Dynamics 365 & PowerPlatform Conferences in 2023

We are close to the end of this, and we mostly have important conference dates for the following year. I would like to have all Dynamics 365 (and/or Power Platform) conferences in one place, with all dates planned for 2023. So, you can find them here and start planning your attendance as most of them have early bird:

  • Days of Knowledge US (September 2023 – TBD)

I hope I’ll se you on some of them.

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Where is the limit in Business Central CRM capability when integrating it with D365 Sales? (part 2)

So, after introduction to this topic, it is time to continue with it and say when you would need to consider extending your Business Central with a license for Sales Professional.

First, what I would like to introduce you to is a small dictionary. The reason is that we have a few of the same, but they have different names. The reason is that Business Central is a financial-focused system, and all data you see in it are focused on your financial transactions with your clients. On the other side, Sales Professional is a Customer-Centric system, and all data in it is focused so that you can have a better view of your clients and make better relationships with them.

Business CentralSales Professional
ContactsContacts (only person)
CustomerAccount
VendorAccount
ItemsProducts
Unit of MeasureUnit Group

After the dictionary, you probably already have a perspective of the focus of each system, as I have previously mentioned.

But why should we stay on a dictionary when we can split all of the things and dive deep into the actual capabilities of a Sales Professional? You will have a better perspective after seeing what is different and when it would be nice to consider extending your Business Central with a Sales Professional license.

Contacts

So, first of all, if we focus on a Contact table, we will see that Contact can be both Company and Person in Business Central, but in the Sales Professional, Contact is only based on a Person.

But besides this difference key difference is the data that we see in both solutions. Sales Professionals have all data which is essential for a salesperson, for example, all recent Opportunities, general information about clients (Name, Email, Preferred Method of Contact, Address, Marital Status, Contact Preferences, Marketing Information of origin of Contact… etc.) and Timeline which I will explain in a separate section because it is on of the main features which are focused to the Sales Professional users.

We have some of the same information on the Business Central side, but all focus on different users. All data in Business Central is focused on a client’s financial data. Still, of course, it is not only financial stuff, there is some of the information that a Sales Professional has, but the whole UI is different and makes users first see relevant data for one ERP system.

Accounts

If we look at the Accounts (Customers/Vendors) situation, it’s like the Contacts. But the main difference is in the gettering Customer and Vendors to the one record, which is the crucial difference from where we can understand the different focus of these two solutions. As previously mentioned, several times, besides UI focus difference whole solution is for another type of user, and each of the solutions makes you look to the specific data which is most important for key users of each of them.

To better understand the difference, you can see that Sales Professional focuses on the Annual Revenue of the whole company, how many employees the company has, what is the company’s industry of the company… etc. Regarding all of this data, you can see that a Sales Professional focuses on adjusting your sales team to make even better sales to this client.

Lead

Lead does not exist in the Business Central, and Lead is our introduction to the Business Process Flow.

Let’s first start with the actual usage of the Leads, specially Leads for Business Central users. Lead is the first contact with some Account or Contact. This means that the salesperson has just talked with somebody, but they are still unsure if they can make actual sales, so we are creating Leads for the starting status. One of the most important things with leads is that they can be used with existing clients and those you don’t have in the system. Suppose contact has been made with someone you don’t have in the system. In that case, another does not create a Contact or Account until you qualify them for the next stage of negotiations, not synchronized as a Contact/Vendor/Account. You will not have several useless clients from whom you have never sold or bought anything in your Business Central. But for the salespersons, this is most important because they will start to negotiate and negotiate sales from here. While salespersons are trying to make as many sales as possible, there is a graphical process that takes them through precisely defined steps to focus on essential communication with potential clients. This graphical leading is called Business Process Flow.

All salespersons can Qualify or Disqualify a Lead. Qualification takes us to the Opportunity, where Contact and Account will be created if they don’t exist in the system already. And important is that Business Process Flow will continue regardless we are getting on to a different table.

Opportunity

From Opportunity, we are returning to the familiar thing we have in Business Central. Still, from the side of a Sales Professional, it depends on how far we will go with the Opportunity. Would we go to the moment to create a Quote inside Sales Professional, or will we leave all financially focused data to the Business Central?

Sales Professional is fully capable of giving a quote, order, and invoice, but as recommended, we should provide a quote from Sales Professional or leave only on the Opportunity level and go to the Business Central and make a Quote from here.

This is all up to you and your use case. It is important to know that all Items and Units of Measure are synced between both systems. All data is available on both sides, and you will receive it back to Sales Professional if you create Quotes in the Business Central. From the perspective of Business Process Flow, it is always there until you finish with this Opportunity and close it as Won or Lost.

