Understanding Microsoft’s cloud application platform

Microsoft’s ambition for its new Dynamics 365 cloud CRM and ERP service is broader than simply creating a subscription service from its on-premises business tools

Understanding Microsoft’s cloud application platform

When the new Dynamics 365 cloud CRM and ERP service comes out this fall, the obvious comparison is going to be toSalesforce (and NetSuite), but Microsoft’s ambition here is broader than just creating a cloud business software subscription service from its on premise business tools.

It’s really about connecting all your business workflows without the artificial divisions created by point solutions for ‘front office’ and ‘back office’ activities. It’s about bringing together all the tools and sources of information — internal, external, on premise, cloud or anywhere else, social as well as financial — in an attempt to finally make businesses truly digital. And it’s what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella means when he talks about “what we're doing with Office 365, Dynamics 365, App Source, LinkedIn as all being part of one strategy.”

“Dynamics 365 is about the unification of what have traditionally been monolithic suites of CRM and ERP, because when a company is running a business process, they don’t think in big sweeps of CRM or ERP functionality, they’re just looking to solve a particular business problem,” says Barb Edson, general manager of IoT cloud services and Windows embedded marketing at Microsoft. “So often, what you want to create is a workflow that cuts across individual business process solutions. But even though there are front office and back office solutions in many companies, those things don’t talk to each other.”

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