Dynamics 365 Business Central is the new Cloud-version of NAV
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a complete business solution with ERP, CRM og Business Intelligence.
It is designed as a cloud-solution and it is actually the 2018-version of Dynamics NAV, which has been given a new name.
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Apps for Dynamics 365 Business Central
Today, ERP is not just about supporting processes efficiently. It’s also a matter of making sure your business is always ready for changes in the marked.
At Abakion we give you both. We provide changeability – without compromise on process support.
Changeability means you can react quickly to new market conditions – and you can increase your competitiveness without being restricted by the technology.
It requires that you can easily apply new technology options when new versions of the ERP system arrive – and you do not have to spend time and money on upgrades.
That is what Abakion gives you with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Abakion is first with Business Central
At Abakion, we are honored to be the first with the new technology from Microsoft. We are always involved in their pilot programs, and we are taking part in the first implementations of new versions.
At Abakion you can choose from all versions of the solution:
- Microsoft’s plain Business Central
- Business Central Embed App where you get tools to avoid customizations
- NAV 2018 on Azure
We have experience with it all and we are ready to guide you on how to choose the right edition.
Expand Business Central to fit your need
Apps for Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 Business Central allows companies to add new apps from Microsoft AppSource, built for the purpose, to manage specific business processes such as: finance, operation, marketing, sales, customer service, etc.
All apps for Dynamics 365 are designed to be deployed individually – in a much easier way than you are accustomed to when you buy an add-on from a Microsoft partner.
You only pay for what you need. You can start with a simple and low cost solution, and add apps to your solution as your business grows. The apps are built to work smoothly, just as you are used to from apps on your mobile phone.
Abakion offer apps
Abakion have also developed our popular add-ons to be deployed as apps for Microsoft 365 Business Central. See all our apps here.
You can buy them directly from us, and you can implement and apply them, even if you use another Microsoft partner as supplier.
You can download the apps directly from Microsoft AppSource.
Get a package deal »
Take a look at our package solution with Dynamics 365 Business Central + Apps.
Dynamics 365 – all inclusive
Abakion offers you Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central as a package solution that makes it easier and cheaper to be a customer on Dynamics 365.
The package is called Abakion 365, and the point is that you can get Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central as a monthly subscription, including frequent upgrades and unlimited hotline support.
As a customer, you know the cost in advance with this solution. There is no big upgrade project lurking in the future, as upgrading is included in the subscription.
Cloud without the need for customization
This is a cloud solution where you cannot customize the source code. The subscription also includes additional apps from Abakion, enabling you to get rid of the customizations without compromising with your business needs.
There has been a longstanding tradition to solve all needs by customizing the ERP solution (with developer code), but it is no longer necessary. Today, there are far better options for setting up the solution. Most small and medium-sized businesses can easily fulfill their needs without specialized customizations.
Fixed price on migration
Naturally it has a cost to migrate to this type of package solution, but the cost is lower than the cost of a regular upgrade. And Abakion is willing to give you a fixed price on the migration project up front.
Even if you are not currently looking for an upgrade, you are welcome to get a non-binding calculation of what it will cost.
We will ask you some questions over the phone, and then you will receive the exact price on both the migration project and the monthly subscription. This way you will have the information for whenever the upgrade becomes relevant for you.
Call us at: +45 70 23 23 16 if you need us to calculate your price, or read more about upgrading here.
Current trends are moving toward standard solutions, the cloud and subscriptions. In the following, we will take a critical look at what has happened in recent years and what you can expect in future for Dynamics NAV:
Add-on solutions and customisations
As a Microsoft partner in Denmark we have a unique relationship to Microsoft Dynamics NAV because the solution is developed in Denmark and there are a lot of Microsoft partners who have developed add-on solutions for Dynamics NAV, either in the form of vertical industry solutions or horizontal functional extensions.
There is also an established tradition of meeting all the functional needs that an individual company might have either via add-on solutions or via special customisations for the individual customer. This is true not only for Dynamics NAV, but also for other ERP solutions like Dynamics AX.
With Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft has focused its development work on trimming the core functionality: not just financial management, but also warehousing, logistics and production management. The mantra has always been that the solution must be simple and effective.
This strategy means that Microsoft has left it up to specialised partners to develop add-on solutions for functional needs that are unique to specific industries or roles.
The strategy has resulted in diverse specialised solutions that have contributed to the prevalence of the solution overall.
Supply Chain Management
If you work with Supply Chain Management, you can find a wide variety of standardised add-on solutions from the partners who are evaluated and certified by Microsoft, so customers are not actually bound to a particular partner.
At Abakion, for example, we have add-on solutions for master data information (PIM), on-line shop integration, advanced procurement and production planning, forecasting, graphic warehouse profiles, container handling, warehouse management with wireless scanners, shop floor for time registration in production, intercompany, cost calculations, advanced ABC analysis and so on.
Cloud computing with Dynamics 365
During 2016 and 2017 Microsoft worked on a new development project code-named ‘Tenerife’. It started as a new version of Dynamics NAV, which is a 100% cloud-based solution, but in reality it has become two systems:
- Dynamics NAV 2018
- Dynamics 365 Business central
With the introduction of Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft has charted the course for their Dynamics products, i.e. NAV, AX and CRM. They will all be part of the Dynamics 365 brand.
