Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement – Legacy or Cloud?

At times confusing, the evolution of Dynamics 365 brought important changes to the popular Microsoft CRM application, which rebranded as Customer Engagement (CE). We dispel some of this confusion by looking at the customer engagement app transformation from legacy to cloud (and back).

Microsoft’s customer relationship management platform had gone through quite a transformation since the MS Dynamics CRM brand was replaced with Dynamics 365 to reflect the new umbrella of MS marketing offering. The year was 2016.

A year later, Customer Engagement officially reunited customer-driven tasks across Dynamics 365 – sales, service, and marketing features. It was more than a branding exercise, one that meant to push CRM into the evolving cloud brimming with growing data.

Dynamics 365 CE focused on driving marketing and sales productivity through campaign management, social insights and business intelligence. When the Power Platform emerged in 2018, cloud-based CE moved towards the Common Data Service platform. An important distinction crept between the online CE application and the on-premises tool.

Dynamics 365 CE Online vs On-premises

Until October 2019, online customers could access the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications – Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Field Service and Project Service Automation – under a license plan. Not anymore. These cloud applications are now running on Common Data Service and PowerApps as model-driven apps (meaning no code is required when adding components and modelling business data).

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement became the more exclusive domain of the old legacy product installed on local servers. The on-premises CE provided the app suite, although it shared many features in common with Power Apps and Common Data Service. The same was not true for the cloud version, which strayed from the on-premises architecture to integrate within the Power Platform.

Why is it so important to know this distinction? After all, you just want to implement a capable CRM/Customer Engagement platform, right? Wrong. Your business now has a hard choice to make between following the on-premises suite of CE apps (new version expected October 2020) or opting for the Power Platform environment that links the customer experience-focused apps within Dynamics 365.

Deciding which solution suits your business best depends entirely on the current integration requirements, level of complexity and configuration work, as the two architectures are completely different and the business cannot simply port from one to the other without incurring significant data headaches. Avoid the hassle and speak to your Microsoft solutions vendor to discuss your options in detail before making the plunge.

Strategix can assist with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement deployment and integration. Contact us today at 087 802 0179 or email us at info@strategix.co.za for more information.