Dynamics 365 Spring Release: 5 Takeaways from an Business Solutions MVP


So the Dynamics 365 Spring Release Launch is upon us. 3 days, 14+ hours of videos and presentations and overwhelming amount of content and change. What does it mean for you? Over the next few blog posts, I will attempt to break down the changes and features discussed in each component to help the community understand the impact. However, I felt it would be great to talk about some “Hidden Gems” inside what was actual being presented and as I see it being a Technology Evangelist and MVP.

 

 

# ONE: DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS HERE TO STAY

Digital Transformation is HERE: If you haven’t noticed, or your still using your older CRM/ERP system, your company is at RISK to become insignificant in your marketplace or channel. Your competitors are deploying and using tools that help them understand their business like never before with predictive analytics from Customer Insights showing your customer retention percentage real-time, Social Engagement managing your social brand and online presence giving you the ability to quickly react, resolve and response before your company reputation is harmed. The “Walmart” class of systems is now available to everyone, at every level with Dynamics 365. Think about it too long, and you will get past by a company using AI models to predict, alter and change their business direction before you even know there’s a problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# TWO: CLOUD, CLOUD, CLOUD

Cloud Cloud Cloud: Cloud is here to stay and Dynamics 365 is taking full advantage of the Azure Cloud Platform. How many times was on-premises mentioned during the presentation by Program PMS you ask? I recorded only 1 time with security team mentioning security changes would come to on-premises as well. On Premises is dead when it comes to innovation. Deal with it. How many times have you been told Azure is nothing more than IaaS? Think again. The solution stack offered via the Azure platform is simply mind blowing, and in my opinion no other cloud partner or platform can keep pace. Azure is no longer about Virtual Machines and Hosting Solutions, it’s become a development hot bed, IOT,  global directory, intelligence & analytical powerhouse! It’s great to see the Dynamics 365 interaction with Azure and its offerings. Educate yourself on what Azure truly can mean for your company. HINT: It’s not just hosting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# THREE: Versatile Platform

Versatile Platform: Many people did not catch all the underlying work to the platform that has enabled the Spring Release to finally escape a monolithic application model and truly become and app centric, modular platform where you can pick and choose the services you need, and that can grow when your ready. Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform team brilliantly executed this move that will set all of us up for the future in many, many ways. First of all, think about having to test all the areas and modules of Dynamics 365 at once. This leads to longer release cycles, inability for rapid change or fixes, and getting bloated to boot. By breaking apart the Dynamics 365 modules into Solutions for Sales (Business Edition/Enterprise Edition),  Marketing and Service this allows each of these areas to work independently of each, removing the dependency will speed up each of these areas ability to resolve challenges and provide new features worrying about a release cycle. I predict we will completely go away from major product releases with Dynamics 365, and follow the Azure release model, of continuous improvement for your business applications, just like the tool you use the most. Your cellphone! It’s updated all the time, with apps changing and updating independently of each other. For ISVs (as fellow MVP Steve Mordue tweeted), this means that Microsoft will now have to work in the same solution model we have been using for System Customization. This will mean great enhancements for the entire community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# FOUR: Unified Client 

Unified Client: As mentioned, the design principals (Uniformity, Styling, Text Wrapping, Font Standardization, White Space Reduction and theming) behind the interface refresh  is based on the new Dynamics 365 interface called the Unified Client. The benefits of the Unified Client are Reusable, Fast Deployment, Deploy Once, Responsive Design, Accessible and Consistent. As seen in the Business Edition, Dynamics 365 App for Outlook and Mobile Versions. Enterprise Edition will get a small face-lift, until the Unified Client can be refreshed across the board. This means, that better than ever before, build it once and deploy every it everywhere. Making sure that all features are available is an amazing feat. As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella recently stated.. “When we talk about Mobile-First, we are talking about the mobility of the experience”. Customer experience is key and the new client looks amazing. Integration with Skype, new configurable timeline entity that final replaces the social/activity pane and so much more. An entire article will be devoted to these changes soon.

Business Edition Screenshot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enterprise Edition Screenshot

Finally, # FIVE: SMB on the same platform 

SMB Platform: The small. medium businesses or business edition version of Dynamics 365 has been eagerly awaited. And this is announcement should be a big win for everyone. I can remember talking about how to accomplish this with the Microsoft Product Team and several MVPS (Donna Edwards, Joel Lindstrom, Steve Mordue, and Gustaf Westerlund). Our concern was we didn’t want another version of CRM, seeing the failures of AX/NAV So-called CRM light offerings. We wanted a solution built on the existing platform with limits (number of  entities, users, workflows, records, processes). Well, we got our wish, and the same underlying platform we love, will soon host the Business Edition “APP” as well. This is a big win for partners and ISVs but also the community. Add in the power to migrate to Enterprise (and possible backwards in the future), this gives SMB the platform the need. Now if we can just stop people trying to find ways to cheat the enterprise license cost and use business edition instead… Think Team Members 🙂

 

 

 


Tampa – Microsoft Global Azure Bootcamp Weekend of April 22


Join #gleonardo, #ccognetta hosting TampaDev and IT Pro’s have teamed up to provide our first ever DevOps event!

