Microsoft has released details for its forthcoming new release of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform for small- and medium-sized organizations. The solution, called Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, features customer service, finance, operations and sales modules designed to streamline business activities and allow companies of all sizes to take advantage of transformational business technologies. The software is the most recent addition to the ever-expanding, cloud-based Dynamics 365 suite. This marks the release of a unified code base for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials Business Edition and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. This new cloud solution is sure to be the dominant backend Microsoft ERP system for modest yet growth-oriented firms.
“Dynamics 365 Business Central brings the full power of Dynamics NAV to the cloud,” Alysa Taylor, Microsoft general manager for business applications and strategy, explained in a company blog post. “As such, Business Central has at its foundation a set of trusted, proven technologies that have served 160,000 customers and millions of users worldwide.”
An outcome of product evolution
Microsoft in July 2017 publicized an ongoing project, codenamed Tenerife, that constituted the latest iteration of Dynamics NAV, ZDNet reported. Spokespeople for the Redwood, Oregon-based technology behemoth explained that the product would be built on the Azure cloud platform, empowering small- and medium-sized enterprises to embrace cloud-based backend systems and the operational possibilities that accompany them. In September during the Directions North America conference, Microsoft elaborated on the secretive solution still in development, revealing that it would be an end-to-end offering, according to ZDNet. Now, it seems, the product is finally prepared for primetime and will be available worldwide April 2.
Microsoft will offer two cloud versions: A $70 per-month, per-user Essentials option and $100 per-month, per-user Premium product. The Premium license adds manufacturing and field service capabilities for subscribers. For those preferring an on-premise solution, they can still purchase Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which is basically the same code base as Business Central but for on-premise deployment.
Brand-new backend opportunities
What can enterprises that implement Business Central expect? At the highest level, the solution facilitates operational integration via rich workflows incorporating Microsoft staples, such as Excel, Outlook and Word. Additionally, the product integrates with external modules Microsoft Flow, PowerApps and Power BI, allowing organizations to cultivate abundant data collection and sharing processes with transformational potential. In addition to these larger capabilities, Business Central boasts countless details that give it the distinction of being one of the most powerful SMB-oriented enterprise resource planning offerings on the market.
Perhaps the most striking platform feature included in Business Central is its user interface, which resembles the one found within Microsoft Office 365, according to a Fredrik Hietala, a Copenhagen, Denmark-based senior program manager for Microsoft. The UI allows users to build personalized feeds and switch on smart notifications, enabling streamlined system navigation.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials
The Essentials offering centers on powerful financial management tools capable of catalyzing transformative results in multiple departments.
The base-level software includes general ledger, budgeting, accounts receivable and reconciliation tools. It also comes equipped with a powerful auditing engine that allows financial stakeholders to easily review financial transactions via expenditure descriptions and reason codes. Businesses operating internationally can use multiple currency types within the solution, as well. This feature lends enterprises using Business Central considerable accounting scalability, bringing the prospect of global expansion into the realm of reality.
Essentials also eases customer relationship management via bleeding-edge contact management, campaign monitoring and opportunity cultivation features, folding both existing customers and hot leads into the books with little outside assistance. Of course, this feature also integrates with Dynamics 365 for Sales, making it ideal for businesses already taking advantage of that CRM Microsoft Dynamics solution. Users navigating the basic iteration will also discover robust supply chain management offerings, including sales and purchase order management. The product includes a warehouse management feature that supports shipping and receiving monitoring processes of varying intensities.
Human resource is another mission-critical department that can leverage the Business Central Essentials to facilitate operational growth. The platform includes employee tracking and expense management functionalities that can help HR teams support employee populations of all sizes. Several payroll solutions are also available as add-ons for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Last but certainly not least, Essentials offers assistance to users managing internal projects via resourcing, job tracking and timesheet tools. The project management feature also supports multiple languages and allows for the configuration of customized reason codes. It integrates with Outlook, as well.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium
The premium offering, which goes for an additional $30 per month, per user, includes two extra suites: a field service management component and a manufacturing suite. The former gives small- and medium-sized businesses the power to operate effective post-sales service operations through automated order request workflows, pricing and item management functionality and service contract oversight tools. Users can also assign employees to specific work orders and monitor job statuses. When the time comes to execute, dispatch personnel can view and schedule technicians based on availability and skill.
The manufacturing module that comes with Business Central Premium includes several powerful features designed to help small-to-midsized producers streamline and expand their operations. This component supports efficient production order creation and management activities, while also making it easier for production managers at all levels to track essential materials and routings. In addition to facilitating these common shop floor activities, the solution supports capacity and supply planning, as well as demand forecasting.
These critical business intelligence functions enable manufacturers to get the most out of their machinery and materials and meet their targets – all without setting aside considerable expenditures. Perhaps the most powerful tool contained within the manufacturing feature that comes with the Premium package is the agile manufacturing component, which allows organizations to schedule rush hours based on demand and rescale their operations to meet sudden changes in production requirements. With these capabilities in reach, small- and medium-sized manufacturers can harness the flexibility of their larger competitors and bolster their profiles in the marketplace.
In addition to these features, the manufacturing model includes a subcontractor management tool that simplifies collaboration, allowing firms to shuttle raw materials to supply chain partners or work with other outsourced process vendors to put the finishing touches on key offerings.
In all, Dynamics 365 Business Central offers immense potential and is likely to make a considerable impact among small- and mediums-sized enterprises upon release. Organizations interested in adopting the forthcoming product should consider connecting with The TM Group. With more than three decades of software implementation experience, we can help you get the most out of this innovative Microsoft solution. Contact us today to learn how we can leverage Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to prompt growth within your business.