What is Microsoft PowerPlatform, what is Microsoft Dynamics 365? And why should you care?
Over the past several months, I have seen several people asking about Microsoft PowerPlatform? And asking what is Microsoft Dynamics 365? What is PowerApps? Where does BizApps fit in? And how are they related? I also hear people wanting to know if Microsoft has a CRM product - which it does. I also know that many people are curious about how any of these products will benefit them. To remove some of this confusion, I wrote this blog. If I can help you with your CRM needs, please do get in touch.
Articles about these key concepts of Microsoft's vision for the future of business technology can quickly deteriorate into 'BuzzWord Bingo', so I decided to provide you with simple, overview answers to these questions. I have also included some video overviews of how Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE benefits your business - before any configuration is completed.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a CRM and ERP platform from Microsoft. It comprises Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE (Customer Experience) and several ERP applications, the most widely used of which being F&O (Finance and Operations) and Business Central. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE used to be called Microsoft Dynamics CRM and first came into being as Microsoft CRM in about 2004.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is now part of Microsoft PowerPlatform. PowerPlatform's mantra is to enable you to quickly build data-driven business solutions - without code.
This diagram (above) shows the key parts of Microsoft PowerPlatform. Between them, they enable you to measure, act and then to automate within your business. Microsoft Power Platform is a "suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment apps for your business needs."
Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform that provides nontechnical business users with tools for aggregating, analysing, visualising and sharing data. It is reporting 'on steroids'.
Microsoft PowerApps is the suite of applications. It includes apps provided by Microsoft for Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Field Service and Project Service. These are the first party apps. However, you can build your own unique apps to solve your business problems - and largely without code. Additional to your own apps and the first party apps, many other apps are available - some for free. These are third party apps.
Microsoft Power Automate is the tool that takes the drudge away from your team members., It empowers you to automate repeated tasks. Power Automate used to be Microsoft Flow.
The newest member of the family is Microsoft Power Virtual Agents. Respond rapidly to your customer and employee needs—at scale—using intelligent chatbots built with Power Virtual Agents. No coding is required.
Microsoft Power BI, PowerApps, Power Virtual Agents and PowerAutomate sit on top of Common Data Service. The common data service holds the data from your apps - think the database. Side by side with the common data service sit the gateways and connectors to almost all other data sources. Microsoft Power Bi, PowerApps and PowerAutomate can also use these connectors to connect to a wide range of other data sources. This means that your CRM and ERP data can be used with data from your website, from SAP, from Oracle databases, from your social media - and more.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is, quite simply, the first party apps, provided by Microsoft, within PowerApps.
Another beauty of PowerPlatform is that is works on almost any device - desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile - on PCs and Macs and using all the mainstream browsers. You can also work with your customer communications directly where you see them - inside Outlook.
To help you understand how Microsoft Dynamics 365 might benefit your business, I have recorded a series of short videos.
In this video I introduce you to how Microsoft Dynamics 365 holds your customer data and I show you how to get around Dynamics 365 - quickly and easily.
Lead to Cash in less than ten minutes!
Microsoft Dynamics 365 supports the whole sales process – sometimes called the 'Lead to Cash' process.
This is shown in the image below.
The video below shows you how this is done in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales App - one of the first party PowerApps.
All sales do progress through these stages and time taken depends on the industry. Boeing's sales process apparently averages seven years!, but most are significantly shorter than that. Even popping to the corner shop for some milk, essentially goes through this process, although the quote is checking price on the shelf, and placing the order is going to the counter, with your wallet out.
It is all fine and good taking a lead from entering it to cash. But if you have a lot of leads coming in to your company via emails, do you have to rekey them? The answer is 'No' and I show you how to avoid this in this next video.
Creating a Lead from an Activity
Activities are how you manage all your interactions with your clients, customers and prospects. Emails can be handled inside Outlook - where you would expect - and, by magic, they appear in your Microsoft Dynamics 365. This means that users needs to change little about how they work with your clients and your organisation still can benefit from activty management.
Sometimes you have to respond to issues in your Client Relationships. Microsoft Dynamics 365 - even in the sales app - helps with managing these challenges.
Customer Service in Microsoft Dynamics 365
In this short video, I show you how Microsoft Dynamics 365 - sales app allows you to manage simple customer service.
What else can Microsoft Dynamics 365 and PowerPlatform do for me and my organisation?
This article is a skim across the surface of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and PowerPlatform. To fully understand how it can help you, you need to understand the challenges and bottlenecks in your organisation at the moment. If those challenges are anywhere in the Customer Relationship, Sales, Marketing or Customer Support, whether that be in the measuring, managing, acting or automating of these, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and PowerPlatform can probably help. As a first step, reach out to me, and have a chat. You can arrange a complimentary chat with me here .