Having a business equates to solving issues or satisfying the needs of our customers. Nevertheless, more often than not, our own internal issues require the most attention. Otherwise, why would a company need a Dynamics 365/AX Technical Solutions Architect?
Devoid of fancy words, a Technical Solutions Architect is able to identify issues within the operations of a company. Therefore, satisfying their business needs with technology solutions. Hence, their job is to observe and optimize. How so? Microsoft has tailored a role-based certification path that enables D365/AX professionals to fulfill businesses’ technical requirements. We understand the effort it takes to learn and get a certification for Dynamics 365. That is the reason for our hands-on-labs approach in our courses. Nothing beats real, practical experience when it comes to solving issues and serving a clear purpose. Therefore, we wanted to show you what a Technical Solutions Architect does. Moreover, how does he do it and why does the certification matter.
Here is an overview of what you will find in this article:
- What is a Technical Solutions Architect?
- What is Microsoft D365/AX?
- Skills required for a Technical Solutions Architect
- Responsibilities of a Technical Solutions Architect
- How do you become a Certified D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect?
- Final Considerations: D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect
What is a Technical Solutions Architect?
Never mind the fact that a Technical Solutions Architect might be self-employed or part of an organization. The job description remains more or less the same. Once an architect has acquired the necessary skills and knowledge, through their experience and the learning path developed by Microsoft, he or she will be:
- Discovering your customer’s needs.
- Proposing a solution.
- Working to satisfy requirements.
- Performing a fit-gap analysis to determine gaps in functionality between the business needs and the operating components.
Microsoft’s introductory module will teach the technical solutions architect, how to inquire their customers about their business processes and features. Which, in turn, translates into requirements and allows the creation of a solution. Furthermore, they must learn about solution propositions. Everything from identifying viable solutions, to developing a demo compatible with third-party components. This module includes the ability to detect risks and opportunities within the design.
The next step is very important within a corporate environment. As the technical solutions architect will learn how to gauge the needs of a business. The main part of this module is to identify functional requirements and distinguish them from non-functional requirements. Eventually, these distinctions allow the architect to confirm the requirements with precision and efficiency. Finally, the architect will learn how to execute a fit-gap analysis. The analysis will serve several purposes. First, it will allow the architect to determine the gap between the requirements and the current solution. Second, you will learn to categorize the business requirements in order to develop a proof of concept insight.
But how do they do that? By using cloud-based solutions like Dynamics 365.
What is Microsoft D365/AX?
In simple words, Dynamics 365 is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. It connects business operations, customers, products, and data.
It allows you to accelerate the transition of a product into the market. How? By managing product information across the globe and all of your subsidiaries. Therefore, you will be able to lower your product costs. In turn, allocating resources in a more efficient manner. Moreover, Dynamics 365 will keep you updated on regulatory standards and regulations. Interestingly, it will allow you to resolve issues on product quality from your back office.
Never again will you have to worry about running out of stock on a product, or, having too much of it. Meet your customer’s demand by optimizing your supply and distribution. You will be able to plan ahead of the demand, optimizing resource schedules. Moreover, improve profits, as you will be able to visualize in real-time what your customers are buying, and adjust accordingly. Furthermore, it allows you to observe your production and resource allocation. This is crucial when it comes to minimizing overtime and improving the utilization of your assets and equipment.
Though it is better than before, companies still face the challenge of inventory visibility. Managing warehouses and inventory is a complex, detailed process. Nevertheless, D365 allows you to manage your inventory and organize your products with daily synchronization. You will be able to observe anything from carrying and landed costs. Giving you the opportunity to set up min-max systems, order cycles, and real-time analysis. From the moment the raw material arrives at your processing facility to the moment you ship the final product to your customers, you will have total control.
