How Do Dynamics 365 On-Premise & Online Compare?

Dynamics cloud and on-premise comparisin

Microsoft has adopted a 'cloud first' approach to its Dynamics 365 release cadence for many years and some new capabilities have been introduced as 'cloud-only' putting clear daylight between these editions.

We've listed below the main differences between Microsoft Dynamics 365 On-Premise and Online products based on the most recent on-premise v9.0.2 and the Online April 2019 update across Customer Engagement applications.

Dynamics 365 On-Prem v9.0.2 was released in Autumn 2018 which largely reflects the capabilities of the earlier Cloud version released in Spring 2018. Consequently, this doesn't include contents of the October 2018 release, the cloud-only April '19 update, nor will it include any of the new features in the 2019 Release Wave that begins rolling out in October.

Whereas on-premise versions are released every couple of years, Microsoft applies automatic weekly updates to D365 Online that cover performance improvements and new features. In addition, two major updates are released each year which can be previewed in non-production environments.

If you are using on-premise Dynamics CRM 2016, or an earlier version, get in touch to understand how we will help you move to the cloud and benefit from the latest features and capabilities.

Recent updates available for D365 On-Premise + Online

The following features are available in the latest on-premise version but, as noted above, these reflect the capabilities from an earlier Dynamics build compared to the latest Online product.

The Unified Interface is a good example of this. While the latest on-premise version does include the new interface this is the v9.0.2 edition where critical functionality gaps existed between the new UI and legacy web client. Numerous updates have since been applied to the cloud product whereby the Unified Interface is now the mainline experience and Microsoft is now poised to deprecate the web client. By contrast, for earlier UI build in the on-premise edition, few organisations would realistically be able to transition users to the new experience due to these functionality gaps as referenced in this Microsoft post

  • Editable Grids - make inline edits from list views and sub grids
  • Outlook App - track emails in Dynamics 365 from Outlook across virtually any device using server side sync
  • Analyze with Power BI - discover new insights by embedding Power BI dashboards in Dynamics 365
  • Field Service module - optimized work order scheduling for on-site service visits including installation, repair and maintenance
  • Universal Resource Scheduling - manage and schedule any resource in Dynamics 365
  • Knowledge Management - share solutions and important information about your products and services
  • Unified Interface - responsive interface providing a consistent experience across browsers, screens and devices (see above)
  • Service Level Agreements - define service and support standard and associate to entitlements
  • Word & Excel Templates - single click document creation
  • Theme Records - add business logos and change UI colours
  • Business Rules - define rules based on business process flows
  • Calculated Fields - automated formula calculations
  • Roll-up Fields - shows roll up values from child to parent records
  • Virtual Entities - view data that resides in an external system
  • LinkedIn integration - embedded Sales Navigator capabilities (requires Sales Navigator Pro subscription)
  • Unified Service Desk - configurable framework to build an Agent Desktop application integrated with Dynamics 365
  • Customer field for any entity - configure customer lookup field for any Dynamics 365 record type
  • Project Service App - this is now available in an on-premise deployment but we believe it is better delivered in the cloud

Recent Microsoft Dynamics updates that are only available for the Online (Cloud) edition include:

Dynamics 365 Online Capabilities NOT Available with On-Premise Licensing

  • Web Portals - integrated self-service portals for customers, partners, employees or communities 
  • PowerApps - extend Dynamics capabilities through low-code / no-code business apps for mobile or embedded forms 
  • Advanced AI Capabilities - including AI apps across Customer Service and Sales
  • Relationship Insights - AI-driven contextual action cards based on recent contact interactions
  • Organisation Insights Dashboard - review usage stats in the Power Platform admin centre
  • Gamification - apply the concept of fantasy sports to increase user engagement and competition
  • Integrations - Excel Online, Word Online and OneDrive for Business
  • Project Service capabilities - end to end project service management
  • Mobile offline sync
  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing - native marketing automation capabilities
  • Dynamics 365 for Talent - including modules for Attract, On-boarding and Core HR
  • Playbooks - repeatable set of sales processes triggered in the event of a defined scenario
  • SLA enhancements - show time remaining / elapsed and business / actual hours
  • Microsoft Teams integration - pin Dynamics records to Team channels
  • Voice of the Customer - integrated survey solution to create and distribute questionnaires and other feedback forms to collect customer opinions, ratings and views. This is now deprecated in the Online version but selected Dynamics 365 licensed now include usage rights for Microsoft Forms Pro.

Further considerations and improvements in a Cloud deployment of Dynamics 365 include:

  • Faster mobile access - as this does not route through an Internet Facing Deployment
  • Mobile experience easier to configure - through Unified Interface with responsive design
  • Built on the Power Platform - with a unifying Common Data Service where Dynamics and Office 365 data is stored and connected with 3rd party apps
  • Enterprise-grade security - as standard and configured without costly setup or overhead of maintaining ADFS on-premise
  • Microsoft Flow - no need for the installation overhead of the data gateway
  • Exchange Online - with Dynamics 365 apps and Exchange Online in the cloud, connecting the two is a simple process. For an on-premise implementation there are many infrastructure considerations. These include opening up Exchange web service URLs through a firewall as well as authentication considerations.

Upgrade to Dynamics 365 Online

If your organisation is considering moving Dynamics to the cloud, contact Preact to discuss your upgrade and get advice from our consultants.


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