The Future of Microsoft Dynamics

We share our predictions for where Microsoft Dynamics is headed in the future and provide some context about those predictions.

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    Microsoft Dynamics already helps businesses adapt to change. Whether it’s evolving technology, changing customer expectations, or a pandemic-induced pivot.

    Microsoft has already established a strong foundation in the cloud. But to help users prepare for opportunities and obstacles on the horizon, they’ll need to stay a few steps ahead of the curve.

    Below, we’ll share our predictions for where Microsoft is headed in the coming months–and years. But first, we’ll provide some context that will help you see where those predictions are coming from.

    “Dynamics 365 is gearing up to become the ERP of the future—across all industries. Its scalability, seamless integration with other systems, and a robust portfolio of solutions place D365 ahead of competing solutions.” – Sreenath Reddy, Velosio Director of Delivery

    Business Leaders Guide to the New Digital AgeBusiness Leaders Guide to the New Digital Age

    New Developments at Microsoft – In Context

    To see what’s next for Dynamics 365, it’s worth looking at three key areas: emerging trends, recent acquisitions, and just-announced features. Let’s take a look:

    1. Industry trends

    Across the entire business landscape, there’s a big emphasis on using lessons from COVID to build a more resilient future. There’s a strong focus on future-proofing. That means, addressing problems the pandemic brought to light before disaster strikes again. But also, identifying better ways of working and investing in tech that helps orgs capitalize on new opportunities.

    Beyond these sort of “general” trends, here are some common themes that likely to inform the direction of Microsoft Dynamics in the future.

    • Observability. Observability is a key theme across many “predictions for 2022” type of reports. According to McKinsey, investing in intangibles like branding, innovation, and professional development boosts growth and productivity. But success hinges on a high degree of visibility. The Splunk State of Observability report revealed similar findings. Research revealed that investing in observability enhances performance, improves customer outcomes, and is good for the bottom line.
    • Reinvention. Another key theme? Reinvention. IDG makes the case for rebuilding new digital capabilities—citing urgent issues like tech debt, unruly data, skills gaps, and inertia. In another report, Gartner calls on CIOs to seize new opportunities. Researchers recommend redirecting resources to new priorities, updating business models, and changing how work is performed. And—a joint report from RedHat and Accenture points out the critical importance of evolving IT operating models to support innovation and transformation.
    • Advanced analytics. Advanced analytics continue to be a top priority. IoT World Today says predictive analytics are transforming everything from banking to insurance, retail, & food service. Per Deloitte, orgs are increasingly leaning on analytics skills to address talent shortages. And McKinsey says leveling up analytics capabilities helps companies connect with customers, address problems, and enhance experiences. The report also notes the importance of being able to use predictive insights to provide proactive service in real-time.

    2. Recent Acquisitions

    Looking at the companies Microsoft is scooping up these days is a good indicator of where current priorities lie and which technologies, they’re betting on to bring them into the future.

    Here’s a look at some of the companies they’ve bought in the last few months alone:

    • Two Hat. A SaaS platform that specializes in AI content moderation and “digital wellbeing.”
    • ReFirm Labs. A security platform that enhances security capabilities across the IoT, intelligent edge, and cloud servers.
    • Nuance. An AI and speech technology platform that offers omnichannel engagement solutions for a range of organizations. It even caters to companies operating in highly-regulated sectors such as healthcare & fintech.
    • RiskIQ. A cybersecurity platform that provides brand protection, threat intelligence, and vulnerability management solutions.

    3. Latest features

    According to Microsoft, the business is currently focused on creating a “hyper-connected business,” beefing up cybersecurity, and continuing to support flexible, hybrid work with improved collaboration & productivity solutions.

    Based on Microsoft’s current acquisitions this checks out. The same can be said about its latest round of feature announcements and new releases.

    Microsoft dropped several announcements at its most recent Ignite conference, though the following stood out most due to their transformative potential:

    • Context IQ. ContextIQ is a set of new, AI-powered features, embedded across all Microsoft 365 apps. There’s an editor that provides predictive assistance with spelling and grammar. There’s conversation intelligence that analyzes customer communications. Additionally, this update makes it easier to find and share files and information from any connected app.
    • Microsoft Loop. Loop is a platform that combines portable collaboration components with a flexible canvas–enabling a more fluid collaboration experience across apps. With Loop, users can create shared workspaces and sync data across Teams, Outlook, Excel, OneNote, etc.
    • Mesh for Microsoft Teams. Launching in 2022, Mesh for Microsoft Teams proves MS is gearing up for the metaverse. Mesh extends existing Teams features like Presenter mode and Together mode to make remote collaboration more immersive. Users can access from laptops and smartphones—as well as mixed reality headsets.
    • Microsoft Defender for Business. Defender for Business offers enterprise-level endpoint security to SMBs with up to 300 employees.
    • Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. A portal for managing & tracking “sustainability journeys,” this solution aims to help businesses stay on top of sustainability goals by centralizing data and offering recommendations for improving outcomes.

