a single unified solution
  • high infrastructure costs pushing you to a cloud-first approach

Key criteria to consider are:

  • Dynamics 365 is more rewarding to teams committed to the Microsoft ecosystem due to its native integration capabilities. How will your organisation’s non-Microsoft applications factor into the CRM process?
  • What are the data needs of all departments and how can Dynamics 365 be best utilised to meet them?