Dynamics 365: Key Features & Capabilities

In this article we explore how real brands use Dynamics 365 ERP and it's game-changing key features to transform their business.

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    We’ve covered the Dynamics 365 ERP feature suite and the individual modules in the D365 ecosystem.

    Instead of rehashing the same old specs, let’s look at the opportunities Dynamics 365 unlocks for business users – regardless of size or sector.

    Below, we’ll explore how real brands use D365’s game-changing features “in the wild” to transform their business–from the C-suite to the supply chain and support desk.

    Dynamics 365 Unifies & Connects the Entire Business

    The defining feature of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is that it unifies the entire business in a single platform.

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    Inside you’ll find everything you need to manage your operations – financials, sales, customer service, etc. — allowing you to leverage all data and capabilities together to optimize business performance.

    As an example, Vietnamese brokerage firm SSI Securities Corporation decided to embark on an org-wide transformation journey in the wake of the COVID outbreak.

    Given the firm’s large, distributed network and the regulatory challenges facing the financial services sector, this was a massive undertaking.

    But–SSI took it as an opportunity to improve its services by digitizing the business. For example, investing in customer-facing channels like a web portal and mobile app enhanced the customer experience–and enabled the firm to increase profits.

    But that also meant investing in solutions like Microsoft 365 Defender to protect sensitive data.

    Azure and Power BI were used to integrate all company data–then transform it into actionable, real-time intelligence.

    Data was then fed to Microsoft apps custom reports to enhance employee productivity.

    For example, traders could tap into real-time insights while emailing a client or putting together a report – without switching between apps. This saves traders time–and enables them to create more value for clients.

    Now, the idea of a connected cloud ecosystem has always been a cornerstone of D365 (and its competitors). The all-in-one ERP is the precursor to things like real-time analytics, anywhere access & collaboration, and 360 visibility into your business — and your customers.

    But — when COVID forced millions of workers online, addressing the shortcomings and security threats of remote work became urgent priorities.

    Microsoft has responded to these challenges by investing in creating a better, more secure, digital workspace to support the next normal.

    A few examples of what’s new:

    • ContextIQ, a solution aimed at bringing next-level intelligence to all Dynamics 365 modules, Microsoft productivity apps, and ISV solutions.
    • Loop, a platform that lets users weave portable components together to create a unified experience across multiple apps. It can be used to improve remote collaboration, pull data from any connected app, and analyze conversational insights.
    • Teams + Dynamics supports collaboration “in the flow of work.” Users can edit files and customer records within the Teams chat, pull files & insights, capture notes & tasks during meetings, and more.

    Marketing & CX

    AI-enabled insights are old news. Personalization is the norm. Automation is essential for completing day-to-day work. You get the idea. But the tech has gotten WAY better within the past couple of years.

    All-in-one cloud systems like Dynamics 365, along with a non-stop explosion of big data, have been redefining the marketing landscape for over a decade.

    According to a 2021 BCG survey, around 80% of customer-facing companies rely on only the “most basic” customer insights. And even though many companies invest heavily in capturing customer feedback and behavioral insights—often they lack the ability to interpret or act on the data they’ve collected.

    For marketers that challenge takes on a greater sense of urgency.

    Customer data is the key to relevant, personalized, and timely experiences. It’s central to creating effective social campaigns, selecting the right channels and messaging, and crafting content that compels readers to take action.

    At the November 2021 Ignite conference, Microsoft introduced its new Customer Experience Platform. It’s a comprehensive set of solutions designed to give brands total control of their customer data so they can deliver connected, personalized experiences—without violating consumer trust or privacy laws.

    Along with it, they announced several new AI features for Dynamics 365 Marketing – many of which center on creating a more ethical, intentional experience with more oversight and control–down to each touch point. Users can also better predict customer intent and use insights to create hyper-personalized experiences.

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    Think–individualized journeys for engaging hot B2B prospects.

    Or–high-impact donors. For example, UNICEF used the Customer Insights platform to gain a 360-view of donors, then applied AI models to predict lifetime value. They then used the data to deliver personalized messages in real-time to boost loyalty and create experiences that give donors a sense of purpose.

    Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces allows users to capture observational insights from cameras and sensors in a physical environment and use AI-powered models to respond to patterns and behaviors in real-time.

    While the feature releases open the door to exciting new possibilities, Dynamics 365 enhances marketing and CX capabilities on the back-end, too.

