Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Transition to Dynamics 365

By Brian Dewulf, CRM Practice Manager

Many of you may have already heard about Dynamics 365, the next generation of business applications from Microsoft. If you are like us, you probably have many questions about how this transition will affect your current CRM implementation. As InterDyn BMI’s CRM Practice Manager, I will do my best to answer common questions about this transition and also talk about some of the new features that will be available in this upcoming release.

How will the transition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 affect my current Microsoft Dynamics CRM system?

The answer to that question depends on whether you are running Dynamics CRM on-premises or Dynamics CRM Online.  For those of you currently running an on-premises version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the short answer is, you don’t have to do anything.  You can continue to run your existing version of CRM on-premises for as long as you like.  Those of you using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will need to transition to one of the new Dynamics 365 licensing plans when you current CRM Online agreement expires.  Most CRM Online subscriptions renew annually.  The renewal date is based on when you first signed up for CRM Online.  Your BMI account manager will be able to assist you with this transition.

How do the Dynamics 365 licensing plans differ from Dynamics CRM Online?

Dynamics CRM Online licensing offered several different license options.  Customers could choose between Enterprise, Professional, Basic, Essential, and Self-Service licenses.  Until the recent addition of the field service and project service modules, these licenses gave users differing levels of access to the Sales, Marketing and Customer Service modules. Those are the modules which have traditionally been part of the core CRM functionality.  Two different versions of Dynamics 365 will be available. Dynamics 365 Enterprise becomes available for purchase on November 1, 2016.   Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition includes the traditional core CRM functionality, including the field and project service modules.  In Dynamics 365 these CRM modules are now referred to as “apps”.  These apps can be purchased individually or as part of a plan.  If you only need traditional CRM sales and marketing functionality you could purchase just the Dynamics 365 Sales app.  If you need the traditional CRM service functionality you can purchase the Dynamics 365 Customer Service app.   Also available is the Dynamics 365 Operations app.  This app has traditionally been know as Microsoft Dynamics AX.  It offers a wide range of enterprise resource planning functionality.  Customers requiring access to more than one app have the ability to choose between two different plans. Plan 1 includes all of the traditional CRM functionality, including field and project service.  Plan 2 includes everything in Plan 1, plus Dynamics 365 Operations.  All of these apps and plans have 2 types of licenses, as opposed to the 5 licenses available previously.  For users who only need minimal access to the system, for things like knowledge sharing and BI access, customers can purchase the team member license.  Users who need more than this light access, will require a full license.

What are the benefits of transitioning to Dynamics 365?

  • The primary benefit of transitioning to Dynamics 365 is access to all of the latest features available in this new release. Here is a list of just a few of the new features:
  • Enhancements to the project service module including an integration with Microsoft Project client software
  • An all new business process flow and business rule visual designer with drag-and-drop functionality
  • The ability to launch workflows from business process flows
  • All new editable grid functionality which allows the user to perform inline editing of records in both the web and mobile clients
  • New Email Engagement functionality which allows you to see when your email has been opened, a link has been clicked, an attachment viewed or a reply received
  • The ability to set a reminder to follow-up if you don’t receive a reply or if the email is not opened
  • Relationship Insights analyzes your CRM and Exchange data to provide actionable knowledge about the strength of your customer relationships
  • Enhancements to the CRM App for Outlook including improved performance and support for on-line to on-line, on-prem to on-prem, and hybrid scenarios
  • Native integration between Dynamics 365 Enterprise CRM and Operations apps
  • Microsoft PowerApps and FLOW are new tools designed to allow customer to create “no-code” applications which can connect to multiple data sources, including Microsoft Dynamics 365

InterDyn BMI would be happy to answer any other questions that you may have regarding your specific situation.  Please reach out to your account manager or contact me directly by email:


Customer Success Story: Arbor Day Foundation

arbor day2

Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation, has become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. The foundation has nearly one million members, supporters, and valued partners.

The Arbor Day Foundation’s leadership recognized the need for a more versatile customer relationship management system to replace the organization’s aging infrastructure. In particular, they were looking for a solution that would combine comprehensive service, marketing, and sales management functionality with a highly versatile architecture

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has helped the Arbor Day Foundation reduce application development time, improve scalability by empowering IT to drive change and innovation and ultimately strengthen the overall productivity of their employees. The Arbor Day Foundation has added value to each major department. Through information gathering of the departmental needs and requirements, they have continued to expand the user base, program tracking, and connection of disparate data.


  • 1380078_10152075802403421_468986118_nIncreased Development Productivity: The Arbor Day Foundation management has estimated that application development time has been reduced by as much as 300%. Increased productivity can be attributed to the core relationship management capabilities, shared resources of the application platform layer, reuse of the platform components, and a simple point and click interface.
  • Increased Employee Productivity: The user base has readily accepted the xRM solution. The familiar user interface platform has accelerated its widespread adoption as well as user proficiency.
  • Hiring Reductions: Since implementing the xRM solution, the Arbor Day Foundation has been able to add programs, heighten the impact of those programs, and expand relationships with partners and supporters without a need to increase hiring.