Typically, facing the costs of innovation can be a daunting task. However, Dynamics 365 allows you to connect all the processes related to your factory within a single platform. This aspect will allow you to create strategies based on crucial KPIs. Equipment downtime, real-time product quality reports, and instant reports on production delays are amongst these. Keep your production consistent, continuous, and efficient. Moreover, you will be able to optimize and automate your resource management, to minimize travel time between your supply chain. One of the most interesting elements is the ability to integrate your assets within Dynamics 365 Field Service. This will allow you to perform scheduled maintenance and improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
What does it do?
As business apps built on Azure, and integrated with Microsoft Power Platform, these allow you to manage your finances, supply chain, commerce, and human resources from the same place:
Monitor the performance of every single aspect of your business in real time. Dynamics 365 finance allows you to automate and predict future outcomes; moreover, it provides the user with a myriad of KPIs that ease decision making, with a data-driven approach that maximizes business growth.
Internet of things, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality come together to give you real-time visualization of your operations. This app allows you to acquire insights, based on your demand, inventory, and manufacturing capability.
One key challenge that we face in the current era, given the impact of the pandemic, is how to maintain high standards of quality and security while simplifying the acquisition of products and services for our customers at the same time. The Commerce app will allow you and guide you, to create optimal shopping experiences in both a digital and an on-site context.
A very important aspect of a business’ success relates to its working environment. The Human Resource app will allow you to visualize its key components. Automate your benefits, economic compensations, as well as programs for compliance, training, and certifications. Moreover, it is a scalable solution, and you can connect it with partner systems.
Skills required for a Technical Solutions Architect
If you were not curious about becoming a Technical Solutions Architect before, you might be curious now. Learn about the findings of the latest salary survey from Nigel Frank. In the U.S only, a senior Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Technical Architect earns an average of $175.100 annually. Obviously, nothing to scoff at. Moreover, the demand for Microsoft Dynamics has increased by 51% in the last year, and 53% of the surveyed, expect it to grow even more in the current year. When it comes to the skillset of an architect, you have to understand what drives businesses to search for these kinds of services. Their incentive to take the big step into the world of ERP systems is the following:
|Reduction of costs||32%|
|Integration of 3rd party systems||23%|
|Variety of services||21%|
Consider that it would be wise to develop your skillset based on both Microsoft’s certification requirements and these market drivers. As far as business requirement goes, this is what you need:
- Be a good leader. Part of the job requires you to clarify methodology approaches. Therefore allowing you to lead both business-customer and business-employees workshops and meetings. It will go a long way, as you become able to review and write architecture documentation.
- Make yourself comfortable throughout the whole delivery process. The ultimate goal is to meet the customer’s requirements and complete the projects. Therefore, aside from being an advocate for standards and best practices, stay updated on Dynamics 365 related technologies.
- You want to understand the capabilities of your development team and work around an appropriate schedule. This allows you to provide support and assistance when required.
- Being able to serve as an advisor, participating in the pre-sales and post-sales process will be extremely useful. Moreover, part of the skillset that you develop throughout your own learning process, will make you a capable mentor for junior staff. Remember, sharing knowledge and experience ensures team growth and effectiveness.
- As far as technical skills go, the requirements will vary widely depending on whether you are specializing in CRM, SCM, or ERP as a whole. Nevertheless, you can always refer to Microsoft Resources to grasp what will be made available as the product updates.
Responsibilities of a Technical Solutions Architect
When it comes to responsibilities, your tasks will vary depending on your customer’s business. However, to illustrate some of the potential customer needs, we want to refer you to the success stories of Microsoft’s partners. Recently, they have taken a step into Dynamics 365 as their ERP of choice.
For example, there is the case of Toyota. A brand that is known all throughout the world for its excellence, deeply rooted in Japanese values. The main goal of their migration was to use the Field Service app of Microsoft Dynamics 365. Therefore, improving maintenance and the prediction of failures, aside from the quality of their after-sales services.
For Senichiro Kondo, the responsible for GMSS (Global Mobile Service Solution) expansion and development, the platform allowed them to unify their global operations. Allowing Toyota to differentiate itself from competitors as the first brand in its industry to use IoT (Internet of Things) within its service operations. The Microsoft-based cloud allowed them to meet security standards. Moreover, it allowed them to manage their distributors directly, which translated into cost-effectiveness for their operations in India.
