Dynamics 365 in Azure. Big draws for those who are ready for the clouds

Dynamics 365 provides extensive analytics and data management capabilities for sales departments. Today, its cloud version boasts even more capabilities than the on-premise one. The availability of additional online services contributes to the growing popularity of cloud deployments.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an innovative business automation platform that combines the advanced features of CRM and ERP. Dynamics 365 is a smart business application that automates the complete customer interaction cycle and enterprise resource planning.

There are two scenarios of solution implementation: on-premise and cloud deployment. This article will be dedicated to the benefits of the version hosted in a Microsoft Azure cloud.

The pros of cloud computing

Dynamics 365 in Azure offers all the publicly recognized benefits of cloud technology. First of all, customers that use this solution reduce costs by eliminating the need to deploy local infrastructure, purchase equipment, maintain it, and ensure its fault tolerance. The subscription system provides all this by default.

Cloud services also save time. Subscribing to cloud services requires only 20–30 minutes. On-premise installation takes from 1 week to up to 3 months if it is necessary to take additional security measures.

The cloud version of Dynamics easily integrates with Microsoft products. If the customer is subscribed to Share Point, Exchange, Office, or Teams, the platform shares a single landscape with them, and all relevant software is available in one solution.

The Azure cloud makes it easy to install add-ons for Dynamics developed by Microsoft partners. The developed components are published in the application store, and the client can install any of them in a few clicks.

Modules available only from the cloud

A significant advantage of cloud deployment is the functionality of modules that are not available locally. Microsoft uses the unlimited resources of the Azure cloud to keep them running, so migrating them to local servers would require a lot of money and technical resources.

These additional cloud services solve many problems for both business leaders and employees. One of the examples of such services is Project Service Automation — a module for project and resource management in Dynamics; Voice of the Customer and Forms are polling applications. There are also other cloud-based modules that facilitate efficient team interaction.

Insights modules

The most significant add-ons that create the competitive edge of Azure for Dynamics are Sales Insights, Customer Service Insights, and Product Insights. They allow you to use data from the system and perform analytical and predictive functions.

For example, Sales Insights makes it possible to score opportunities or deals, i.e. assess the probability that the deal will be completed successfully. Sales Insights also provides an opportunity to see how well the transaction is handled by the employee. To do this, the manager enters all data according to the business process, and the system analyzes them.

The indicators show the work phases that should be given more attention. They show how much time has been dedicated to the customer's questions, how much time the client has spent on the deal, who initiated the activities—all this is highlighted by the corresponding colors, icons, and is displayed in a graphical form. The system also logs when the customer was last contacted and when to contact them the next time, how many emails were sent, which emails were opened, how many meetings were held, what is the overall customer response rate, how long it takes the workgroup to respond, etc.

These insights are crucial for team leads and managers as they can assess the deal at a glance. As a result, they can make the right moves at the right time: change tactics, increase the activity, delegate tasks, etc.

The Customer Insights module collects information about customers from various sources and visualizes it. In many companies, customer data is scattered and not stored in a single system. This service systemizes all data and makes it available for analysis and comparison.

Product Insights provides insights into how customers use the product in real time. You can use mobile apps, websites, and cloud services to track when and how your products are used, what difficulties users are experiencing, and understand what can be improved.

These modules are powered by artificial intelligence, and all their features are available for free in the online version of Dynamics.

The Dynamics Marketing module

This module generates marketing activities and tracks the full cycle of customer interaction. For example, it can be used to work with mailing lists, web forms, and landing pages.

How are mailings usually made? A template is created in a third-party service, a sample of customers is selected from the customer base, and all emails are sent to it. This method does not establish a transparent link between a particular client and the statistics of response to the newsletter. With the Marketing module, you can not only make a newsletter without external services but also see the entire activity log for each customer displayed on a special card. You will know whether they opened the message and clicked the link, how much time they spent reading, etc. 

The same platform can be also used for generating landing pages. The module provides a convenient visual design tool with which you can build a website page. You can use templates or insert the preset HTML code. The landing page can be hosted on the Azure portal, so you can easily link it to the newsletters by placing a link to it in the message. If a client clicks it, this will be immediately recorded in their card. These features do not require any additional integrations and are available online.

Power Platform

The Azure cloud offers all the benefits of the Power Platform. It is a standalone environment that offers modern companies convenient tools to analyze, visualize, and automate the business data collection process.

With Power Platform, you can create mobile applications, organize fast image recognition, model various merchandizing scenarios, or analyze the customer inquiries and assign categories to them. These functions are powered by machine learning, which runs very slowly on local servers and is very expensive to deploy.

Security

Many customers still doubt the trustworthiness of cloud infrastructure. But numbers don't lie: Microsoft Azure has been around for more than 10 years and it has never been hacked nor experienced data leaks. The keys to success are high security standards, extensive encryption capabilities, and compliance with the GDPR regulations. Even the U.S. government trusts the level of security of this cloud.

A proprietary depersonalization technology has been developed to comply with the Russian law on personal data protection. It encrypts the information stored in the cloud, while local data can be hosted on the customer's server in Russia or, for example, in the Softline cloud. Azure also simplifies the management, storage, backup, and access control for Dynamics 365 data. Few other clouds offer such capabilities today.

Softline experts are ready to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 based on the Azure cloud. Evaluate the benefits of the solution and the security of its cloud version and contact us to get any information you are interested in.


Contacts

Svetlana Ermakova, Head of CRM Division, Softline Business Solutions Department
T: +7 (495) 232 00 23 ext. 1224
Svetlana.Ermakova@softline.com

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