    Digital marketing firm, Ingage overhauled their data warehousing and reporting capabilities, replacing manual reports with a self-service BI platform. They built an end-to-end architecture based on Azure solutions–Data Lake, Data Factory, Synapse Analytics–and Power BI. As a result, the agency can deliver comprehensive insights to clients in a matter of clicks.

    D365 also helped the firm simplify cross-platform search, providing instant access to historical data, files, and conversations. Additionally, the unified environment and process automations allowed each member of Ingage’s finance team to save hours of work per month.

    Supply Chain

    Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management unifies supply chain operations with the rest of the business. Orgs can use data & AI to predict demand, optimize logistics, maximize asset uptime, and identify & fix quality issues.

    A new platform, Supply Chain Insights is currently in preview. It’s designed to integrate with your ERP, and pulls data from Power Platform connectors and connected inputs — bringing them together to create a digital twin of the supply chain.

    Combined with Azure’s AI/ML-powered analytics, Supply Chain Insights allows users to mitigate risks by performing “what-if analyses.”

    Business leaders can assess the impact of potential disruptions and each decision, and take the best set of actions in the face of the next crisis.

    New process mining capabilities for Power Automate help users gather deeper insights into process performance and surface AI recommendations re: what might be automated or improved.


    Microsoft is working toward making Dynamics 365 Customer Service an “all-in-one” digital contact center.

    The module already unifies communications and channels and includes features like issue tracking, live chat, and self-service options.

    Built-in AI provides end-to-end insights across all customer interactions. Users gain access to AI recommendations, live sentiment analysis, and real-time transcription that eliminates the need for support agents to take notes.

    Reports include rich KPIs that track and measure the impact of all service efforts in one place.

    Additionally, companies can enhance their service offerings with tools like Dynamics 365 Guides, a mixed reality HoloLens app that allows you to create detailed, holographic instructions for employees and customers.

    Users can leverage data to create manuals, checklists, and training that reduce error rates, improve product/service quality, and solve problems faster.

    HoloLens 2 and D365 Guides also help workers provide a better support experience to consumers. For example, Bandai Namco uses the hands-on tools to help workers with special needs complete complex tasks that create value for customers.

    Another feature, Remote Assist, allows service techs to collaborate with experts remotely from their smartphone or HoloLens 2 headset. Techs can share a real-time view and get step-by-step guidance to help them solve problems in real-time.

    Mercedes-Benz uses this feature to streamline service operations. For example, techs spend less time traveling between dealerships because they can diagnose problems remotely and ensure they have the right parts ready before making the trip.

    Financial Services

    Finance pros have waited a long time for AI/ML/automation tools that marketing & sales teams have been using for years.

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    Today, Dynamics offers a range of financial solutions that use AI and machine learning to deliver real-time insights, automate processes, and maintain control and compliance in a challenging regulatory environment.

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance users now have access to Finance Insights, a set of AI-enabled capabilities that enhance financial processes via intelligent automation.

    For example, chemical distributor SOLVEO used the platform’s predictive modeling capabilities to gain a deeper understanding of customer payment activity. The company was able to use historical data to determine which customers were likely to pay on-time — and which ones were chronically late. They then used the findings to create automated actions to support a more proactive collections process with a positive impact on cash flow.

    The new AI enhancements also improve estimation and budgeting, forecasting, and accounts receivable activities.

    But all together, Dynamics 365 Finance features give organizations the tools they need to move away from reactive decision-making based on gut feelings & best practices toward a proactive, agile approach.

    Final Thoughts

    While we couldn’t cover everything you can do with D365, the examples featured here should give you a sense of what you might achieve within your own organization–whether that means supporting the sales team, building a more intelligent warehouse, or empowering workers to build solutions to the problems they face each day.

    Businesses of all sizes, in every industry and sector, are leveraging Dynamics 365 to achieve these dramatic transformations.

    But, it’s worth noting that the transformations we mentioned had something important in common: they made changes on a holistic level. They didn’t take a piecemeal approach, applying one technology at a time. Instead, they combined Dynamics 365 with other technologies in the Microsoft ecosystem–Azure, Power BI, and Microsoft 365–to amplify the overall impact.

    Additionally, these organizations had a clear picture of what they were trying to achieve and a system for measuring progress toward critical milestones.

    Velosio experts can help you determine how to best leverage D365 features to drive transformation/hit critical milestones/set the stage for growth. We can put together an implementation strategy, help you transition to the cloud, develop custom BI solutions & automation, etc. – it all depends on your goals.

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