It consolidates all the systems into a single solution, which covers both ERP and CRM and eventually will also include Office 365. They will have a common data model to make integration between systems easier.
It is important to note that we are talking about standard solutions.
There has been a long tradition of customizing ERP solutions to meet the needs of individual companies, but all other types of IT systems have been evolving towards standardisation and Microsoft is now taking a decisive step and pushing the NAV and AX ERP systems in the same direction.
For the time being, you can still buy and customize a Microsoft ERP solution, but in the foreseeable future we expect that all medium-sized enterprises will move over to standard solutions where specific needs will not be met with customizations but instead by adding apps – just as you would on a mobile telephone.
Apps from partners
This strategy enables Microsoft partners to offer their industry solutions and horizontal solutions as “apps”, which all Dynamics 365 Business Central customers can buy through Microsoft’s AppSource.
In Dynamics terminology, these apps are developed as “extensions”, which means that they are additions to the solution rather than customizations directly in the code.
New shopping habits for customers
There are several advantages from the customer’s perspective. Many companies who are accustomed to making adjustments directly in the code will naturally be hesitant to give up this ability, but the benefits will outweigh the loss.
Of course, it’s all about finding the supplier and the apps that can meet all your needs, so that you as a customer do not miss the ability to customize the solution.
Customers will have to change their ERP shopping habits.
Dynamics 365 was released in Europe in 2018, but there are already package solutions on the market that take advantage of this opportunity. Our offering, Abakion 365, is an example of this.
The pricing structure is now a subscription
In the past, you had to buy a licence from Microsoft, entailing a large pay-out and an ongoing subscription to get access to new versions. But because the solutions were always customised, upgrade projects were usually expensive.
Microsoft has changed this radically.
Nowadays you do not have to purchase a licence. You pay per user per month, and you can flexibly scale up and down as needed.
With a combined package solution from a Microsoft partner, you can get a subscription to the ERP solution that includes the add-on solutions/apps from many different partners.
This also includes upgrading the solution to the new version frequently, typically several times a year – at no additional cost and without a migration project. This approach eliminates a major challenge for many ERP customers with heavily customized solutions.
And it also includes unlimited hotline support, so you do not have to pay extra for assistance.
This is a modern pricing structure that is familiar from many other software areas, and it has finally found its way into ERP.
Get a package deal »
Take a look at our package solution with Dynamics 365 Business Central + Apps.
About Dynamics 365
Or continue reading about the components in Dynamics 365, versions and license model.
Microsoft launched Microsoft AppSource in 2016. This is where companies can find and test business apps for Dynamics 365, from both Microsoft and its partners.
From the beginning (2016), AppSource have had more than 200 software-as-a-service apps, add-ins and content packs available.
Office 365 and Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 also incorporates its own integration with Office 365. It connects the structured business processes in Dynamics 365 apps with the unstructured features for an enterprise’s collaboration in Microsoft Office 365.
A typical example is a seller who receives an email. He can respond directly in Office and send an offer created on the basis of data from sales and finance apps. He can then store it all directly in the right app with the correct prices and discounts and everything. And he never has to leave Outlook.
Dynamics 365 and Office 365 will share a common data model to make management of data and integration management as simple as possible. Developers can easily create new apps or build on existing ones – using PowerApps, Power BI and Microsoft Flow.
Integrated Business Intelligence
In Dynamics 365, Microsoft will also integrate Power BI business intelligence. This means analysis and insights will be built directly into Dynamics 365 apps.
Further development of NAV
For the Microsoft Dynamics NAV community, this is a natural development of Microsoft’s efforts to bring the Navision solution into the cloud.
We at Abakion have been working on this for a long time under Microsoft’s codename “Project Madeira”, and our Abakion 365 has been running Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 environment for a long time.
Headlines of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a new direction for Microsoft’s business systems, and it has the potential to create a whole new category in business systems.
Microsoft’s consolidation of CRM and ERP in one cloud solution makes up with a long tradition of independent solutions. When we add the built-in integration to Office 365 as well as the ability to use 3rd party apps, the overall solution can change the way companies use business systems.
One of the news that makes the close integration possible is the common data model. One advantage of a common data model is of course that integration becomes easier, but the main goal is that users do not have to switch between different applications.
The components of Microsoft Dynamics 365
Let’s review what components are included in Microsoft Dynamics 365:
The Dynamics CRM solution has already been online as a cloud solution for some years. It obviously covers ‘Sales’, but also contributes to the headlines ‘Field Service’, ‘Marketing’ and ‘Customer Service’.
The new version of Dynamics NAV has had the code name “Tenerife”, and this project is in the cloud called Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, which is targeted at small and medium sized businesses.
The new version 7 of Dynamics AX is available only as an online version, and it is included in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition for major companies.
This is the new Office 365 workflow platform that Microsoft has launched in 2016. This app allows you to connect all data sources and build condition-dependent processes, and it takes place in a graphical UI without programming.
