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In conjunction with its Summit conference in Tampa, Florida, today, Microsoft is providing more detail about the release of its Dynamics 365 cloud software for customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). The combined offering, which will become available on November 1 in more than 40 languages, comes with a new pricing model.

Rather than making companies pay for subscriptions to Dynamics CRM for CRM and Dynamics AX/GP/NAV for ERP, Microsoft is instead bundling them for consumption in an Enterprise Edition and a Business Edition.

“Dynamics 365 will offer subscriptions per app/per user and introduce industry-first plans that embrace the cross-functional way organizations and employees need to work today,” Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise business, wrote in a blog post.

Numoto elaborates:


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With our new plan-based approach you can create roles that have access to all the apps and functions employees in that role need to perform their jobs. For instance, customer service representatives would be more productive with access to data and capabilities from the field service, customer service and sales apps. With traditional app-based subscriptions this would require three separate subscriptions for each customer service representative; however, using our new plans customers get one holistic subscription to have all the information at their fingertips, and customers could save four to five times the cost of traditional CRM providers.

That’s presumably a dig at Salesforce, the prominent cloud-only provider of CRM software. Salesforce offers distinct Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Field Service Lightning products. Salesforce has been taking steps to smarten them up with artificial intelligence (A.I.), and Microsoft has also been thinking up ways to do this.

The streamlined packaging is somewhat similar to what Microsoft did last year with some of its big data services under the Cortana Analytics Suite. Some of the pricing details of Dynamics 365 leaked last month.

Subscriptions are important to Microsoft as it shifts away from licenses for desktop machines and on-premises servers. Dynamics 365, which was first announced a few months ago, represents a new experiment in trying to keep up revenue growth.

Also today, Microsoft is introducing Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights, a tool for developing a “360-degree view of your customer,” Numoto said. This works by aggregating data Microsoft has collected, along with data from social and web sources and internet-connected devices.

Microsoft is also bringing systems integrators (SIs) to the AppSource app store for Dynamics 365 in order to help companies deploy offerings from the store, Numoto said.

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