Why Microsoft's Dynamics 365 SMB Strategy Must Offer More Than Simplicity

September 14 2016

Microsoft have revealed more details of their Dynamics 365 licencing to partners this week. A huge 173 page presentation gave us all a lot to think about as we try to understand the future and how it will affect our prospects and customers.  

One obvious conclusion from it all is that the ‘Enterprise' plans are a lot more well developed than the SMB focused ‘Business' ones at this point. My other conclusion is that the Business edition will need to evolve considerably to be a success.

About James Crowter

I'm passionate about how businesses can improve their efficiency by getting process optimal more of the time. For the last twenty five years I've worked to help organisations of all sizes and types implement the ERP & CRM software that typically they decide they need when things are going wrong. I've seen that work unbelievably well and enabled those organisations to rapidly grow but I've also had some hard projects over that time where it's felt more like warfare at times.

Since 1996 (and version 1.01) I've been working with a small Danish product called Navision that's now become Microsoft's Dynamics NAV and I've also been using and consulting around Microsoft CRM since 2005. As managing Director of one of the longest established first Navision and now Microsoft Dynamics partners I've been involved in the complete history including numerous product councils and system design reviews. It's my privilege to know many of the key Microsoft executives and product designers and have insight into both where the products are now and their future direction.

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JRODENCAL's picture

James, Thanks for writing this article, don't reply much but I so agree with the statements that you make. Having worked with and consulted on Dynamics GP for the past 17 years I too find that the SMB's progress so much faster than their Enterprise counterparts, and adoption is one of the biggest factors in that. It is going to be interesting to see how D365 progresses and I too hope that Microsoft doesn't neglect the SMB market.

jroberts's picture

For the past 25 years I have managed and owned a number of small businesses (10-35 office staff). Over that period I have tried and tested a number of CRM/ERP "Solutions". None of them work "Out Of The Box", and processes and procedures must be modified to either take advantage of the new system, or just to make it work. Inventory and "warehouses" are hugely important as we deal with a large volume of externally sourced material for our clients which must be billed monthly. Cases are important as we need to know the turn around on client queries. I tried Project Maderia for a few days and gave up - reporting was weak, in my opinion, the interface was child like, and the work flow was bizarre. I am hoping that my first experience would improve as the project matures. We have been using Dynamics CRM for a few years and are looking forward to the coming releases, but I cannot justify putting all my staff on it due to all in price. A full blown Enterprise Light version would be welcome. Thanks for the piece, I appreciate that some vendors understand the sector.

AmitW's picture

Thanks for posting this update. I hope that Microsoft takes such feedback seriously from all its beta / preview customers. If they simplify it too far it will, as you say, completely miss the SMB mark. This is a huge opportunity and I am surprised that the enterprise version is better prepared than the BE version. This kind of product needs a close communication with its users and a strong roadmap.