Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dynamics 365 and you for 2017: Helpful hints, insights, and resources

Dynamics ERP friends,

Microsoft is on the move quickly with their ERP systems. Time is changing and so is the Dynamics world. Here are just a few things I want to note for this year. This is my informal, full of information/opinions/suggestions/humor note for 2017. 

Big Milestone
First and foremost, I greatly appreciate everyone who reads my blog even in passing. Its a fun and creative outlet for me to grow and the fact it helps people helps motivate me to keep it going.

I recently hit 1 million page views on my blog. Yay! [smiley face with party hat]. No clue what I'll hit next year but I'm excited to find out.

New Roadmap Portal
For roadmaps in the past, there would be an image that Microsoft would often show at keynotes at Convergence which would get passed around and reposted. It was a static image with Microsoft working being a veil of mystery.

While the above still exists, there is now an interactive roadmap that shows more than just concepts; it provides deep insights into the entire Dynamics 365 suite. You'll want to bookmark this site and keep up to date on what all is going on.

It breaks down 'What's New', 'In Development', and 'Previously Released' features for all of the Dynamics 365 products and modules within those products. Keep in mind there are two editions now: Dynamics 365 Enterprise (D365 for Sales, D365 for Customer Service, D365 for Field Service, D365 for Project Service Automation, D365 for Operations) and Dynamics 365 for Business (Dynamics 365 for Financials [SMB]). The Enterprise/Business is just a way to bundle the products between Enterprise level solutions and solutions for the SMB market.

Searching for things via search engines
Culturally, we have adopted 'Google' for searching much like asking for a 'Kleenex' for a tissue or a 'Coke' for a soda. 'Did you Google it' is significantly more common that 'Did you Bing it?'. I use 'Bing' in my demos and people snicker with the fan boy jokes flying. For better or worse, that's just how it is.   
Rumor has it, you will find more data on Dynamics 365 using Bing vs other search engines due to how Microsoft optimized the search engine and metadata or something. I don't know the details but its what I've heard from multiple people in different departments at Microsoft. My experience over the past 6 months verifies these claims. Maybe I do a side by side analysis post later this year??

Product education resources
While we're on the topic of search results, MSDN and TechNet were great resources for the Dynamics AX products. Give a look. It is where all the newest information is going to be found and maintained. LCS is also a great spot to research potential issues without opening a ticket while also providing valuable tools for the lifecycle of your implementation.

One interesting note is its '' but AX is not the branding anymore, even though it does still cover AX products. I'm ok with that since my alias is DAX Dude and a number of companies have AX embedded in the name. I refuse to become D3FO Dude (pronounced as 'Dee-foh Dude'?). I'm officially DAX Dude, who works on D3FO.

Mobility and resource development
Mobility will be so important going forward. We are already seeing the beginning pushings for it in the Dynamics space. Cloud/browser based ERPs add significantly more value with mobile applications to supplement functionality. 

I'd recommend getting up to speed on how/why companies will use mobility and what technologies to start growing resources for. You can buy great resources for a premium, but if your company wants homegrown experts, the one thing you can't buy is time. Invest in your employees. Give them the resources to grow with the technology and innovate. Its one of the things I really love about the company I work for. Its not cheap but its worth it. Blue Horseshoe is hiring top talent btw ;-) Inquire within

Product Specific naming
Make a resolution to only refer to the products by the full name ('Dynamics 365 for Operations' or some abbreviation like 'Operations', 'D3FO', 'D3 for Ops', 'Ops 1611 (the version)', etc. Just saying Dynamics 365 will not fly. I talked to a sales person last year who really want to talk to me about a great ISV add-in for 'my Dynamics solution'. The conversation was literally: "Great! Which products is it for?" "Y'know, Dynamics... the Microsoft product?" [Looks at me all sketched out] "I'm good thanks! I'll check it out online" [Grabbed branded pen, product flyer, and walked away].

Also, the product should not be called AX 7 or AX when referring to the new version. This is the same transition as from Axapta to Dynamics AX. Now its Dynamics 365 for Operations. All the cool kids are calling it by the new name. You don't want to be the dude who says Axapta 2012 do you? Coincidentally, that's the same guy who orders the gluten-free wine or a gin and root beer with a celery stick at the bar... Don't those sound yummy? Don't be that guy :-)

Thanks everyone and have a wonderful start to 2017!!!

Look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!


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