Microsoft Dynamics is often described as a cloud-based system that combines ERP and CRM solutions into a single, all-in-one solution. And yeah, that’s technically true.
But, it doesn’t represent the whole picture.
See, the real value of Microsoft Dynamics lies in its modularity. Instead of forcing companies to choose a one-size-fits-all plan, users can choose from a selection of apps, or modules, based on the features most important to their business.
Dynamics makes it easy to add modules, customize features, and swap old apps for new ones when requirements change.
All Dynamics 365 modules are compatible with one another and integrate with third-party solutions. What’s more, apps can be customized to fit your unique requirements and processes via the platform’s low-code app-building tools.
In these next few sections, we’ll look at each D365 module, who it’s for, and provide a quick overview of what it does.
Dynamics 365 Modules: ERPs vs CRMs
Before we get into the individual modules and what they’re used for, it’s important to explain the relationship between Dynamics 365 ERPs and CRMs.
Both Dynamics ERP and CRM modules are cloud-based, relational databases. But, each supports a different set of business processes.
ERPs handle internal operations like inventory, finance, and accounting. You might look at the Dynamics ERP as the foundation that supports all business activities.
By contrast, CRMs deal with relationships. They’re used primarily for customer-facing tasks like sales, service, and marketing.
Both types of software traditionally act as hubs for a wide range of business activities. However, it’s important to note that within the D365 universe, ERPs and CRM modules break down along a certain hierarchy.
Organizations first choose an ERP solution, based on general business requirements.
That ERP then serves as the foundation for the rest of the system. Organizations can customize out-of-the-box features, integrate third-party apps, or add CRM modules to the base plan.
The idea is, companies can scale up–one module at a time–as they grow and change. And, those changes won’t impact or disrupt the central hub (ERP) responsible for core processes and critical data.
Microsoft Dynamics ERP Modules
Microsoft offers three different ERP modules. Each covers essential business functions for three different groups: SMBs, enterprise organizations, and distributors/manufacturers.
Note: ERP choice is less about sector or size than it is about intangibles like transaction and data volumes, capacity, and complexity.
Customization comes later.
For now, let’s check out each ERP option to give you a better sense of what that actually means:
Business Central is designed for single-location SMBs. The platform allows teams to improve decision-making by connecting data across the entire business. Users receive a comprehensive view of their entire organization–including supply chain activity, financials, and customer service data.
Out-of-the-box, Business Central includes the following modules:
- Sales & marketing
Key capabilities include:
- End-to-end visibility
- Streamlined processes.
- Improved communications.
- Optimize inventory & supply chain management
- Actionable insights.
- Built-in charts & AI reporting tools with the option to add on MS Excel, Customer
- Insights, or Power BI — plus whatever external tools you already use.
Organizations can use predictive insights to inform purchasing decisions, sales/marketing plans, growth/expansion strategies, and so on. If you’d like to learn more, we go over some of the specific ways BC supports better decision-making in a recent e-book.
Finance & Operations
Dynamics F&O covers the same business functions you’ll find inside BC but takes things a step further. The platform provides a suite of advanced financial features designed for organizations with more complex business models.
Unlike BC, F&O includes features for managing high transaction volumes, many locations & currencies, and massive amounts of big data.
Advanced financial features allow orgs to take a proactive approach to managing their entire business to increase profitability and boost productivity.
- Enhanced decision-making
- Ability to manage complex projects & business models
- Augment & automate processes
Supply Chain Management
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is essentially an extension of the D365 Finance. This version helps distributors and manufacturers navigate today’s complex supply chain dynamics, meet customer demand, maximize profits, and boost business agility.
- Real-time visibility into the entire business
- Drive production line efficiency
- Predict & respond to disruptions
- Maximize asset uptime
- Optimize logistics
- Manage inventory
- Address product & production issues
- Simplify & automate workflows and business processes
- Handle demand planning & order management activities
- Manage revenue, sales, & operations
- Gain total visibility with AI-powered advanced analytics & BI
Dynamics 365 CRM Modules
Customer relationship management tools (CRMs) serve as a central repository for customer data. They’re best known as a sales tool, but also play a central role in helping companies understand & improve the customer experience.
They’re used to support marketing efforts like content creation, demand gen, and paid social campaigns.
Again, it’s important to remember that in the world of Dynamics 365, CRMs represent a collection of spokes rather than a dedicated sales hub.
Microsoft’s CRM modules are designed to extend the out-of-the-box capabilities you’ll find inside BC or F&O–one business function at a time.
