Britain’s Got Talent (Really!)

We are implementing the first UK deployment of Dynamics 365 for Talent – Microsoft’s stand alone HR application based on the Dynamics 365 platform.  Stephen is front and centre of our consulting effort on this one as we move to a go-live at the beginning of November. Here he shares some real world insights into the Talent landscape.

Dynamics 365 for Talent, what is it?

Dynamics 365 for Talent is the latest addition to Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 suite. Talent is a cloud-hosted solution comprising of three separate applications including Attract, On-board and Core HR. Many will think of a HR system as a data management system. However, Microsoft have changed their angle of approach and are now assisting employees to thrive and reach their full potential at work, by allowing them to record and track their goals, objectives and aspirations right from the start of their employment.


What is Attract?

Attract is a user-friendly application used to track live vacancies and record submissions from new applicants. It is directly hooked-up to LinkedIn to leverage all the great profile information from candidates. Some key highlights include:

  • Tracking the different stages in recruitment of applicants:


  • Scheduling meeting times for internal employees involved in the interviewing process (and links directly to an employee Microsoft Outlook calendar):


  • Auto-generated emails from Talent that notify applicants of updates in the recruitment process:

What is Onboard?

Onboard is an application that is activated at the point of job offer acceptance by the applicant. This is, as Microsoft call it, a Welcome Guide for new employees. Gone are the days of back-and-forth letters and emails asking for pre-employment information.  Stand-out features include the ability to create recruitment checklists and upload accompanying documentation (think certificates, contracts of employment, employee handbooks). After creating your recruitment checklist, an automated email will be sent to the applicant so they can see what needs to be completed and provide the necessary information to HR, ensuring a swift and timely recruitment process.



What is core HR?

Core HR is the building blocks behind Dynamics 365 for Talent. In previous versions of AX2012, customers have commented that this was merely a data management system. However, things have changed for the better with Dynamics 365 for Talent. Yes, the foundations of Talent were built from the fundamentals of AX2012 and its predecessors, but there is a whole host of new and interesting features.  One of the great new interfaces is the Employee Self-Service page which gives employees an overview of their HR record and options to update certain aspects (for those that have wrestled with AX2012 Enterprise Portal, it is a huge leap forward). Obviously, key aspects such as compensation are still under the control of a HR administration team.  And there are some nice thought touches here too, such as the padlock icon on sensitive information that must be clicked before it is displayed.

This list of new, exciting features is growing fast. To Microsoft’s credit, the speed of development based on constant feedback from consultants and new customers is very impressive.  The true SaaS Cloud model really helps, with regular feature updates coming online without painful upgrade steps for the client.  So far, that element has been quite seamless.

But don’t we already have a HR module within Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations or AX2012?

The simple answer is yes you do.  However, Dynamics 365 for Talent offers a whole host of new features, including the previously discussed Attract and On-boarding. These two mini applications focus mainly on letting external individuals assist with the full HR administration processes meaning time can be focused on internal HR matters. And whilst core HR features will remain in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (mainly to support dependent features like project timesheets, work centre resourcing and warehouse features), if you need to expand beyond those basic record keeping capabilities, Talent is where you need to be.

Another great improvement in new verses old is holiday request features. Talent enables employees to request time-off directly from the Employee Self-Service workspace, with a much richer and more user friendly user interface.

The utilisation of integrated Power BI is also a great leap forward. This mines the data directly from Core HR and can be refreshed in real time. An added bonus is that virtually all of the setup is complete and ready to go with pre-build content packs.

Microsoft have confirmed that future plans for any new HR functionality will only exist for Dynamics 365 for Talent and minimal new updates will be made for other versions (D365FO & AX2012). Updates and future road map plans are constantly being developed.


LinkedIn:  Perhaps not surprisingly, after a colossal investment of $26.2bn in LinkedIn, Microsoft are pretty keen to leverage some of that content.  The Talent/LinkedIn integration will allow recruiters to take advantage of the vast LinkedIn database, source potential applicants and perform all necessary HR processes to the point of hiring.

Dynamics 365 for Operations/AX 2012: In the Fall 2017 release cycle, Microsoft have announced that there will be integration between Dynamics 365 for Talent, AX 2012 and Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations. This will reduce the need to manually input data into two separate systems. All features will seamlessly move across platforms by utilising the CDS (common data service). This will also mean data can be passed onto another of the applications that are within the Dynamics 365 umbrella, including Dynamics for Sales.

New features and cool bits of kit

Additional information: How many times have we heard customers say “Can we have a field that records XYZ about an employee?” Fortunately, there is new functionality with Dynamic 365 for Talent that facilitates these requirements without the need for what we would normally call development (Dynamics 365 for Talent is a pure SaaS model application with no developer environment option in the traditional sense). The Track more information option can be either from a list, free text, date, number, currency or yes/no. You can only do this on the Employee fields at the moment but thanks to the feedback Microsoft have received, it will be added to other areas of the system in due course.

Gauge analytics:  A new addition to the Dynamics 365 for Talent suite, Gauge allows companies to create skills assessments, whether this be at the beginning of the recruitment process (pre-screening entrance tests) or for general company use e.g. learning and development. Gauge is fully flexible to accommodate a combination of multiple choice questions and rich-text input. It can also support or embedd videos. Whether you want Gauge to automatically score based on pre-set rules or whether a member of staff is required to review answers, there are endless possibilities with this new application.

On-board and Off-board checklist:  A welcome addition is the On-board and Off-board checklists. These provide a customised task list for internal employees regarding new starters or on the flip side can be applied when an employee is exiting the company. The tasks can be assigned to different individuals with due dates assigned to each task. Each of the tasks will then show on the Employee Self-service screen.

A final bonus if you are already a Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations or AX2012 customer: The licenses for Talent are already bundled in your existing subscription.

To find out more about Dynamics 365 for Talent, visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/talent. Or, for a full assessment as to what it can offer your company please contact myself or Adam via stephen@ or adam@ or the web inquiry.

I’ll post a quick update when we are live with the new site: T-7 days and counting.