Customization in Dynamics 365, Business Edition

I’m excited about Microsoft Dynamics 365, which officially launched on Nov. 1, 2016. Right now the Business Edition (BE) is an amazing alternative to QuickBooks Online! One thing that was lacking  in BE when it launched was a customization story. There’s an integration story to other systems, but it’s not possible to modify existing pages. Since ERP/CRM customization is a core focus at SteadyCode, I’m keeping an eye on that.

Here’s a LinkedIn article on precisely that by Marco Perisic, General Manager of Dynamics 365. He wrote it the evening after an interview with MSDynamicsWorld.com, published on Nov. 18, 2016. The MSDynamicsWorld interview was specifically about Dynamics 365 Financials (part of BE).

In his article, Perisic clarifies terms used to describe “Extensions, Apps, Solution Apps, and Customer Apps”, which he cautions are still under discussion and subject to change. About a dozen Apps (published in Microsoft’s AppSource, built using Extensions 1.0) are available for Financials now. Several of these are migration apps. In the article he says that Extensions 2.0 using Visual Studio Code should be available in preview by Christmas, 2016. Solution Apps (called ISV third-party products or add-ons in other Dynamics products) will be available in the months after that, and Customer Apps (customer-specific customization) at a later date “TBD”.

IMHO, in order for an ERP/CRM product to be competitive in mid-market companies, layered Solution and Customer Apps are essential. It’s necessary to be able to install several Solution Apps, and plenty of customers have requirements that are unique to their business, often giving them a competitive edge. Sometimes Customer Apps need to apply to everyone, other times to specific groups or individuals. It seemed obvious that these would appear sooner or later and I applaud the transparency shown in this article in discussing them even at an early stage!

As a final note, Dynamics 365, Enterprise Edition (formerly CRM and AX Online), already has robust customization and integration stories, so it is an alternative for companies interested in Dynamics 365 who need customization capability today.

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