This article is written for people with a passion for solving unique business problems who want to take your Dynamic 365 Customer Engagement (CRM) Knowledge to the next professional step- becoming a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Functional Consultant.
A Microsoft Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant is responsible for the configuration and implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 product solutions for customers. Due to the comprehensive suite of intelligent cloud-based business applications within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 software ecosystem, there are a variety of domain areas of expertise for functional consultants. However, the three central solution areas in Dynamics 365 are Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Power Platform.
Since the role of a functional consultant involves advising on the design and the execution of business solutions, they must have strong product knowledge to expand upon the out-of-the-box functionality of a product to meet certain business requirements. They advise on and configure a customized solution for enterprise business customers, in collaboration with interdisciplinary internal and external teams, including but limited to technical consultants and solution architects. Functional consultants are integral to the digital transformation success of a client and their business because they provide the rigorous business requirements analysis, translate these into technical specifications and implement customized, scalable solutions.
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system and all-in-one business solution. It is a set of applications that are designed to integrate and consolidate customer relationship data and streamline a business’ sales, marketing and services processes. Dynamics 365 CE is comprised of four customer engagement applications:
The above applications are built on Microsoft’s Power Platform. These applications can be purchased separately but are optimized as a wholistic system that streamlines and integrates a business’ customer relationship data and processes to help them better manage and improve their customer relationships and services. In conjunction with and due to the extensibility of Microsoft Power Platform, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications provide enterprise businesses with a scalable cloud-based CRM system that is centralized and automated to better meet complex customer engagements.
The transition of CRM software solutions from an on-premise configuration to a cloud-based software solution facilitates greater data management, insights and process development for business, as the customer information is no longer tethered to a company server or isolated to a specific department or office location. Advantage of a cloud-based CRM like Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement is the ability to scale business processes since they are not restricted to an on-premise server. This is cloud-based software allows businesses to integrate and extend and automate business processes through applications such as those with Microsoft Power Platform to be able to establish data insights and configure intelligent business solutions.
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultants are responsible for designing and implementing customized Dynamics 365 CE solutions for customers across all applications listed above. This means they oversee the end-to-end solution design and are involved in the full implementation lifecycle which includes but is not limited to:
In order to provide clients with sophisticated and customized digital transformation business solutions, it is useful to have experience in the industries that the CRM applications are used for. Useful background experience for a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultant can include end-user experience on Customer Relationship Management software, and industry experience in customer service, marketing, sales and field service. The professional experience from these industries provides you with specific industry and business process knowledge that can be applied to all stages of a Dynamics 365 CE project and will give you the necessary business expertise to identify, and design customized solutions for customers.
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consults require a series of technical and functional skills as consultants on CRM software solutions. The role of a functional consultant requires a combination of technical subject matter expertise, business process acumen, and project implementation experience. Due to the scope of the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement suite, the necessary skillset for a functional consultant within this CRM will vary by application. This means that a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultant requires detailed experience and skills in either Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Customer Service or Dynamics 365 Field Service, in conjunction with the broader skills listed below.
As outlined above, a Dynamics 365 CE functional consultant must be able to configure and implement cloud-based Microsoft CRM solutions. Therefore, the core technical skills relevant to this position include but are not limited to:
These core technical skills allow Dynamics 365 functional consultants to configure, extend and manage the software solutions, and can be expanded upon through application specific product knowledge and experience.
The functional skills for this position as a Dynamics 365 CE consultant therefore include but are not limited to:
The above skills allow Dynamics 365 functional consultants to configure, extend and manage the software solutions, and can be expanded upon through application specific product knowledge and experience.
These skills are important to functional consultants as the process and methodology knowledge drives the design and implementation of a software solution. Having these skills enables you to analyze and communicate the problems and present solutions to customers and clients.
Consulting is a facilitating, and advisory role. Whilst product and solution knowledge are vital for any functional consultant on software solutions, there are several key soft skills that are necessary. Not only are Dynamics 365 CE functional consultants required to analyze, assess, and build CRM software solutions but they must also translate and communicate these solutions to clients, project delivery, and support teams. Soft skills useful to a functional consultant include but are not limited to:
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consulting involves driving complex enterprise CRM solutions and implementation projects. As a result of the diverse and complex business problems and processes CRM software can solve, functional consultants and gain exposure to and experience with many vertical industries and domains associated with the core Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications. Therefore, when considering how to leverage existing business acumen and consulting or developer skills, it is important to understand how Microsoft formulate the certification paths to becoming a Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant Associate.
This is important because the Microsoft certification pathway for Dynamics 365 CRM functional consultants requires two exams to earn the associate certification per individual D365 CE business application.
These business applications have their own certification exam:
MB-210: Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant
MB-220: Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant
MB-230: Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant
MB-240: Dynamics 365 Field Service Functional Consultant
This must be paired with PL-200: Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant in order to become a certified associate functional consultant in either Sales, Marketing, Customer Service or Field Service.
Given that Microsoft designed Dynamics 365 CE on top of Microsoft Power Platform, the PL-200 exam assesses the ability of a functional consultant to configure Microsoft Dataverse, create apps, manage two other Power Platform products, integrate these apps with other services and manage solutions. This exam allows functional consultants to demonstrate the fundamental technical skills necessary to customize and extend Dynamics 365 CE business applications using Microsoft Power Platform and show an understanding of the Dynamics 365 CE application ecosystem necessary for the design and implementation processes.
To become a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultant, it is important to understand that this position requires a synthesis of Microsoft CRM product and technical knowledge, with client facing soft skills. Differentiation for a D365 CE functional consultant can be achieved through Microsoft certifications to demonstrate certified associate skills in each specialist area of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement of Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Field Service. These certifications demonstrate your ability and skills in one or multiple of these applications and industry areas that can leverage and extend prior professional experience in these domains. This product knowledge is strengthened further by a working knowledge of Microsoft Power Platform as it is integral to the Microsoft CRM system, and vital to being able to both configure and implement the solutions for a client to optimize and scale their enterprise business processes.
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