Monday, January 16, 2017

Dynamics 365 Implementation: Estimating Services Costs

In my previous post What does Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM) Cost?, we looked at the Microsoft subscription costs for Dynamics 365.    Now let's tackle the cost of customizations and software development.

The least expensive solutions usually are for the most common CRM scenarios, such as sales force automation, customer service, and marketing (or outreach).   These scenarios match the out-of-the-box functionality of Dynamics 365 well to begin with. 

Why Can't I Just Use Dynamics 365 with No Customizations?

Each business or organization that uses Dynamics 365 has some requirements that are not met with the product right out of the box.  Dynamics 365 is designed to allow configuration and customizations to make it work they way that you work. You are likely to require some additional data elements and reports, and nearly certain to need some workflows to match your business processes, but will not need too many new fields or entities.

For instance, if you are automating your sales process, you may want to add fields to the Opportunities entity to track all the stages that you consider part of the sales process.  My company InfoStrat is a government contractor, so we added dozens of fields which show all the stages of a typical government sale as well as set-aside categories and other attributes of government work. These customizations are included in the InfoStrat Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors solution.

Even more customization is requirement for so-called xRM solutions which are those that do not match the out-of-the-box entities, forms and reports, and which require integration with other systems.

Here are some of the key items to count and characterize:

  1. Identify all the data elements you need to track, and map them to the Dynamics 365 data model.   This exercise will show which attributes you need to add to existing entities and which new custom entities you will need to create.
  2. Examine the user interface and determine whether you need customizations to the look and feel.   If you want distinct forms for each user role, for instance, the cost of the implementation (and subsequent maintenance) will increase.
  3. Enumerate and specify all the reports you will need.    Try to categorize them by complexity to simplify estimation.     We usually break them into simple (lists), moderate (some aggregation) and complex (multi-entity and more complicated calculations). Every Dynamics CRM implementation we have done requires some custom reports.   Be sure to take a look at Advanced Find to see if it can satisfy any of your reporting requirements.
  4. Determine which dashboards you will need.    Dashboards combine business graphs with views into records.    Dynamics 365 comes with standard dashboards for sales, marketing and customer service, but these may not make sense for xRM solutions, so you will want to create your own dashboards.
  5. Specify the workflows that will be created.  Again, categorize them into groups based on the complexity of the workflows.    If your workflow has a large number of exceptions you may want to reconsider whether it should be automated at all.

Armed with these lists and specifications, you can approach a Dynamics 365 expert and get a realistic idea of the cost.  If you are familiar with Dynamics 365 yourself, you can use these metrics to create your own estimate.   For instance, you may want to plan four hours for a simple report and twenty hours to create a complex report.

Related posts: See our Dynamics 365 subscription cost calculator

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Understanding Dynamics 365 Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows a developer to package  a number of customizations as a solution so they may be installed and managed as a unit rather than individually.  By customizations, we mean new entities and fields, business processes, and other elements that are added to Dynamics 365 to make it better suite your business needs.  For instance, you could put all your custom entities and attributes as well as reports in a solution.  The solution may be installed into an instance of Dynamics 365 -- online or on premises.

Managed solutions are a type of solution which prevents unintentional changes to the customizations. You must start by creating an unmanaged solution and then deploy it as a managed solution in another instance of Dynamics 365.



There are many approaches to defining the scope of a solution.  You can make it modular by breaking it into multiple solutions.  One extreme is to put all customizations in a single solution.  The other extreme is to use multiple solutions in order to make it easier to reuse solutions across Dynamics 365 instances.

For Microsoft Grants Manager, we would use one solution for the standard Grants Manager Plus customizations, and another which contains customizations unique to a particular agency. A third solution is used for the customizations that relate to the PortVue portal.

Be careful about dependencies among solutions, because this can complicate deployment. If you end up with proliferation of too many solutions, you may want to re-examine them and determine whether some should be merged into fewer solutions.

Solutions are a distribution mechanism rather than being designed as a tool for managing a multi-developer project.  There are better ways of coordinating coding than to have a solution for each developer. Three ways you could organize team development are:

  • Single organization: One master solution
  • Single organization: Multiple developer solutions and one master solution
  • One organization per developer
You can also apply patches in order to simplify solution updates. Solution patches can contain subcomponents of entities rather than the entire entity, reducing the risk of inadvertently overwriting assets by replacing the entire entity. 


