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Dynamics 365 joins Azure and Office 365 in Microsoft UK datacentre

Hosting Dynamics 365 with Azure and Office 365 is part of Microsoft’s big cloud upsell

Microsoft has updated its Dynamics 365 software as a service (SaaS), which is now available from a UK datacentre and boosts integration with LinkedIn.

Dynamics 365 joins Office 365 and Azure in the Microsoft’s UK datacentre, giving commercial and public sector organisations UK data residency.

Hosting the three services in the UK enables companies and organisations to work seamlessly to become more productive, gain new insights into their operations and create greater personalised experiences for customers, Chris Rothwell, product manager of Dynamics 365, wrote on the Microsoft blog.

By having its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud, office productivity through Office 365 and its flagship enterprise suite in one cloud, hosted in the UK, Microsoft is laying the foundations for integrating higher level SaaS with its Azure cloud offering.

This is one of the benefits Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about in a recent conference call. At the time, he told financial analysts that companies may start with Azure, but they then start using more advanced services such as Microsoft Dynamics or HoloLens and machine learning.

The CRM technology value matrix 2h2016 from Nucleus Research reported that its customer relationship management (CRM) benefits from the broader Microsoft portfolio.

“Microsoft’s investments in ancillary products such as PowerBI and machine learning capabilities through Microsoft Azure add to its functionality strength,” the analyst noted.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is among the organisations now using Dynamics 365, which is being used to share information between medical professionals and patients. The ability to see a complete picture of an individual’s needs means more people can be treated in their own homes rather than in a hospital, Rothwell said in the blog post.

Among the enhancements Microsoft has introduced into Dynamics 365 is a connection into LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Rothwell told Computer Weekly that prior to the integration, the sales process in Dynamics and LinkedIn Navigator were separate.

“There will be greater insight for customers. Sales uses CRM, email and LinkedIn, so we can give users a much richer view,” he said.

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The integration enables salespeople to look up customers, with greater levels of insight being surfaced inside Dynamics 365, enhanced by the professional network available through LinkedIn Navigator.

Rothwell said all this information is now available in one place. “Application swapping is real productivity killer,” he said, adding that the integration between LinkedIn Navigator and Dynamics 365 is cleaner.

Beyond the LinkedIn integration, Microsoft has started addressing skills retention and human resources (HR) management with Dynamics 365 for talent. Rothwell said this can be used to attract people to the organisation and supports recruitment and development.

Small businesses and retail are two other focus areas for Microsoft. UK users will be able to preview Dynamics for Financials, a version of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, supporting purchasing, stock control, sales and accounting.

Microsoft has also announced a vertical applications for retail, supporting omnichannel, merchandising and managing stock. It includes machine learning capabilities.

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)