The future of Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects

#HoskCodeWisdom The future of Dynamics 365 projects will be defined by the people implementing them.

Dynamics professionals should embrace new technologies and services. Technology changes and evolves, and Dynamics 365 projects adapt to take advantage of them.

Microsoft dropped CRM from Dynamics product, projects evolved from case management, sales pipeline and transforming excel spreadsheets into enterprise projects including legacy software, mobile applications, Azure and other services (Social Engagement, gamification, field service).

Future Dynamics 365 projects will combine digital transformation, intelligence and mobile applications to create projects which deliver business value to the customer.

Customers want cloud and mobile solutions, the focus has moved to possibilities and not limitations.

The drivers of solution architecture are complexity, budget and the knowledge of the architect, not the limitations of Dynamics 365. The environment has changed and small focused apps are being consumed on multiple devices.

Junior Developer

  • Delivers Dynamics 365 projects using the skills, approaches and solutions used previously.

Good Developer

  • Uses familiar solutions combined with new services, functionality and capabilities.
  • Understands new functionality but doesn’t have experience.
  • Uses new functionality on a project making mistakes during implementation.

Great developer

  • Reads, studies and understands new features, services and functionality in Dynamics 365. Proofs of concepts give practical experience to support theoretical knowledge.

Don’t wait

Don’t wait to try new functionality, services and tools until needed because that’s too late. Investigate and invest in learning to understand the services now and ready to use them.

Examples are Flow, PowerApps, social engagement, field services, cognitive services, bots, mobile applications etc. Microsoft hypes new tools and releases them with basic functionality, making it difficult to use them on projects. Identifying the limitations and understanding how these tools work lets you know when to use them and when not to.

Some examples:

  • Flow has no way to script deployment
  • PowerApps is evolving with no scripting deployment
  • Field Service often needs customisation to add missing functionality
  • Social engagements interaction with social media services

Past projects

Past projects are not a reusable template; they should evolve, improving with new functionality and a better understanding how to architect solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM renamed to Microsoft Dynamics 365 was never just about accounts, contacts, sales processes and case management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an XRM framework, a set of tools to create solutions. Microsoft created dependencies to sales, marketing and case management. These common requirements were not needed in many XRM projects and created unwanted dependencies.

The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is now a true XRM framework; you start from a blank slate and use only what you need.

Dynamics projects are not constrained to Microsoft Dynamics 365, they use many Microsoft services (other services are available :-))

• Azure functions and WebJobs allow you to move processing out of Dynamics 365
 • PowerApps or quick mobile application
 • Common data service enables developers to link data from different sources
 • Flow can link different services with Dynamics 365

Breaking free of the shackles of Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows solutions using other services, mobile applications and scaling via Azure. This enables enterprise projects to be created with Microsoft Dynamics 365 at the centre.

Using different services allows Dynamics professionals to tackle different industries; the limit is not technology but imagination and the skill of solution architects.

The future projects of Microsoft Dynamics 365 will include more intelligence and cognitive services, using companies’ data proactively to digitally transform businesses.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 continues to evolve — the pace of change is increasing, and projects will be bigger, more complex and more fun.

To deliver enterprise projects, companies will need to embrace DevOps and bring the best practices of software development to Microsoft Dynamics 365.

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 has changed

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has seen Microsoft move from developing competing products such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Nav, AX and now focus on creating services which are used by all Microsoft products. Microsoft builds supporting services faster which are more feature rich.

New services and tools

  • Flow
  • PowerApps
  • Azure functions
  • Social engagement
  • PowerBI
  • Cognitive services

The challenge in Dynamics projects is working with its limitations. Developers initially thought it wasn’t possible to create complex customisations using Microsoft Dynamics 365 online, but with the tools and services available, you can create enterprise solutions — much of it without creating code and using Microsoft Dynamics 365 online. It’s possible to have full DevOps, automating the manual tasks and improving the robustness of the code which are vital to enterprise projects.

The common data service, PowerApps and Azure stop projects from being constrained to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and ease integration with non-Microsoft services/legacy systems. You can integrate multiple services and Microsoft cognitive services to process customers’ data, automate and add intelligence to data and processes.

The future

Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables digital transformation of many business and industries. Dynamics professionals will need to know the tools, services and new Dynamics 365 functionality to enable them to create the best solution.

With change comes disruption and opportunity. #HoskWisdom