No matter how much a software vendor hypes up a product or solution, nothing the company releases will be absolutely perfect. There will always be limitations, drawbacks, disadvantages, and implementation challenges.
Microsoft recently released Dynamics 365, a cloud-based bundle including its CRM and ERP solutions. The software giant has been releasing information about Dynamics 365 for several months prior to its release. By and large, the news has been positive. However, there are some critiques about Microsoft’s latest product.
Still Working out the Kinks
On the day Dynamics 365 was released, Microsoft published an entry on its developer website noting that there were certain limitations to the software. Users wouldn’t be able to carry out certain functions. Microsoft is trying to rectify the situation through updates.
While one might argue that perhaps these limitations should have been resolved before the product’s release, at least Microsoft is aware of them and is attempting to solve the problem so users have a better experience.
Is It Too Pricey?
In advance of Dynamics 365’s release, an implementation partner published pricing for the cloud-based bundle. Critics were quick to point out that the pricing plan put the software out of reach of many companies. Microsoft executives quickly defended the firm by saying that the pricing hadn’t been finalized yet.
A month after the unauthorized publication of Dynamics 365 pricing, Microsoft released the official pricing guide for the software. Criticism shifted from the expense to the complexity of the pricing plan. There are two editions (one for small businesses, another for the enterprise), two subscription options (by user and by application), two subscription types (Full and Light), and two enterprise plans.
Are Other CRM and ERP Solutions Better?
Microsoft bills Dynamics 365 as revolutionary because it incorporates artificial intelligence technology that helps businesses make better decisions faster. But Microsoft isn’t the only vendor incorporating AI into its software.
Salesforce.com has leveraged its acquisitions to include AI functionality into its popular CRM. Analysts note that other software vendors are also working on solutions which integrate AI.
That being said, Salesforce.com doesn’t have an ERP solution. And Oracle, one of the leading on-premise ERP solution providers, has long struggled with bringing ERP software to the cloud (though perhaps its recent NetSuite acquisition will change things).
A number of industry analysts believe that Dynamics 365 represents Microsoft’s effort to become the dominant player in both the CRM and ERP spaces. This will be quite a challenge, as currently Microsoft occupies the fourth spot in the CRM market and doesn’t even crack the top five in the ERP field.
The success of Dynamics 365 depends upon Microsoft’s ability to offer customers something new, yet also something familiar. In that, the company has likely succeeded. Dynamics 365 integrates Microsoft’s popular productivity suite, Office 365. Users can easily communicate and share information with tools such as Outlook, Word, and Excel. If the company can overcome software glitches, pricing complexity, and low market share, Dynamics 365 promises to be an important CRM and ERP player.