The world of Dynamics CRM has passed us by as we entered a new era of Microsoft Business Applications. This area has been a focused set of products for Microsoft but had excluded Dynamics products in the past. Being unified under the Microsoft Business Applications umbrella has been a benefit for us consultants. Some can argue it makes our scope of work too broad, while I believe it focuses our work on the true impact we are attempting to create with our clients. We are not simple CRM platform builders.
We are problem solvers that apply critical thinking to how technology can implement business processes in a useful and relevant way.
When I approach a problem as a Microsoft Business Applications expert I look beyond the tool and try to visualize what the business needs. I explore the business process to align each segment with the appropriate application at the right time, not just because it is there to be used.
This approach was not as simple when we were only implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM. During CRM implementations, especially during pre-sales conversations, it was difficult to mention other applications that may play a part in solving a business need. Of course, SharePoint integration and Outlook were out of the box, so they were simply talking points. Now we have Microsoft Flow, and PowerApps which can deliver a micro-services approach to solving business process problems. Azure is part of almost every implementation I have done over the past year and right along with that is Power BI. These applications are developed with each other in mind. Microsoft has removed the silos. These tools work better together and lead to each other as you design your solutions.
With all these tools interacting seamlessly with each other, we would fail our clients if we did not know a small piece about each. I am not proposing to drop the specialist in Power BI, or not having Azure architects. I am suggesting we look beyond our own horizon and know what is coming. As a consultant you should know how Azure and Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrate, at least at a surface level. Consultants should know how Power BI builds tables and can restructure source data to make better reporting possible.
Good consultants already know the limitations of their own application. These limitations are opportunities to see what other business application can solve the need within the ecosystem. Unfortunately to do this it takes learning and time. A great Microsoft partner should allow for professional development time. Take that time and find the free or paid training that is out there. To make that easier I have created a list of core Business Application training resources. This list is not exhaustive, but it is the foundational component of any Microsoft Business Applications delivery personnel.
Latest Documentation for all Business Applications
Free MSFT Learn courses
Good for certification prep
MSFT Dynamics Learning Portal
– Partners only or clients of MSFT Partners