Timeline

Timeline is one of the greatest strengths of Sales applications because you have it on all tables and can see all communication with a client. It doesn’t matter if it is regarding just Account or Contact communication or sales regarding the Opportunity or Lead. You can write it manually or make a Phone Call or Email Appointment. Still, more important, if you connect your Outlook with Sales, what can be created in just a setup connection, you can automatically generate all communication with clients and be informed about every and each communication that happens with a specific client.

And with the new release, you have Teams integration based on the table, which means that you can start the conversation which stays connected to the record, and everyone can see it and be informed of what you have to say about the Client or Sales Opportunity.

Conclusion of part 2.

We have passed key differences in some of the tables most used in collaborations for both systems. In the next blog post, I will explain to you how it is possible to make Data Synchronization and make basic integration of them both so that users can get full capabilities of both solutions and get the correct data in the right solution so that users of both solutions can have the best possible information’s which are related to them and that each company which has both of the solutions can make even usage of them both.

Dynamics 365 SMB Ecosystem Map – October 2022

You already know Microsoft publishes new releases two times per year (wave 1 in April and wave 2 in October). You can find all news in Microsoft’s release plans. There is also an amazing ecosystem map by Vadim Korepin about all solutions in Dynamics 365 family.

But as I’m most connected with SMB solutions inside Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, I wanted to share more details on what is available for SMB users and companies from Microsoft Dynamics 365 family. Three business applications (Dynamics 365 Business Central, Sales Professional, Customer Service Professional) covered ERP and CRM parts but with plenty of features. I’m sure no other vendor currently can offer more for SMB customers worldwide.

You can look at and download the Ecosystem map for Dynamics 365 SMB solutions I created (resolution is 3840×2160):

I hope this SMB ecosystem map will be helpful for you, and we will have more features and maybe even more solutions here in the future.

Where is the limit in Business Central CRM capability and when integrating it with D365 Sales? (part 1)

We know that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (previously NAV) is primarily an ERP solution. But even so, this product has some customer relationship management capabilities. And name ‘Business Central’ probably comes because this solution can provide all business activities in one solution. But as this is primarily an ERP solution, the biggest strength comes in ERP, and in other areas, such as CRM or HRM, the level of functionalities is significantly lower. But let us make an overview of what is already in Business Central, but we can say it can be treated as CRM.

First, what we can find are a good customer and contact management. Still, as customers play an essential role in every ERP solution, we can emphasize more about contact management where we have some basic information about contacts and some segmentation.

You can also find some level of creating and tracking opportunities and sales quotes and interactions. You can also have some possibilities to make direct phone calls from BC or send an email. This is more or less what we have, but this is not a small number of functionalities.

Today I’ll not go into details about all these features. I just wanted to show some basic information about them and explain on a high level in which situation you should think about an additional and full CRM solution. As a full and independent CRM solution, I’ll focus on Dynamics 365 Sales Professional:

  • First, naturally, if you don’t have enough functionalities, you will take a specialized CRM solution, but let’s talk in detail on another occasion.
  • Second, the price can be an issue. If you have pure CRM users, they still need to pay $70 or even $100 for the license as they must pay a BC license even if they need only CRM capabilities. Sales Professional full license price is $65, and you can get full CRM. But with the new attach license for Dynamics 365 Sales Professional, BC clients can add a full CRM solution for an additional only $20.
  • Third, as I mentioned in the beginning, Business Central is still primarily an ERP solution, meaning its UI is built for ERP and not for CRM. Even if you have many CRM features, when we compare usage of these features, this is definitely not even close to being useable as in a regular CRM solution.
Dynamics 365 Sales Lead to Opportunity Business Proces Flow

Today I wanted just to make a high-level overview, but in future texts, I’ll try to be more accurate about when CRM in Business Central is enough for you and when you should think about integration with Dynamics 365 Sales.

BizApps Wiki – a great place for ERP, CRM and other experts

New platform BizApps.Wiki has just started. On the first sight it looks like as well know Wikipedia, but there is ‘but’…

In comparison with Wikipedia there is highly focused content only with business applications (solutions/software) and other related topics. By the business application topics you can find information about almost all possible business application solutions as well as vendors (global and local). Also you can find information about partners or about the most impactful experts (MVPs or similar).

By the ‘other related topics’ it means you can find a lot information about project management, business processes, implementation processes, learning guides, certifications, events, communities, accounting… and so on.

OK it is obviously that topics are not related only with Dynamics solutions as this is Wiki about all business solutions, but there are for sure a few dozens of articles (maybe even more) related only with Microsoft solutions.

And on the end, there is one really good idea about building the digital business applications museum. Even if its history is not so big, it is very interesting how these applications looked like 20-30 years ago. And this is not finished project… as you can see on the first page, this is an ongoing project (always work-in-progress) where it is expected that community will take a part in building or editing this library of articles.

I’ll not write about the project in more details as you can easily go there and check. Definitely good for developers, consultants, project managers, but also for future experts such as students…