Say you’re a tiny SaaS startup using Business Central. You might add customer service, sales, and marketing modules to learn more about your customers and convince them to convert. Or, maybe you’re a large consultancy firm with an IT division. In that case, you might add a field service module to your F&O plan to support techs during on-site visits.
The customer service module supports the customer experience after “the close.” Built-in AI enables faster, more personalized service experiences and better decision-making.
IoT integration allows you to proactively ID and act on problems — even before customers notice something’s wrong.
You can also build virtual agents, knowledge bases, and community portals to help customers solve issues on their own.
- Create personalized customer interactions.
- Embedded IoT signaling
- Provide automated self-serve support
- Manage omnichannel service & communications
- Embedded IoT signals & alerts
- Unified order/support ticket routing
Dynamics 365 Sales covers your “classic” CRM functions. It’s designed to help reps, managers, and sales ops teams collaborate and manage sales activities. It allows teams to leverage contextual insights to drive predictable wins/maximize profits.
And, it enables reps to use real-time AI insights to ensure they take the right action at the right time.
- Ability to manage & automate sales processes
- Automated lead & deal scoring & routing
- Sales diagnostics & prescriptive insights
- Email automation/tracking
- Seamless integration with Customer Voice, Virtual Agent, & Teams
- Enables data-driven coaching–at scale
- Improves forecasting/planning accuracy
- Tailor processes for specific roles or territories
- Configure sales processes
- Ability to set up custom AI automations
Dynamics 365 Marketing helps companies orchestrate personalized customer journeys in real-time–with some help from the platform’s built-in AI.
Marketers gain total visibility into all customer interactions–sales data, service requests, etc.
This allows them to create content, campaigns, and brand communications in context with what customers are hearing from sales and service teams.
Altogether, the Marketing suite allows teams to serve a more consistent experience across touchpoints.
- Engage customers/prospects/audiences in real time
- Ability to design customer-led journeys/experiences
- AI content/channel recommendations
- Straightforward “journey triggers”
- Ability to deliver seamless, personalized omnichannel experiences at scale
This module is built for project management teams –particularly those operating in the professional services sector.
Inside, you’ll find a suite of features that can help you maximize profits, productivity, and growth.
It’s a good option for Business Central users who need some of the advanced features you’ll get with F&O but run smaller operations. For instance, they might only have one location or a handful of consultants and clients.
Project Operations allows you to ensure the right people are working on the right projects, while built-in Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and AI-powered analytics & automations make it easy to manage complex projects with minimal effort.
- Accurate forecasting, scheduling, & project tracking
- Cross-team/location collaboration via MS Teams
- Robust financials
- Ability to match employee skills to project requirements
- Intelligent scheduling tools
- Contract management
- Simplified time & expense tracking
- You’ll get a consolidated view of financials, sales data, productivity metrics across your entire business.
Dynamics 365 Field Service supports service techs on the job, delivering in-house support and client data to any mobile device. This helps them provide a consistent experience and increase first-time fix rates. Which, in turn, boosts satisfaction and retention rates.
The platform helps dispatchers schedule service calls to meet SLA terms and empowers technicians to provide proactive service.
Tools like remote assist and built-in AR tools, make it easier for techs to resolve issues on their first visit. And–route optimization features ensure predictable on-time arrivals.
- Smart route planning
- Asset management
- Track performance over time
- Access customer data from anywhere
- Improve customer engagement via post-service surveys
- Mixed reality expert collaboration
- Capture photos/voice notes/maps/text on the job
- Access customer data (i.e. service history, on-site equipment)
- Provide self-service scheduling to customers
- Collect customer feedback via post-service surveys/notes
- Predictive, real-time ETAs, based on data from all connected sources (i.e. traffic, weather, distance between stops)
Dynamics 365 modules are central to the platform’s flexibility. You’ll select an ERP based on things like capacity, business complexity, and the products & services you provide.
Users launch with a working system and can immediately start customizing individual features that help them create value, save time, and cut operating costs.
But, the D365 modules allow you to add more granularity where it counts.
The benefit is, organizations can add advanced feature suites, one-by-one to support their current needs (and budget). Then later, can add or adapt apps as customers and conditions inevitably change.
It’s important to emphasize that while Dynamics 365 streamlines ERP implementation, customization, and updates, its “simplicity” is relative. Without an experienced partner, companies face several challenges–even at the earliest stages.
Velosio experts can guide the process. We’ll help business leaders gather requirements and collect insights from individual units. Then, we’ll work together to identify and implement the best ERP, CRM modules, and customizations for your big-picture goals.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.