Some more news relating to Dynamics 365 certification was announced by Microsoft earlier this week, in a move that will (hopefully) address concerns over the current entry-level exam being too broad in function. In this, I’m of course referring to the MB-901 Fundamentals exam for Dynamics 365. Within this, candidates must demonstrate general knowledge regarding a whopping 15+ different Dynamics 365 applications that may, in some cases, share the same base functionality, but are vastly different in other respects. The great benefit of a business application suite like Dynamics 365 is its ability to address multiple, interlinked business areas, reducing the friction involved when interacting between organisational units. However, expecting candidates to understand all these applications is frankly ridiculous and not at all close to reality, based on the professionals involved with these products day-to-day. Case in point - despite being a seasoned Dynamics 365 professional, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about how the purchase cycle within Dynamics 365 Business Central works. 😅
So it’s with a large degree of thanks that we can say goodbye to the MB-901 exam, which will be retired on June 30th 2021. In its place, we can now say hello to two, brand new exams, that are, on the face of it, better suited towards introducing people to the Microsoft business application landscape:
- Exam MB-910: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fundamentals Customer Engagement Apps (CRM)
- Exam MB-920: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fundamentals Finance and Operations Apps (ERP)
Let’s now dive into the content of each of the new exams…
MB-910: CRM is Back, Baby!
Perhaps reflecting the continued temptation to use the older terminology associated with specific products in the Dynamics 365 family, it is gratifying to see a return to the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) acronym. The simple reason? It perhaps most neatly explains to most business users the purposes of the applications referred to within the exam specification. Specifically, Microsoft expects candidates of this exam to demonstrate knowledge of how to use and operate with:
- Dynamics 365 Sales (available in both a Professional and Enterprise variant)
- Dynamics 365 Marketing
- Dynamics 365 Field Service
- Dynamics 365 Customer Service
- Dynamics 365 Project Operations (AKA Project Service Automation)
Also, knowledge of some of the core configuration aspects related to all these applications, such as setting up price lists or resource management, are covered as well, alongside working with reporting tools such as Power BI and integrating the application alongside Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online and Exchange. The various Insight applications (Dynamics 365 Sales Insight, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights etc.) are also covered but would appear to have reduced emphasis compared with MB-901. In summary, therefore, the exam provides a focus towards the Dynamics 365 applications most interwoven with each other. Specifically, all of the above applications sit on top of Microsoft Dataverse (AKA the Common Data Service) and are very tightly interwoven alongside the Power Platform. It, therefore, provides an excellent opportunity for established Power Platform professionals to learn about the range of out of the box and quick to deploy components within the “premium” Dynamics 365 apps, that can often save you a lot of time and hassle when addressing common business scenarios.
MB-920: The First Pure ERP Fundamental Exams
One of the difficulties behind creating an introduction exam to any Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is that these applications are typically very complex and challenging to understand and implement effectively. This new exam, therefore, will be an intriguing experiment to see whether you can expect candidates to show sufficient knowledge of the following systems:
- Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
- Dynamics 365 Finance
- Dynamics 365 Human Resources
- Dynamics 365 Commerce
- Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection
- Dynamics 365 Business Central
It’s also worth highlighting that Dynamics 365 Project Operations is also covered on this exam well. This makes sense, given the application leverages a model-driven application sitting on top of Microsoft Dataverse and also capabilities within the Dynamics 365 Finance product as well. For this exam, it appears you only need to worry about learning the Dynamics 365 Finance aspects of the solution, which is a small relief. Alongside this, Microsoft expects us to know about “shared features” with other Microsoft products, such as Power BI and Microsoft Teams. This section of the exam appears to be directly copied and pasted from the MB-910 spec and has such a low weighting that I’m unsure what detailed knowledge (if any) you will need to know regarding specific integration points. My high-level thoughts on this exam are a little bit uncertain. I suspect we could be witnessing a real-life experiment to see whether candidates can engage and grasp the various ERP solutions from Microsoft as part of a single learning cycle and exam sitting.
Conclusions or Wot I Think
A change to the MB-901 exam, either in terms of contents or in replacing it entirely, was always inevitable. The audience for the exam was almost non-existent in real-life terms, given that people naturally drift to either the CRM or ERP side of Dynamics 365 and do not generally venture much into “the other side”. Attempting to cram all of this within a single exam also made it impossible for professionals to get a comprehensive look over the garden fence and, most importantly, fully understand the usage case and standard features within each Dynamics 365 application. I’m hoping that this change will help to address these concerns and, consequently, reduce the barrier of entry for those interested in focusing their career towards delivering these solutions. Both exams will be out in beta on or around February 2021, and I’ll almost certainly be checking out the MB-920 exam when it lands - so I can ensure I know what each of the various ERP Dynamics 365 solutions do.
What do you think about these latest exams? Will you be taking them yourself next year? Let me know in the comments below!