Enterprise applications delivered to corporate clients via the cloud may be extremely powerful, thanks to the near-infinite compute resources such programs can deploy. But much of the time they are not necessarily the easiest programs for staff members to use. Two new platforms from Microsoft aim to change that by making a company's cloud-delivered apps more user friendly.
Dubbed Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource, the platforms are set to launch this fall with the goal of building on the company’s existing CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) cloud solutions to make it easier for business customers to discover software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps offered by Microsoft and its partners.
Simplifying App Deployment
“Technology is transforming our personal lives with apps and services that are simple and intuitive, and deliver helpful assistance to improve our lives,” Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president for Microsoft Cloud + Enterprise, wrote in a blog post today. “In contrast the apps and services we use to drive business process are often difficult to use, try and deploy. Some even make you pay extra for capabilities like visualization, workflow automation and predictive insights.”
Microsoft Dynamics 365 will combine the company’s existing CRM and ERP cloud solutions into a single cloud service with multiple purpose-built apps designed to manage specific business functions such as financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project service automation, and customer service.
Dynamics 365 apps have modular designs, allowing customers to deploy each app independently as it is needed, and pay for each one separately. Additionally, all of the apps are designed to integrate with each other, so customers should be able to scale up their services with additional capabilities such as built-in insights, predictive intelligence, and workflow optimization as needed.
Integration with Office 365
Both Microsoft’s Power BI and Cortana Intelligence capabilities will be natively embedded in the platform to offer customers additional tools. For example, Cortana Intelligence will enable cross-sell recommendations to help sales reps predict which products and services customers might need.
Meanwhile, access to Internet of Things data inside Dynamics 365 for Field Service will allow enterprises to take preemptive action from field service agents by connecting asset monitoring and anomaly detection before failures occur, avoiding costly customer service issues. Dynamics 365 will also be deeply integrated with Office 365 to better connect the enterprise apps with standard office productivity apps.
For example, a salesperson could use Dynamics 365 apps to respond directly to a customer email in Office, using a quote based on information provided by the finance and sales apps, all without ever leaving the Outlook interface, the company said.
AppSource, meanwhile, will serve as a new destination for business users to find and try out line-of-business SaaS apps from Microsoft. The company said the platform will launch with more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ons, and content packs.