You need to consider maintenance implications of Dynamics 365 solutions.  For instance, recently we were updating a client's CRM to a new version, only to find that a managed solution was installed that no one recognized.

Solutions are not always backwards compatible to earlier versions of Dynamics 365/CRM, as shown in the following figure:


Source: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg334576.aspx

If you would like to sell your app, you can publish your solution to AppSource, the Microsoft marketplace for Dynamics solutions. AppSource makes your apps visible to the community of Dynamics 365 users.

Note: This post is an updated version based on Planning for Dynamics CRM Solutions.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What does Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM) Cost?

The cost of a Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation includes software licensing, internal costs of the time of your staff, and sometimes hardware and professional services from Dynamics 365 specialists such as a Microsoft Dynamics Gold Partner like InfoStrat.

Your reseller is best source for software pricing, and can create a quote based on your volume license agreement.  If your organization has an enterprise agreement for Microsoft products, it will offer the best prices.

The following flowchart shows the steps in determining which products you need and the ways to purchase or deploy.




1. What You Need

Start by determining which business processes you are automating and which Dynamics 365 apps you will need.  Do you need Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Field Services, Project Services or Customer Service?

Next, count you users and assign them to each app.  Dynamics 365 is most commonly licensed based on named users, so the first step in calculating costs is to count your users.  You need only count internal users that are within your organization -- external users do not need subscriptions.   For instance, if your organization has 500 people and all of them will be using Dynamics 365, you would buy 500 subscriptions.

Microsoft also offers device CALs, so two or more people who are non-concurrently sharing a workstation could use just one CAL.    This makes sense if you have shift workers or call centers that operate around the clock.

2. How to Run It

Cloud-hosted Dynamics 365 is the easiest deployment model to price.     The subscription covers both the hosting and the associated software licenses.   This deployment model is rapid -- Microsoft manages the infrastructure and you don't need to install anything on your servers.  It is flexible and quite scalable, so you can add (or subtract) users as your needs change.     In the short run it is also the least expensive option because it doesn't require any hardware acquisition or server licenses.  If you deploy with Dynamics 365 in the Microsoft cloud, you will automatically receive all software updates which will be installed by Microsoft.

Government agencies are eligible for hosting in the Microsoft Government cloud, a set of facilities which meet the highest security standards.

To deploy in your data center, count how many Dynamics 365 servers you will need.    How many servers are needed to support the size of your solution?   How many environments will you need, such as development, test, staging and production?    Three or four environments are typical for enterprise solutions.

3. How to Purchase

You can buy Dynamics 365 through resellers along with your Microsoft volume licensing agreement.  Bundles of Dynamics 365 apps offer cost savings and flexibility.  Volume discounts make bundles less expensive than individual apps for 99 or more users.

4. Discounts

Microsoft offers promotions with even better pricing.  These include pricing for organizations such as non-profits, government, and education, and incentives for existing Microsoft customers and customers of competitive products such as Salesforce.

5. Extras

You can purchase additional storage for Dynamics 365, so you should estimate the storage you will need to get an accurate cost estimate. Microsoft and third parties offer a number of add-ons for Dynamics 365 which have additional costs.

See our Dynamics 365 cost calculator for pricing


For more on Dynamics 365, see my posts:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Team Members Subscriptions

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Promo Codes for Dynamics 365 (CRM) -- Year End Savings and More



If you are purchasing Dynamics 365 as a new customer, or upgrading from an earlier version of Dynamics CRM, you may be eligible for some promotional pricing that will be available for a limited time. Your best source is your reseller or Microsoft partner.  If you have not been working with a Microsoft Dynamics Gold Partner such as InfoStrat in the past, you may want to enlist one just to help with this transition.

Because Dynamics 365 is more modular than Dynamics CRM, pricing is more complex.  Two editions, Business and Enterprise, are available, and a number of new products have been introduced along with bundled pricing if you need more than one. I have written about these changes in other posts which are listed below.

First, determine which type of customer you are.  Most enterprise customers purchase through a volume licensing agreement called an Enterprise Agreement.  Your reseller (a third party and not Microsoft) can help you add new users and products to your agreement.

