Power Platform, take the wheel: The new destiny of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement customers
The world of business applications is shifting for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CRM) customers, but they may not know it yet.
Microsoft has fulfilled many of the expectations that the Business Applications team has set through its periodic release notes, from maturing the Power Platform to increasing the segregation between Dynamics 365 Customer Experience apps from the underlying XRM, PowerApps and Common Data Service (CDS) infrastructure and interface. To some, especially those who have embraced XRM over its many year evolution, the company could now be entering the golden age of business app development with a future-friendly architecture.
But for the less entrenched customers and consultants, rough edges in the transition will need to be managed. Take, for example, the new pricing plans around CRM storage, which will impact customers to a varying extent. The first reaction to this revelation from users and partners was frustration. What seemed to anger the channel most was Microsoft's back door tactics – after floating the idea and then walking it back, Microsoft finally informed customers with nothing more than an Office 365 admin update email.
One reason for the clumsy change appears to be that, from Microsoft's perspective, this was all about improving the positioning of CDS for Apps storage capacity relative to PowerApps adoption – not CRM. As Microsoft general manager of the application platform Charles Lamanna told Mark Smith on a recent episode of Smith's podcast, the changes are meant to incentivize customers and partners building new applications to use the right kind of storage to suit their data rather than trying to contort it into relational storage. (The discussion starts at about 18:00.)
And CDS for Apps storage pricing will continue to evolve. The three defined types for the new pricing – relational data, Blobs, and observational or log data – could expand in the future, Lamanna said, as demand grows for more sophisticated types of data storage. This adjustment should help Microsoft start to get ahead of its PowerApps clients, some of whom are already pushing the app building platform to its limits in terms of enterprise-grade features. In just the last year, big teams have been using the Power Platform for "mission critical" workloads, Lamanna said, so Microsoft needs to provide the right tools for them.
Another potential point of disruption for D365CE customers is the march toward replacing CRM workflows with Microsoft Flow. For example, on-demand CRM workflows are not exposed in the Unified Interface that is now starting to replace the traditional web client. That means, as MSDW contributor Shailesh Wath explained in a recent article:
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