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Posts Tagged ‘Business Central’

Jason Gumpert is a blogger and the editor of MSDynamicsWorld.com.  A couple weeks ago he released an overview of the top news for our Microsoft Dynamics (i.e., Business Central, and one-time Dynamics NAV) users and followers.  We’ll quote a few of his key takeaways today.  Like…

  • MS Dynamics Finance & Operations product customer based tripled over the last year, and Microsoft is “preparing to make D365FO a single-version cloud solution to which all SaaS customers must align for monthly and semi-annual updates. Getting to that state by April 2019 will be painless for some customers but harrowing for others…”
  • Did you know Dynamics GP customers are now Dynamics 365 Business Central customers? With Business Central now Microsoft’s official SMB cloud business application, customers of GP, NAV, and SL are all combined with nominal Business Central users to make up a Business Central “user base” of 220,000. That number, as of October 2018, is roughly made up of 160,000 NAV/BC customers and 60,000 GP and SL customers.
  • Is it a little confusing to refer to all these customers as Business Central? Yes. Will it further irritate the GP and SL communities? Undoubtedly. But Microsoft spent 2018 positioning the Dynamics SMB product lineup to break from the past. Dynamics GP doesn’t go away, but it will continue to see less investment, slower product progress, and offer fewer incentives to partners.
  • The Business Central roadmap through 2021 calls for a focus on “proficiency improvements” in 2019, including user experience and productivity. 2020 will see Microsoft adopt the web client only for Business Central both on-premise and in the cloud. And the themes of Common Data Service (CDS), data and intelligence will persist over time.
  • Microsoft now seems committed to letting product management push cross-product scenarios forward, backed up with R&D investment. The result has been a steady stream of improvements in areas including Flow, PowerApps, Teams, and Power BI integration points.
  • Microsoft will be adding new capabilities to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) in several areas in 2019 thanks to new IP deals with partners. The enhancements range from finance and public sector to revenue recognition rules compliance to advanced warehouse and transportation capabilities.
  • Microsoft is de-prioritizing on-premises technology.
  • MVPs (defined as Microsoft-focused technology experts who have shown a deep commitment to innovation) today don’t see nearly as far into the product roadmaps under NDA as they did five years ago. In an agile R&D environment, releases just aren’t planned that way.
  • For Dynamics developers, the acquisition of GitHub (announced last June for $7.5 billion in stock) points toward more open-source development in Microsoft’s future. GitHub already hosted projects including the XRM Toolbox for CRM or the AL language for NAV.

One thing we can count on… change and progress at an ever-increasing rate is in our future.

Oh, and that cloud thing: yeah, it’s here to stay.

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Our friends at our partner PrintVis, specialists in print & label industry-specific solutions recently posted a timely article on some of the new features to be found in Microsoft’s leading ERP solution, Dynamics NAV 2018 (later this year to be rebranded as “Dynamics 365 Business Central”).  The D365/BC product is basically NAV in new packaging, note the folks at PrintVis.  At it’s core, it’s NAV, in the cloud, hosted directly by Microsoft.  (Note: there will also be an on-premise (i.e., locally hosted at your server) version available.

Dynamics NAV now boasts over two million users (at over 130,000 companies) worldwide, and has established itself “as the choice for midsize organizations looking for a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is fast to implement, easy to configure, and simple to use,” as PrintVis’ Michael  Bradley notes.  And he should know, since PrintVis’ industry-specific solution now has over 350 companies running its application, which is deeply and richly embedded with the core NAV.

Customers who upgrade now can work with their reseller-partners to create a more seamless upgrade path to D365 now, and for future releases.  As PrintVis noted in their article:

“If your partner invests a bit more time in the upgrade today, they can move any/all of your code customizations to “events” and “extensions.”  This will dramatically reduce the amount of effort required for later upgrades – and this is the clear direction Microsoft has been heading for some years now. We have arrived at this pivotal time in the evolution of ERP.”

New features included in the latest 2018 release will extend the functionality of NAV, including…

  • Greater Integration with Business Applications
  • Improved Customization using Extensions
  • Automation and AI
  • Interaction with Microsoft Flow
  • Improved Workspace Personalization
  • Data Sharing with CRM systems
  • Pre-configured Excel Reports
  • REST API extended
  • Report Preview
  • Improved Check Printing
  • Pre-configured Excel Reports
  • Larger EC Sales Lists reports

The ERP world is experiencing a time of disruption and like any paradigm shift, change needs a while to be appreciated and absorbed – but it’s inevitable.  At least with today’s NAV, you’ll be ready for what is perhaps the largest paradigm shift ever in the business software marketplace by positioning yourself today with a product that’s already ready for the cloud tomorrow.

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There is understandable confusion in the marketplace today, whether among resellers or users of the product known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV (and formerly, so long ago… Navision).  Let’s see if we can clear things up just a bit.

For starters, the NAV to BC transition is one more of form than function, which is to say, the product features and robust capabilities that have long made NAV one of the world’s best-selling accounting and ERP software systems, are largely the same in Business Central.  What’s changing, at the forced behest of Microsoft, and quite rapidly at that, is the delivery system.  NAV is largely moving from what’s commonly known as an “on-premise” solution to one served up “in the cloud,” which is to say, over the Internet, using a web browser.  (Though current on-prem users will continue to be able upgrade those on-prem versions into the foreseeable future, we’ve been told.)

This is nothing more than the ongoing evolution of the product, and its underpinnings have been in the works for years.  But Microsoft’s all-in approach to the World Wide Web means that it’s intent on moving virtually everything to the cloud.  That’s why you see their recent de-emphasizing of Windows… the recent migration of the Office products (Word, Excel, etc.) into the O365 web-based products… and the more recent decision to make NAV its foundational product in the cloud, via the new moniker of Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Business Central has two specific modules — Essentials and Premium – that include all NAV’s ERP features:

  • Financial Management
  • Project Management
  • Sales and Service
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Supply Chain Management

It’s then sold essentially in three price configurations:

For $8 per user per month you get the Team Member version, which includes Employee Self-Serve, the ability to run (but not create) all reports, and the ability to read and approve information.  As you can imagine from the price, it’s a very low functionality piece, but it’s ideal for serving the needs of folks like shop floor workers and very occasional “viewer” type users.

The next level up is the Essentials version.  This runs $70 per user per month, and includes a range of functionality including invoicing, purchasing, opportunity management, budgets, finance, fixed assets, P.O. management, resource management, workflow, contract management, simple inventory, advanced sales, advanced inventory and distribution.  That’s a very complete offering, ideal for many companies other than manufacturers or companies with extensive service management requirements.

Finally, there’s the Premium version which incorporates all the functionality noted above plus service management and manufacturing.  The Premium level pricing is still only $100 per user per month.

It’s all part of the inevitable crush to the crowd, and what Microsoft is really doing here is providing its users – both current and future – with a clear path to getting there that will satisfy the demands of even the most sophisticated business now, and for many years to come.

Or, as Martha Stewart used to say… “It’s a good thing.”

 

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