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What to ask before investing in your next Microsoft Dynamics add-on solution

by Farah Harajli
Lead Content Strategist, PairSoft
January 31 2024
Application flow diagram

When it comes to ERPs and CRMs, most businesses know that their quest to streamline processes will only begin with the system, not necessarily end there. To get the most out of an investment in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM or ERP, you’ll often have to add software extensions — similarly to how you’d have to add apps to an iPhone or Android to harness functionality that goes beyond the basics.

To begin formulating how your business needs can fully be met through Microsoft Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 BC, there are a few starting points that will filter out thousands of software providers to make the endeavor less intimidating. We’ve compiled a quick guide below as it relates to the Microsoft product suite; however, many of these same principles can be applied to most ERP and CRM systems.

What Does Your Business Actually Do?

It’s always good to boil your business down to an elevator pitch for cocktail-party reasons, but it’s especially useful when it comes to shopping for software add-ons to your Dynamics system. For example, if your business is primarily involved in B2C eCommerce, but a software company you’re in the discovery phase with is more suited to B2B supply chain businesses, that’s information that both sides are going to want to know as soon as possible. Them so that they can (hopefully) be honest about their tool’s limited functionality for your customer experience needs, and you so that you can continue your search elsewhere and ultimately invest in a tool that your team will get the most use out of.

Speaking of use, you’ll want to measure who’s actually going to use what across your business. Business Central and GP are targeted toward small- and medium-size businesses in industries including retail, services, manufacturing, financial, and public sectors. If you are supporting business software for a 10-person outfit that works onsite, they may not need additional software functionality plugged into their ERP system as much as a 100-person remote company with multiple departments that work together daily. If the 10-person outfit has one colleague solely dedicated to finances, they’d be able to make do with Dynamics (and likely other Microsoft apps) at its most basic. Conversely, the 100-person company likely has a multi-person Accounts Payable department that liaises with both the CFO and anyone else who touches an invoice, meaning they’d get value from a Microsoft Dynamics integration that can work for every single one of those stakeholders (while still being centrally housed within the ERP system for a remote environment).

How Much Automation Do You Need?

This goes back to the size of your company and, ultimately, the pricing you’ve budgeted for a technology investment. Whereas in the example above, the 10-person company wouldn’t break even on a software add-on that works for visibility across departments, they’d probably have an outstanding ROI with SaaS that automates business processes (e.g., invoice payments or communications) they don’t have a human role created for. The 100-person outfit would likely have a role carved out for most of their business functions, so they would look for automation in a different sense: to reduce errors and ensure that “set-it-and-forget-it” permissions can allow their staff to expend brainpower on more complex tasks.

In either case, the amount of automation you’re looking for can sometimes affect the price of your software. If you’re looking to improve two to three main operations   within your ERP, you’re likely going to have a higher ROI due to the frequent use of those few operations as well as their lower cost for the limited scope. When the functionality amps up to dozens of advertised operations, you’re going to be paying dozens more dollars for that usage even though you’d still only be using a few operations per day. This is why it helps to map out exactly which business processes will become fully automated (or not) before you begin adding new tools to a Microsoft Dynamics solution.

Not All Integration Solutions Are Created Equally

Believe it or not, some software still requires a huge technical lift from your team even if you’re paying a ton for it. This can look like complicated autonomous training and setup, and it can also look like extensive manuals on how to configure the add-on solution. Evaluating the technical prowess of key users and team members can give you an idea of which tools will succeed over the long run with group buy-in.

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About Farah Harajli

Farah joined the SaaS space with PairSoft to continue her digital-content-focused career that's included roles at Johns Hopkins University, the Hearst Corporation, and the University of Michigan. She is based in Michigan.

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