Next, check to see whether you need a bundle such as Plan 1.  If so, you may also receive volume discounts based on the number of users.  These discounts may drive your cost lower than what you are currently paying for Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft is offering promos for new Dynamics 365 customers, including those who are purchasing the Business Edition of Dynamics 365 products.  Contact your reseller or a Microsoft partner such as InfoStrat (sales@infostrat.com) to learn more.

If you are a Dynamics CRM Online customer, your organization may fall into these categories and be eligible for transition discount pricing:

Existing Dynamics CRM Online User
Application Transition Pricing
Promo Code
Comment
Professional User Subscription License (USL)
$86 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365PLAN1
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL
$76 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365PRO
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$66 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365O365PLAN1
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$59 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365O365
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL + Field Service or Project Service Automation Add-on
$76 (for Field Service or Project Service)
Dyn365PRO
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL
$57 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365BASPLAN1
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016
Basic USL
$50 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365BASIC
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016

Existing Dynamics CRM Online User
Application Transition Pricing
Promo Code
Comment
Professional User Subscription License (USL)
$86 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365PLAN1Gov
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL
$76 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365PROGov
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$66 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365O365PLAN1Gov
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$59 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365O365Gov
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL + Field Service or Project Service Automation Add-on
$76 (for Field Service or Project Service)
Dyn365PROGov
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL
$57 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365BASPLAN1Gov
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016
Basic USL
$50 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365BASICGov
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016

Existing Dynamics CRM Online User
Application Transition Pricing
Promo Code
Comment
Professional User Subscription License (USL)
$86 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365PLAN1EduFac
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL
$76 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365PROEduFac
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$66 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365O365PLAN1EduFac
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$59 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365O365EduFac
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL + Field Service or Project Service Automation Add-on
$76 (for Field Service or Project Service)
Dyn365PROEduFac
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL
$57 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365BASPLAN1EduFac
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016
Basic USL
$50 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365BASICEduFac
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016

Existing Dynamics CRM Online User
Application Transition Pricing
Promo Code
Comment
Professional User Subscription License (USL)
$86 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365PLAN1EduStu
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL
$76 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365PROEduStu
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$66 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365O365PLAN1 EduStu
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$59 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365O365EduStu
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL + Field Service or Project Service Automation Add-on
$76 (for Field Service or Project Service)
Dyn365PROEduStu
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL
$57 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365BASPLAN1EduStu
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016
Basic USL
$50 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365BASICEduStu
Only applies for existing users as of O

Existing Dynamics CRM Online User
Application Transition Pricing
Promo Code
Comment
Professional User Subscription License (USL)
$86 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365PLAN1NFP
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL
$76 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365PRONFP
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$66 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365O365PLAN1NFP
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Professional USL Add-on to O365
$59 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365O365NFP
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL + Field Service or Project Service Automation Add-on
$76 (for Field Service or Project Service)
Dyn365PRONFP
For customers as of October 31, 2016 this offer applies to all user licenses purchased before and after October 31, 2016 until renewal.
Basic USL
$57 (for Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1)
Dyn365BASPLAN1NFP
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016
Basic USL
$50 (for Sales or Customer Service)
Dyn365BASICNFP
Only applies for existing users as of October 31, 2016

I don't normally write blogs posts on product pricing, but I am receiving questions from my clients and want to provide as much help as possible to sort through the options of Dynamics 365. 

For more on Dynamics 365, see my posts:

Dynamics 365 Shows Microsoft's Bold Vision

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: 6 Reasons Not to Panic

Dynamics 365 and xRM: What Comes Next?

Understanding Microsoft AppSource and Dynamics 365
http://blogs.infostrat.com/2016/07/understand-microsoft-appsource-and.html

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Team Members Subscriptions

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

InfoStrat QuickStart for Dynamics 365


My company InfoStrat offers a Quick Start for Dynamics 365 service to help customers get up and running with Dynamics 365.  The service is completed in one week to help organizations understand the apps that make up Dynamics 365 and determine which ones make the most sense for them.

As I have written in other blog posts, there are so many new apps and features in Dynamics 365 that they warrant a new look even if you are a long term user of Dynamics CRM Online, Dynamics AX, or Dynamics NAV which predated the Dynamics 365 launch.