Welcome to Global Azure Bootcamp! Around the world user groups and communities want to learn about Azure and Cloud Computing! On April 22, 2017, all communities will come together once again in the fifth great Global Azure Bootcamp event! Each user group will organize their own one day deep dive class on Azure the way they see fit and how it works for their members. The result is that thousands of people get to learn about Azure and join together online under the social hashtag #GlobalAzure!

We will have presentations from Kevin Wolfe, John Wang, Chris Cognetta, and Greg Leonardo on a variety of topics.  We will start the day with general Azure topics, what’s new, and exciting hot topics like:

DevOps and Azure
In order to stay two steps ahead of the competition for market share, many companies have begun to fundamentally shift how they work in order to increase the velocity with which they build, test and release software. What originally started from the agile movement is now evolving into a new philosophical way of working: DevOps. So, what is DevOps?

About Greg Leonardo:
I have been working in the IT industry since my time in the military.  I’m a developer, teacher, speaker, and early adopter.  I have worked in many facets of IT through out my career. I am a Cloud Architect consultant for my company called Webonology.  I’m president of TampaDev, a community meetup, that runs #TampaCC, Azure User Group, Azure Medics, and various technology events throughout Tampa.

IoT Overview
IoT is the latest buzz word.  As with any technology there is hype and there is reality.  In this talk Kevin D. Wolf, Windows Hardware Engineering MVP, will give you a grounds up overview of the reality of IoT, starting from where the data comes from, devices and sensors (The Things).  To how this works in the Cloud (The Internet) within Azure.  Windows Azure plays a huge part of the Internet of things but without Devices and Sensors you don’t have IoT, we will provide a baseline understanding of these so the Cloud and Azure will make more sense.

About Kevin D. Wolf:
Kevin’s company Software Logistics was started in 2001 with a primary focus of providing custom software development consulting services.  Software Logistics primary focus is delivering mobile apps that run on Windows, iOS and Android.  Kevin’s company is also building an azure based IoT solution called NuvIoT to be released the second half of 2017.

Introduction to Azure IoT Hub
This session will provide an overview of Azure IoT Hub. Azure IoT Hub provides the device-to-cloud and cloud-to-device messaging capabilities and acts as the gateway to the cloud and the other key IoT Suite services. The service enables you to receive messages from your devices at scale, and send commands to your devices.

About John Wang:
John Wang is a Back-end .NET Developer. Currently, his interests are IoT, services, cloud computing, virtualization, Powershell and SQL topics. He is an active participant and speaker in the technical community of Tampa Bay area.


CRM, Azure and Me… A new journey has begun.


As I look forward into the future and beyond 2016, I have taken notice of what Microsoft is doing with Azure, and how they are positioning their products CRM, AX and others to leverage Azure services. Many people think Azure is nothing more than a private cloud or Rackspace and Amazon competitor. They couldn’t be more wrong.

A few weeks ago we hosted a AzureCon.com web event at our Tribridge Office’s in Tampa. In little over 1 hour, many people, included myself were blown away. Of course, at first thinking, this is not real, or how can I build a data warehousing infrastructure, setup azure machine language and get English like responses in less than 15 minutes. This had to be vapor ware right? WRONG.

After the video, which can be found here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/azurecon/, I immediately spun up an Azure free trial. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/ I proceeded to walk thru the steps I had recalled and replayed the video. In approx. 25 minutes I had exactly the same setup configured and running. Amazing.

This is truly the next generation of not only cloud, but a complete cloud application development platform, that simply cannot be competed against or ignored. Another example in the video above is Azure Auto scaling capabilities. We have all had that performance challenge at the end of the month processing, needing more bandwidth, or end of the quarter, or even holiday sales event, where the hardware solution purchased couldn’t keep up with the demand.

This is now no longer an issue. With Azure Auto scaling, Azure systems can scale to meet these demands and give you the extra horsepower needed. Pay for only what you need, when you need, not all year long. Truly this is very innovative. We are not talking about adding extra VM’s, web servers etc, this is actually scaling the size of the physical machine, for memory, bus, data, a complete virtual computer. Very neat indeed.

Over the next coming year, I will be working across both CRM and Azure Product Lines, and hope to provide the same level of experience on both platforms with posts that can help everyone. Time to study….