    By looking at the individual pieces, you start to get an idea of what direction Microsoft is headed in next. Now, let’s shift gears and hear what our experts think the future holds for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

    Enabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft PlatformEnabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft Platform

    Connected, Hybrid Experiences Will Become an Urgent Priority

    Account Executive, Kevin Fischer predicts that “Microsoft will continue to enhance the ERP and CRM products with more integrations and plug-and-play extensions.”

    Practice Director, Sreepathy Nagarajan thinks we’ll see “more flexibility with integrations relatively soon.”

    “I anticipate better integration options with Microsoft apps and services, as well as cross-cloud partner solutions” are just on the horizon. – Sam Miller, Account Executive

    And they may be onto something. Microsoft is definitely going all-in on integrations.

    There’s the recently-announced ContextIQ, a set of natively integrated AI experiences that aim to improve team collaboration. Those “experiences” include a unified digital meeting space and a live co-presence feature. ContextIQ also makes it easier to find and share information. Users can search all Dataverse data for files, documents, and customer records from Teams, SharePoint, and Office.

    There’s also Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, a solution that connects physical and digital environments. Users can analyze observational data–sourced from IoT devices–using AI models and act on insights in real-time.

    The company has also updated several existing features–further evidence deep integration is a top priority. These include improved customer insights, enhancements to LinkedIn integrations like Sales Navigator, and new actions for Power Automate flow.

    The whole COVID experience revealed that collaboration tools need to step things up several notches. We’ve learned that it doesn’t make sense to try and replicate old ways of working in the new virtual workplace. It seems that Microsoft has taken this seriously, rolling out a long list of updates that aim to improve remote/hybrid work.

    AI & ML Take on a Wider Range of Use Cases

    Velosio experts agree Microsoft is going all-in on AI and machine learning applications.

    Vice President, Rob Urbanowicz, says, “complete interoperability between all apps will soon become reality.”

    Rob predicts that the Dynamics 365 platform will soon be able to automate redundant tasks and standard decisions. Improvements that will effectively eliminate workloads for its users.

    “Adding AI and ML means the system will be able to predict future events—allowing workers to prevent problems and find new ways to delight customers and address their needs.” – Rob Urbanowicz, Vice President

    Senior BC Consultant, Mary Carrero expects Microsoft to continue updating its current product offerings to simplify the end-user experience.

    Account Executive, Sam Miller says he expects Dynamic 365 to incorporate “more AI, just in general. But also, Microsoft will make it easier to tailor the solution by improving its code-free capabilities.”

    Their predictions track with recent developments. As it stands, D365’s no-code AI Builder enables citizen developers to build intelligent solutions for its apps and workflows.

    Field Service Role Based GuideField Service Role Based Guide

    But, Microsoft has announced several new features like end-to-end document automation

    Sreepathy Nagarajan expects to see improvements in areas like robotics process automation (RPA) and enhanced analytics capabilities.

    RPA is crucial to digital transformation efforts for a few key reasons. It’s scalable, it protects data against threats like phishing and fraud, and it helps teams become more productive.

    “The Power Platform eventually becoming the heart of all D365 apps. I expect to see more ML and AI embedded out-of-the-box.” – Sandeep Chaudhury, Consulting Manager

    Sandeep adds, “Microsoft Teams will play a significant role in how customers interact with Dynamics 365 applications.”

    Already, we’re seeing this play out with the introduction of ContextIQ, the Teams and D365 integration, and Loop.

    Microsoft Will Win Big by Catering to Niche Markets & SMBs

    Sandeep Chaudhury predicts that Microsoft will launch more small-scale and affordable cloud products that cater to specific industries. He says, “this will enable Microsoft—and Dynamics—to overtake SAP and Oracle as the preferred vendor-solution in this category.”

    As it stands, those companies still dominate this space.

    Sandeep adds, “as an example, Microsoft will need to make significant changes to its HCM offering.

    That will probably mean some sort of acquisition that will enable the company to compete with established HCM players like Oracle and Workday.”

    It’s also worth noting that some of the developments we’ve discussed above stand to change the game for smaller companies—in any industry.

    Updates to the Marketing module make it easier for workers to create personalized customer journeys. Users can build targeted segments with natural language sentences, generate content ideas with AI, and deliver unique experiences based on super-specific custom events.

    Enhancements to existing supply chain management solutions aim to help organizations of all sizes gain total visibility into their business operations and use automation to proactively address issues based on real-time data.

    Final Thoughts

    No matter what’s next for Microsoft Dynamics–and it’s customers–we’re sure they’ll continue to evolve their current capabilities, while also ramping up investments in exciting new ones.

    The challenge for organizations is keeping up with new developments. There’s so much to choose from–it’s hard to prioritize the features that stand to deliver the biggest impact on your business.

    Working with a partner like Velosio can help you make the most of Microsoft Dynamics — in the future and today. You don’t have to do this alone. Learn how Velosio can help you achieve your organizations goals as an ISV Partner.

    Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365