 Our customers have been excited to find new apps that meet some of their longstanding requirements that earlier would have required custom development.  In particular, the mobile clients for Dynamics Sales and Field Service provide a wealth of features that would be expensive and time-consuming to create from scratch.

Dynamics 365 Project Service is so new that not many customers have seen it.  Clients who choose InfoStrat's most popular Dynamics solutions for government contractors and grants management often have project management needs as well, so it is worth a look.

We have found that one of the benefits of conducting the Quick Start in only one week is that it engages users and business leaders so they make commitments to automation priorities rather than postpone their evaluation and miss out on some beneficial new features and performance.

For more of my posts on Dynamics 365:

Dynamics 365 Shows Microsoft's Bold Vision

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: 6 Reasons Not to Panic

Dynamics 365 and xRM: What Comes Next?

Understanding Microsoft AppSource and Dynamics 365
http://blogs.infostrat.com/2016/07/understand-microsoft-appsource-and.html

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Team Members Subscriptions

Friday, November 11, 2016

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Webinar Questions



Yesterday I conducted a webinar on Microsoft Dynamics 365, a family of Microsoft business products for sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, and more.

For those who were unable to join the webinar or who don't want to listen to the full recording, here are the top questions and answers:
  1. Are these solutions all in the same place or are they separate solutions integrated seamlessly? -- Dynamics 365 is integrated with Office 365, so it is available in one place with the same login and administrative console
  2. What about an xRM solution that might use very little in terms of in-the-box Sales or Marketing functionality? How would this translate and be licensed? -- Microsoft offers Dynamics 365 PowerApps for this scenario, at a lower cost than Dynamics 365 Sales and other apps. 
  3. Does Power Apps still have accounts/contacts? -- Yes, it still has these shared entities but does not include those dedicated to functions such as Opportunities for Dynamics 365 Sales. 
  4. Does Dynamics 365 Field Service offer truck routing? -- Yes, it includes routing, a dispatcher console and mobile apps for field workers.
  5. Is there Dynamics 365 pricing for Non Profits? Yes, Microsoft offers special pricing for charities. Qualifying organizations can purchase Dynamics 365 Plan 1 for $28.75/user/mo. which is less than one third the commercial price (depending on volume discount). 
  6. Can I move from Business edition to Enterprise edition easily if I'm just using CRM capability? -- Yes, you can mix and match Dynamics 365 subscriptions and move from one edition to the other. 
  7. If you have an existing solution xRM, is there a migration that must be performed in terms of customization or data to transfer your system into one of the newer versions/apps such as PowerApps? Or is this automatic and only the licensing changes? -- There is no technical migration task for moving to Dynamics 365 from the current version of Dynamics CRM Online. 
  8. Another Vendor told me On-premise was not the way Microsoft are going,   Is it going away? -- Microsoft is not abandoning support for on premises deployments.  Customers have the option of cloud or on premises deployment for most products. 
  9. Is it just the same product with a new name and an integration to ERPplus and the App concept? -- Microsoft has morphed Dynamics CRM into Dynamics 365 apps, and these apps will be evolved in the future.  The Dynamics CRM roadmap has become the Dynamics 365 roadmap. 
  10. Do Enterprise and Business editions both use the same data model? -- Yes, the Common Data Model is used across all the Dynamics 365 products. 
For more of my posts on Dynamics 365:

Dynamics 365 Shows Microsoft's Bold Vision

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: 6 Reasons Not to Panic

Dynamics 365 and xRM: What Comes Next?

Understanding Microsoft AppSource and Dynamics 365
http://blogs.infostrat.com/2016/07/understand-microsoft-appsource-and.html

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Team Members Subscriptions

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Send SMS Messages to Your Dynamics Marketing Lists with ClickDimensions


Most of InfoStrat's clients use Dynamics CRM (Dynamics 365) and ClickDimensions to automate email distribution lists for online newsletters, event invitations, and more.  But did you know that you can also use this software to send SMS (text) messages?

You can send messages to a group of recipients stored in a Marketing list, either using lead or contact records.  These messages can be triggered by an automated workflow or through a user action.  Just like emails, the messages may be personalized and can contain data from the CRM system.

Some target groups of people prefer SMS messages rather than email.  It also can make sense for sending alerts to users, such as service outages or emergency information, which attract more user attention.