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MicroSoft Dynamics 365 ERP

Microsoft has heavily invested in their cloud solutions, and Dynamics 365 is a great representation of that investment paying dividends. ERP is a broad category, and Microsoft has split the business functions into discrete modules that each speak to your business’s specific needs.

Microsoft Dynamics 365, a Sophisticated ERP

For the upper mid-market and enterprise business, Microsoft is still a stalwart vendor. They offer best practice features, a true cloud delivery, and a mix-and-match approach to modules that ensures they're price competitive. For the business that's already deeply ingrained in the Microsoft ecosystem with Office 365, Sharepoint, or Active Directory, Microsoft Dynamics 365 becomes even more compelling.

Selecting an ERP system is a nuanced, intricate process, with many factors to consider. In some ways there are no right answers, while simultaneously having many wrong answers. Fortunately, Microsoft has brought to market a quality solution in their Dynamics 365 solutions that offer a number of great answers and few that are wrong.

Microsoft Dynamics is the current evolution of a number of historical ERP endeavors. In some ways, it's the culmination of the acquisition of Great Plains and Navision, the latter of which was the source of the Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics Nav products. Slowly, but surely Microsoft has been planning, architecting, and developing new versions of these products to exist in the cloud, and eventually releasing them in late 2016. Rather than taking a purely "all-in-one" approach, Microsoft opted to keep large disparate functions of ERP as separate modules, allowing businesses to pick and choose those functions they needed while opting out of those functions that didn't relate to their business. This flexibility on features and pricing has helped Microsoft Dynamics 365 gain great traction in the market.

We work with a lot of tools and systems at GRAYBOX, and we really like what Microsoft has done with Dynamics 365. To start, the product offers great ERP functionality, built on the experience of decades of software development in the previous incarnations of the product. This ensures that the features an enterprise business would expect in an ERP system -- robust financial tracking and reporting, sophisticated inventory management and demand planning, and broad oversight of the full organization -- are all present in the product. In addition, being in the Microsoft ecosystem opens the door to a number of unified tool sets across Office 365, Active Directory, and Sharepoint tools. Finally, for the business analyst and data nerds, writing queries for data access will be familiar territory.

We find that the Dynamics 365 suite is a great fit for a business that has some sophistication of business needs, but may have need for deeper functionality in some areas of the business than in others. The module & feature breakdown that Microsoft has created in how they bundle and decouple features allows more of an a la carté approach to how you build your toolset, which is great for the business that, for example, has deep inventory and operational needs, but no professional service or CRM needs. Microsoft additionally provides inclusive bundles that group together common feature sets at more affordable price points to fit well within different industry verticals. The Dynamics 365 product suite also tends to get the nod when a company is already heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. Existing, seamless integrations with Outlook/Exchange, Office 365, Active Directory, etc. mean your ERP functions and business operational functions are all linked together, building greater efficiencies. The main drawback to Dynamics 365 is that the primary modules are still somewhat distinct from each other. While this allows each to be developed and iterated without impact to the others, it also means data is integrated between them, rather than simply existing in a single, cohesive piece of software like SAP B1 or NetSuite. As a result, not every piece of data is easily reportable between every module, so businesses that have very dynamic and far reaching data reporting needs may have some headwinds to overcome in gathering that data in an easily digestible format.

As with any ERP conversation, Microsoft Dynamics is potentially the right ERP for your business, depending on a multitude of factors. The pace with which your business is growing, external systems with which you need to integrate, and the core business operational, accounting, reporting, and forecasting needs are all key drivers in the decision making process. At GRAYBOX we love untangling these complex bundles of needs and crafting a well honed and effective plan for moving forward. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the tools we feel meets a lot of business needs across a wide spectrum of industries and business sizes, and we're great at helping you arrive at the right decision for your business.

License Flexibility For Your Needs

Rather than an all or nothing approach, Microsoft has bundled various combinations of modules that are commonly used together. This allows businesses to pick and choose only those features they really need.

Use Your Existing Microsoft Tools

Dynamics 365 is closely integrated with Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, Sharepoint, and Active Directory. For the company already leveraging multiple Microsoft tools, Dynamics 365 offers an easy way to integrate your ERP to the rest of your business.

Features That Are Broad & Deep

Microsoft has leveraged years of development and purchased products to combine both breadth and depth of features. Your business can reliably leverage these tools today, and in the future as your requirements evolve.

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