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Microsoft pushes into the cloud with Dynamics 365

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Microsoft recently announced Dynamics 365, a cloud-based service that merges its current CRM and ERP products and offers new purpose-built apps to manage specific business functions, including Financials, Field Service, Sales, Operations, Marketing, Project Service Automation and Customer Service.

Available in the fall, Dynamics 365 apps are designed to be easily and independently deployed. “That means you can start small and pay only for what you need,” wrote Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president, Microsoft Cloud + Enterprise division in a company blog.

The apps work together seamlessly, he added, “so as your business demands, you can grow into additional capabilities with ease. They include built-in insights, predictive intelligence and workflow optimization, all of which will be delivered through simple, easy-to-use, mobile experiences with offline capabilities.”

Power BI and Cortana Intelligence will be natively embedded to provide predictive insights, prescriptive advice and actionable next steps. “For example, Cortana Intelligence will enable cross-sell recommendations to help sales reps predict which products and services a customer needs. Access to IoT data inside Field Service will let field service agents monitor assets and detect anomalies so that they can take action before failure occur and avoid costly customer service issues,” Numoto said.

Dynamics 365 will be deeply integrated with Office 365 to connect structured workflow of business apps with the unstructured work of collaboration and productivity. A sales person can respond to an email directly in Office with a quote that is created from information found in both Finance and Sales apps together with the right pricing, discounts and so forth, without leaving Outlook, Numoto explained.

Dynamics 365 uses a common data model to simplify data management and integration across apps and business processes.

Microsoft also introduced AppSource, a new app store to distribute cloud-based business applications from Microsoft and its partners. At launch, it will have more than 200 business Software-as-a-Service apps, add-ins and content packs.

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