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Microsoft Dynamics 365


As Alysa outlines in her blog post, the release of the July update marks the availability of several new applications as well as important updates to many of our existing Dynamics 365 Cloud Services.

Before we talk about the new Applications and capabilities, I want to start by talking about the new deployment options for Finance & Operations. It was just a few months ago in my last blog post that I shared our plans to create two additional deployment options for Dynamics 365 for Operations, Microsoft’s cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) service. Today I am pleased to announce that the local business data deployment option for on-premises deployments became generally available on June 28, 2017.

As Alysa mentions in her blog post, in addition to the option to deploy Finance and Operations as a Microsoft managed service running in Microsoft Azure, customers now can deploy it in their own data center to help meet the needs of their business.

The on-premises deployment option (also referred to as local business data) provides a unique differentiator to enterprise customers versus other ERP products by providing a choice as customers can start on-premises and have the option to easily move their solution to the cloud, when they are ready, to take advantage of cloud scale and the rich analytic experiences it delivers. The on-premises solution is based on a modern architecture that focuses on leveraging Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 to bring forward a deployment running in a customer’s data center.

While we believe in our Cloud Service as the best deployment option, we do understand customers may need to support business process execution in their data centers in certain cases. With on-premises deployments customers can address these core business requirements:

  • Data Residency – Some government and industry regulations require customers to store business data locally. In some cases, this is also mandated by our customer’s IT standards.
  • Business Continuity – Whether you have a production facility, a warehouse, or a service shop, we can run your mission critical business processes locally in the facility when network latencies cannot be relied upon. On-premises deployments provide enhanced business continuity for scenarios that require low latency integrations with other on-premises systems or require deployments in regions where there are no options for a reliable network infrastructure. In some cases, local infrastructure issues can be addressed, along with a financially backed SLA, with Azure ExpressRoute.
  • Data Center investments – Customers can leverage recent hardware investments as well as their IT staff that are already working with familiar Microsoft interfaces and tools such as Windows 2016 and SQL Server 2016 to run their Finance and Operations instance locally. Customers have the option to lift on-premises deployments to the cloud when it is time for a refresh.

On-premises deployments is the next step in our journey to support the deployment options that our customers have asked for to meet their business needs. Finance and Operations is unique in our ability to allow customers to deploy where ever and how ever they want, and with the introduction later this year of the cloud + edge deployment option, we will deliver the best of on-premises and cloud deployments in one option to help support our customers worldwide.

We have a rich set of resources you can find here that can help you learn about, and prepare for, on-premises deployments including the system requirements as well as what you need to do to download and provision the software.

Now, onto new application features and updates to existing Cloud Services….

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, Enterprise edition

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations is now Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, Enterprise edition. Our offering is comprehensive and covers the gamut of both Operations and Finance and shows that we are continuing to deliver the global features and functionality that our customers want and need not just across the application, but helping our partners to deliver feature-rich industry experiences as well.

In addition to the updates to Finance and Operations, I am excited by the release of two new modern, purpose built applications: Dynamics 365 for Retail which is designed to provide retailers with an integrated end-to-end view of their operations with centralized management and clear visibility across stores, employees, customers, inventory, and financials and is generally available. And Dynamics 365 for Talent which provides a 360-degree view of your workforce from sourcing and recruiting, to onboarding and retention and is available in Preview for customers and partners participating through the Dynamics 365 Insider Program and will be generally available later this month.

I wanted to highlight some of the major investment areas for this update which include embedded analytics, an improved mobile experience, increased speed and predictability of implementations, and the new upgrade experience from Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Let’s take a look:

Analyticsembedded analytics integrated directly into the form and workspace; with drill down capabilities into transactions; 15 rich dashboards across the functional spectrum will be immensely useful for end users in their daily functions to help them make better, faster decisions to achieve optimal outcomes.

 

Modern Mobile experiences for the warehouse worker, expense management, and time keeping, as well as a unified approvals mobile app that marks the start of a new journey with our customers.

Faster and more predictable implementations – A number of capabilities to speed and improve the implementation process are in the new update, including the ability to create company configurations that can be copied to create new ones based on existing companies. Cost Accounting has been modernized with a great Getting Started guide and a simplified experience with a new background validator that helps to keep the system of record continually viable. The Fall Release 2017 will see us apply these learnings across all our modules with new Getting Started and validation wizards.

Upgrade from Dynamics 2012 is now in Preview – We have re-imagined the upgrade experience from Dynamics AX 2012 releases to Finance & Operations and are happy to share it with our customers and partners. The changes are focused on simplifying the migration while keeping the abstractions and the use consistent. The new features contribute to simplified change management and improved support for the data governance needs of your organization.

We continue to update and expand Finance and Operations as well as our new, purpose-built applications. For the latest view on the full spectrum of our work, make sure to review our roadmap site and check back often to see the ongoing updates that are available.

 

A few calls to actions:

  1. Plan your projects to stay current on the cloud
    1. Make sure your Customizations are “Extensions”. Extensions are cloud safe mechanisms to extend our applications. Customers and ISVs who are based on “Extensions” are already reaping the benefits of simpler updates as well as reaping the benefits of the pace of innovation on the cloud. Read the three part blog series that covers application object extensions, code extensions, as well as event handlers and extensions. Review this session on the new powerful extension capability in X++:  Chain of Command.
    2. Review our Roadmap Site to make sure you are keeping up with our feature roadmap and future plans.
    3. Leverage our ideas portal to either share your feedback or vote on existing feature asks.
    4. Stay current on our cloud updates with your implementations with details about our deployment options.
    5. Visit the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition product documentation portal to learn how to fully leverage the latest updates.
  2. Use Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) extensively in your projects including Cloud Powered Support to interact with us. Across the landscape of Business Process Modeler (BPM), Code Analysis, our Upgrade Service, our environment tools deliver immensely rich telemetry dashboards and support experiences and offer a set of rich capabilities available to all deployment options.

In closing

Your feedback matters. Our products and services get better with your continued use and guidance.  Please continue to submit product ideas using the ideas portal for Dynamics 365 and check back to see what other users are proposing or voting on.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition

Understand more about our feature roadmap and future plans