Project “Madeira” was a code-name for an initiative Microsoft was working on that provides big solutions for small- to mid-size (and beyond) businesses bringing together ERP solutions with Dynamics CRM all tightly integrated within the Office 365 environment. It was announced at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference that Project Madeira is now Dynamics 365.  Dynamics 365 will come in two flavors:  Business and Enterprise Editions.  It’s Business Edition will target organizations with under 250 employees and its Enterprise will be for organizations with 250 employees or more.  Dynamics 365 allows users to run their business through Microsoft Office 365 to take a look into each aspect of the business and it is fully integrated with Power BI, Microsoft Flow and Cortana.

Dynamics 365 Business Edition and Enterprise Edition

Dynamics 365 Business Edition is a business solution for organizations that need to keep track of accounting and finances, but don’t need to commit to a larger system just yet. With this tool, users can maximize productivity by being able to access all of the business’s data without having to access and open multiple applications. One application can unleash all of the data you need to maximize productivity and have everything in one place for quick accessibility. As anything “365”, Project Madeira (Dynamics 365) will be full embedded with the Office 365 suite and among the myriad of benefits will be the ability to stay within your office productivity tools and work on business initiatives.    For example, you have an inside sales rep and that rep just received a quote request in Outlook.   Typically, the rep would be toggling back and forth among their Finance Application, possibly CRM and Outlook.   Now, with Dynamics 365, users no longer have to toggle out of Outlook, open another app and start the hunt and chase across applications.   Outlook will present team members the ability to launch Madeira (Dynamics 365) from within Outlook and provide a quote right back to the client.   Quote information will be provided to the client as well as updated accordingly in Dynamics 365.  The Business Edition will start with a Finance Module available q4 of 2016 and Sales and Marketing Modules will soon follow.

The Enterprise Edition will target companies larger than 250 employees and will include more than the Business Edition such as Sales and Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service and More.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet for either product although they it appears that licensing will occur in a few formats.  Organizations can License the entire product, Just the Apps they need or at a “Team Member” or role level which will allow for some flexibility of the user across apps.  More to come here.

Efficient Business Management

Are you a small company but experiencing some growing pains?  Project “Madeira” (Dynamics 365) Business Edition may be wells suited for it will provide strong Financial capability that again is integrated in the Office 365 stack.   With this tool, users can maximize productivity by being able to access all of the business’s data without having to access and open multiple applications. One application can unleash all of the data you need to maximize productivity and have everything in one place for quick accessibility.

Track your Finances

One of the most important things to keep track of is the organization’s finances. Project “Madeira” (Dynamics 365) offers a standard configuration of financial processes or users can also customize the configuration. Users can upload and transfer data including customers, accounts, inventory, and vendors. Data can be transferred from an Excel file or from other formats such as an Intuit Interchange Format (IFF) format. If your business currently uses QuickBooks, Project “Madeira” makes it easy to import the necessary data over. During this setup process user can also:

  • Choose payment method options from vendors or customers
  • Set up fiscal periods
  • Add currencies for international customers
  • Apply incoming payments and collecting outstanding invoices
  • Add dimensions (data that is added to entries for further analysis).

Visual Data

Project “Madeira” (Dynamics 365) works alongside Power BI with the Project “Madeira” content pack so you can take data and create reports in order to see upward or downward trends, the organization’s finances, and other data to drive growth for the business. Power BI retrieves the data by properly connecting the content pack while also having permissions to access the necessary information. The Project “Madeira” dashboard already displays types of reports that would be useful to a user’s business such as customer information, sales, finances, profits, and business opportunities.

Manage Your Inventory

Need a way to keep track of what’s coming and going? Inventory is automatically recorded when sales documents are posted. Products are referred to as “items” and attributes including cost values to each item can be entered manually or automatically. In order to manage your inventory, each product must be registered as an “item card.” The item card maintains information that is required to purchase, store, sell, and manage products. Each item card can be specified as an “Inventory” or “Service” to identify the item as a physical unit or labor time unit. Once each item is registered, you can use the “adjust inventory” function to record the actual inventory quantity.

Manage Contacts

A key to small business is maintaining a solid state of growth. How do you want to do that? Project “Madeira” (Dynamics 365) enables users to create a contact management system. This feature is very useful as users can tailor communication with existing and potential customers and establish a business strategy among different contact groups. Most importantly, you can add detailed information within each contact or company that your organization has relationships with. Before you create contacts, different codes need to be created for the groups of contacts you will be creating. Creating these codes will ensure that lists of contacts can easily be found when an employee would like to send out, for instance, an email blast to existing customers or just new customers.

Project “Madeira” is designed as a multi-tenant public cloud service on Microsoft Azure. This allows small businesses to get up and hit the ground running quickly and know that the data is protected properly. Project “Madeira” streamlines processes on many levels for small and midsize businesses by providing the tools and data to maximize productivity and reach business goals.

What will happen to other versions of Dynamics

In regards to other versions of Dynamics, Microsoft made it very clear that those products are not going away and there are releases and enhancements planned for years to come (GP, NAV, AX, etc.).

What does it mean –

There are obvious benefits to highly integrated Office solution which also include Cortana Intelligence, Microsoft Flow, Power BI all within a cloud offering is an interesting play within itself.    In addition, I’m really interested to see what the effect will be on the SMB community and how Dynamics 365 will take significant market share away from QuickBooks.    Obviously this is all just speculation but depending on the price point the ability for small companies to have an effective cloud solution that offers the capability of Dynamics all embedded within Office will solve many head-aches for the SMB who needs an ERP they can trust and is affordable.

What to do next?

Get excited!   There are great things coming and Microsoft is taking the gloves off going after small business and more.    If you’re not already a Dynamics customer I’d check out the Project Madeira website and create a profile to start checking out and previewing the capability.     Also, you can reach out to your Microsoft Gold Partner, Aptude, anytime for we’re here to help provide insight and direction as you navigate Dynamics and the new Dynamics 365 (info@aptude.com or www.aptude.com).