Digital Transformation is more than a name, and it requires modern Business Applications such as Dynamics 365 and Productivity tools to support the concept.

Looking at the history we can see three distinct phases leading to the present including,

  • Systems of Record.
  • Systems of Engagement.
  • Systems of Intelligence.

1.    Systems of Record

Initially Systems of Record such as Financial or ERP Systems where adopted to record transactions, such as sales receipts and payments. They replaced manual ledgers, and were, by their very nature recording historical events.

These Systems of Record often came from different suppliers, and some of these suppliers found themselves with different applications for different functions within one organisation, such as finance, manufacturing, purchasing and sales etc. These systems were often standalone and data shared via interfaces, justified to eliminate multiple data entry. This often resulted in silos of information.

2.    Systems of Engagement

As System of Record matured, companies looked for the next advance to make a competitive gain, finding or developing, Systems of Engagement, systems that moved from the back-office and to be used by employees. These systems included collaboration, social media, and CRM. These systems often relied on employee commitment and adoption. The user interface started to become as important as the functionality.

3.    Systems of intelligence

Systems of intelligence began appearing with Machine Learning, use of Big Data, Internet of Things. A example we can see Dynamics 365 Sales, LinkedIn and Microsoft Outlook working together to help analyse generate leads and analyse performance.

In the past variances have always existed using these systems and have been classified as exceptions. We are starting to get the tools to analyse and understand the exceptions and take them into consideration going forward, thus closing the feedback loop to provide greater improvements and ensure that trends are not discounted as exceptions.

Dynamics 365 was launched in November 2016 with the vision of developing Systems of Intelligence, build around the Dynamics Business Applications, and Office 365. This public cloud offering is built on a Common Object Model and includes a number of tools including Business Intelligence Workflow and Visualisation tools to maximise the benefit from System of Intelligence.

Dynamics 365 consists of cloud based Sales Marketing Financials and Fulfilment components within a complimentary application ecosystem.

You might ask “is this different or just more of the same?” The answer is that it is very different and can lead the Digital Transformation of many companies.

Embracing the move to Systems of Intelligence will provide competitive advantage in a fast moving world. A modern tool set such as Dynamics 365 in conjunction with Office 365 can provide a powerful and cost effective foundation for this change.


John Biggs is a CRM Consultant with Olympic Software. He has 13 years’ experience working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. He enjoys helping our clients to improve their sales using Dynamics 365. He often shares relevant information and articles on his social media channels. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him via LinkedIn or contact him at