Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central — What’s New and What’s the Same?
Microsoft recently announced the long-awaited release of Dynamics 365 Business Central (first known under its code name, Dynamics 365 Tenerife, then sort of under the protracted title: Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition). Business Central certainly has a nicer ring to it than either of those names, but what exactly is it?
Dynamics 365 Business Central is being positioned as Microsoft’s cloud ERP solution for mid-sized businesses. But wait, that’s how Microsoft Dynamics NAV is positioned. What’s the difference between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV, and why might you consider this latest offering?
Cloud First. And only. For now.
Like most software publishers, Microsoft has adopted a “cloud-first” strategy, and one need only look at the success of Office 365 to understand why. Dynamics 365 Business Central is delivered solely as a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution, hosted in the cloud by Microsoft on its premier Azure platform. The Azure cloud service is significant, as companies are migrating their business applications to this robust platform at an increasingly rapid rate.
While Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-first solution, it will not be a cloud only solution for long. In the fall, Microsoft has said that it will be available for deployment on premise as well. One solution, two deployment options. The on-premises version is set to be called Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, On-Premise. Clever.
It is NAV in the Cloud
Some are referring to Dynamics 365 as “NAV in the cloud,” and for good reason: Dynamics 365 Business Central brings the full power of Dynamics NAV to the cloud. If it’s in NAV, you’ll find it in D365 Business Central (with a few exceptions…). And Microsoft has expressed a commitment to ensuring Business Central is fully on par with NAV 2018 through a series of continuous updates to the application.
Benefits of ERP in the Cloud
There are a number of benefits associated with the cloud computing model, but some of the benefits most applicable to a hosted ERP application are:
- Flexibility and scalability
- Improved data security and automatic off-site backups
- Easy remote access
- Always current
- Fixed, budgetable expense
- Lower startup costs
Editions and licensing
Dynamics 365 Business Central is available in two editions: Essentials and Premium. The functionality of Essentials corresponds to NAV's Starter Pack and the functionality of Premium corresponds to NAV's Extended Pack, which means that the Premium edition adds key functionality for manufacturing and service order management to the core finance, supply chain, and project management functions.
The solution is licensed on a per user basis, with both Full Users and Additional or Team Users, that require basic read-only (and some limited write) access.
There’s an app store!
Users of Dynamics 365 Business Central can leverage pre-built applications, available through the AppSource marketplace, to easily and cost effectively extend their solution.
We expect many new solutions to be added going forward, allowing you to expand the application's functionality and quickly test and try out the new options.
Moving from NAV to Business Central
Because Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV run the same application code base, Dynamics NAV customers can easily migrate into Dynamics 365 Business Central. Essentially the migration should equate to any other upgrade between Dynamics NAV releases, with the addition of the name change.
Which to choose?
Both Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV are targeted at medium-sized companies. As a SaaS solution with a lower cost of entry, Business Central may be more attractive to smaller businesses that have outgrown their entry-level accounting system and need a true ERP system with which they can streamline business processes and continue to grow.
Dynamics NAV, on the other hand, may still be best for companies with complex needs where customization is required, as well as those who insist on an on-premise solution.
We’re here to answer your questions about Dynamics 365 Business Central.