Winner Imports, a Ukraine-based brand, used Dynamics 365 to build a single business cloud platform. Allowing them to link everything from their warehouses to their salesroom, and anything in-between. This case study is particularly important, as they specifically used the Finance and Operation apps in conjunction with Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Therefore, saving significant time in their business processes.
In this case, Serhiy Fesyun, the finance director of the company reported that they used the system to fulfill their logistics, finance, and accounting needs. How? Via the form of real-time business reports, taxes, budgeting, and HR management. A very important part of the process dealt with sales forecasting and the implementation of a unified system. This signified a 50% reduction in support needs. Moreover, there were significant savings on costs when they migrated from on-premise to Dynamics Finance and Operations online. With that, projects that were due for over four weeks due to server issues were completed on the same day.
University of South Florida
Beyond its commercial capabilities, there is an unexplored potential for Dynamics within the education and science markets. That is the case of the University of South Florida. Sidney Fernandes, Vice President for Technology and Chief Information Officer of the USF system, explained the necessity of unifying the university experience. Mostly in facilities where multiple campuses were located. The decision was a requirement that stemmed from the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018. Therefore, compelling the USF to consolidate its campuses by July of 2020.
They used the Microsoft Power platform to provide the faculty with real-time information about its students. Now, they were able to focus their efforts in successful educational outcomes. For example, part of the requirements was to acquire data from over 50.000 students across the campuses. From attendance records, performance, to ID card usage within the facilities. Eventually, including means of instant communication between the students and the faculty and staff members. So far, the benefits of stacking this data do not end in increased GPA and SAT scores. They earned the ability to allocate students to the right programs, with a data-based approach.
Though seemingly vague at first glance, the truth about your responsibilities is the truth of your customer’s business. As you can see, a bright future, not only for the commercial industry but of multiple markets could lie within these technologies.
How do you become a Certified D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect?
Given the importance of their work, it is expected for a D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect to have a deep understanding of Dynamics 365 and the Finance and Operation apps. Moreover, they need functional experience with consulting, and familiarity with developer role activities. Now, how can you earn a developer role and how do you earn functional experience?
First, assuming that you are an IT professional or technical consultant, you want to be familiar with Dynamics 365 and the Finance and Operation apps. To do so, Microsoft has prepared an extensive learning path that can prepare you to advise stakeholders and bring secure, scalable, and reliable solutions for businesses. This learning path will give you a certain, necessary skillset:
- The ability to design cohesive solutions within the architectural framework of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations apps.
- Extensive knowledge about an industry vertical, though you are not limited in this regard and might learn more if you wish to do so.
- You will become familiarized with tools and functional areas such as finance, supply chain management, and manufacturing.
- With the aid of instructor-led-training (ILT), you will be able to earn experience in consulting. Therefore, allowing you to make implementations and handle team members to provide solutions with a cost-effective definition in mind.
Since the Technical Solutions Architect is a role-based certification, you will need to follow the path in three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Now, the certification path goes as follows:
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (Optional)
- For this certification, you will need to pass the exam MB-920
- In order to get ready for this test, Microsoft has prepared a learning path that will give you an overview and introduction to Microsoft Dynamics 365. Furthermore, you will learn about cloud concepts, Microsoft Power Platform, and how to get started with the apps. Aside from that, it includes business applications and the implications of the implementation of artificial intelligence and mixed reality within today’s business model transformation.
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate
- This time, you will need to take two different exams: MB-300 and MB-500.
- These exams will deal with the Core Finance and Operation Apps, for the MB-300. Whereas the other will test your ability as a Finance and Operations Apps Developer, in the case of MB-500. One of the main challenges when it comes to the learning process for these exams is that the learning path from Microsoft just does not suffice at this point unless you have real experience.
- For our MB-300 course, which features more than 20 hours of content and interactive video lessons and quizzes, aside from the official, enhanced curriculum for the exam, you can acquire hands-on practice with a lifecycle service project. Moreover, you can learn how to create and run workflows, personalize forms, build mobile apps, practice with legal entities, hierarchies, and automated testing features.
- Within our MB-500 course, with over 60 hours of course content, you will obtain an enhanced curriculum for the exam as well. Furthermore, you will obtain features such as hands-on training labs, knowledge for learning how to program X++ code, how to manage lifecycle services, and a very important ability for an upcoming developer; integrating D365 with Azure. Aside from learning about data migration and the implementation of data management packages APIs.
- To obtain this certification you will need to take the MB-700 This will be the ultimate test for a Dynamics 365 Solution Architect. It will gauge not only your knowledge but also your experience and insight on industry and production standards. Moreover, the exam expects the architect to have plentiful functional and technical experience providing solutions with Dynamics-related technologies.
Pros for the Technical Solutions Architect learning path
Cons for the Technical Solutions Architect learning path
Summary: How Can I become a D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect?
In order to become a certified D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect, this is what you need:
- Take the MB-920 exam to become for the Dynamics 365 Fundamentals certification.
- The first will work as a pre-requisite. Now, take the MB-300 and MB-500 exams to become a certified Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate.
- If you are confident, the MB-700 exam will be the end of the certification path and ensure you to be a certified Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert.
Final Considerations: D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect
We all know that good things must come to an end. The goal of this research was to show what it takes to become a professional within the industry. Moreover, we want you to learn how to become an architect of one of the most innovative platforms of today’s world. As a Dynamics 365 manager and developer, you will peek into what it takes to satisfy the needs of a business. Furthermore, these are vastly different from the needs of a customer. However, as a D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect, you will get a firm grasp on what drives businesses to fail or succeed. More importantly, you will gain a tangible power to influence these outcomes.
With knowledge comes power, and only through sharing hard-earned knowledge, we can push the evolution of our societies forward. Finally, we hope that you find our blog but also, our courses useful. We are truly passionate about investing ourselves into creating the professionals that will shape the world of tomorrow.
Thank you for reading our post on How Can I Become a D365/AX Technical Solutions Architect. If you have any questions, leave us a comment in the section below, we will reply as soon as possible. Do not forget to also visit our blog section to learn more about the perks of Microsoft Certifications.
You can also reach out to us here if you have any questions concerning our products. We want to ensure you get the best quality, so any feedback is also appreciated. This has been Brandon Ahmad, founder of Instructor Brandon and Dynatuners.
What is a Technical Solutions Architect?
A technical solutions architect is able to design, implement, and deploy solutions that will be custom-made for each customer’s needs. Typically, the job of a Technical Solutions Architect goes through a very particular cycle, which is the pre-sales and analysis phase of a project.
What is Microsoft D365/AX?
In simple words, Dynamics 365 is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. It is a connection of business, customers, products, and data. On the other hand, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operation Apps, formerly known as D365/AX refers specifically to the ERP and SCM (Supply Chain Management) solutions within the platform.
What is the skillset of a Technical Solutions Architect?
Mainly, they have the ability to design cohesive solutions within the architectural framework of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations apps. Moreover, they are able to perform fit-gap analysis to determine gaps in functionality, between the business needs and the operating components.
What is the role of a Technical Solutions Architect in a Business?
Advise stakeholders and bring secure, scalable and reliable solutions for businesses. Furthermore, performing a fit-gap analysis allows architects to determine the gap between the requirements and the current solution, in order to develop proof of concept insights.
How do you become a certified Technical Solutions Architect?
Take the MB-920 exam to become certified in Dynamics 365 Fundamentals. The first will work as a pre-requisite. Furthermore, take the MB-300 and MB-500 exams to become a certified Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate. You can refer to our MB-300 and MB-500 courses, which will provide you knowledge and an enhanced curriculum of these tests.