This is another new Office 365 app created for building your own apps for iOS, Android and Windows.
Power BI and Cortana Analytics
These are Business Intelligence tools made for creating reports and dashboards across all data sources. It is already very common and we at Abakion have also created a package solution that collects your data from NAV, CRM and all other sources.
Third Party Apps
Last but not least, there is the new opportunity to connect third-party apps that add special industry-targeted solutions or cross-cutting, generic features. The idea is, of course, that it should be simple to add new apps, just like your mobile phone.
Two versions of Microsoft Dynamics 365
There are two versions of Microsoft Dynamics 365, which target two different company sizes.
- Business Central is aimed at small to middel sized companies.
- Enterprise Edition is for larger companies.
The biggest difference between the two versions is that Business Central contains Dynamics NAV, whereas Enterprise Edition contains Dynamics AX.
You could say that Microsoft Dynamics 365 is primarily a bundling of existing solutions, but it is important to point out that extensive development was undertaken beforehand, which prepared all the involved business solutions to be able to join Microsoft Dynamics 365.
’Project Madeira’ (or Dynamics NAV 2017) has been developed specifically for this purpose. Dynamics AX 7 is developed specifically as a cloud solution. Dynamics CRM has been on-line for some time and Microsoft is currently developing a special edition of CRM for Dynamics 365. So, the 365 brand is certainly not merely a sales package.
The common data model in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Office 365
The most notable thing about the bundling is the common data model.
Microsoft announced a data model for Microsoft Dynamics 365, which will be used in common with Office 365. It simplifies management of data and integrations across apps and business processes.
Integration has always been a challenge for companies that want to gather data from all their business applications. With this move, Microsoft will have taken a giant step in this direction when it is fully implemented.
The common data model originates in Microsoft PowerApps, which is used to build business apps that can draw on data and processes in Microsoft Dynamics 365, and work on both web-based and mobile devices via predefined connectors without the need for any special development. This is the structure that Microsoft will implement in ERP, CRM and Office 365.
A common data model across ERP, CRM and Office 365 has some obvious advantages that will be popular with companies that are used to the challenges of hard-to-consolidate silos of data, and the fact that it is easy to combine functions across ERP, CRM and Office 365 is also popular with partners who develop solutions for specific industries.
Microsoft has also launched AppSource to support its development partners. AppSource is a marketplace for cloud apps that businesses can buy and implement directly in their Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Of course, this concept can already be found in many other app marketplaces but it is a new step in the Dynamics world.
Implementation has always been the responsibility of the partner and the customer, and if the customer chose to implement several add-on solutions from different partners, the interaction between the add-on solutions could become a challenge.
With AppSource, Microsoft has launched a marketplace where they themselves control the availability and quality of the apps being offered.
Customers get a broader range of standardized solutions that are certified by Microsoft for quality, and development partners can reach a much larger market than if they had to advertise their app themselves.
AppSource is a big step in the direction of standard solutions. Partners obviously cannot roll out specially developed solutions to their customers via AppSource, so the apps that are popular in AppSource are likely to be those that can meet customer needs as a standard solution.
Overview of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft
Product documentation and end user guides, Microsoft
Dynamics 365 channel on Youtube, Microsoft @ Youtube
The partners’ perspective
It seems obvious that greater coherence between ERP, CRM and Office is a good idea for business, but it will create some commotion in the partner channel when ERP, CRM and Office are to be delivered as a single solution in future.
It will favour a particular type of supplier with the following characteristics:
- Partners who have expertise in all areas: ERP, CRM and Office. If you as a partner specialise in only one of these areas, you will obviously have a hard time meeting customer needs.
- Partners who have proprietary solutions, either for specific industries or specialised, cross-cutting functions. AppSource opens up a whole new market for this type of partner.
- Partners who make their living more on consulting than small customisation jobs. Greater availability of apps will reduce the need for ad hoc developments. The partners’ role will be about consulting businesses rather than customising systems.
Here at Abakion, we embrace the new strategy from Microsoft, because we already have these three particular characteristics, but there is no doubt that Microsoft Dynamics 365 will have an impact on Microsoft’s partner channel over the coming years.
Prices of Dynamics 365 Business Central
With Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft wants to reach a larger market.
There are 2 models you can choose from: ‘Essential’ costs $ 70 per user per month, and ‘Premium’ costs $ 100.
‘Essential’ is not basic, even if the name insinuates it. Microsoft has chosen to put a lot of functionality into this basic edition. Only the advanced areas of manufacturing and service management require the premium edition.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is offered exclusively as a subscription per user per month. You cannot purchase a traditional license because the solution is exclusively cloud based.
Microsoft has not changed their channel strategy. Dynamics 365 Business Central can only (like NAV) be purchased through partners on Microsoft’s “Cloud Solution Program”. This is because ERP solutions have a certain complexity, and a lot of counseling is often given in the startup period of an ERP solution.
But you can try Business Central for free on the Microsoft website using this link.
Get a package deal »
Take a look at our package solution with Dynamics 365 Business Central + Apps.
GDPR and Dynamics 365 Business Central
In May 2018, the new EU legislation on the protection of personal data came into effect. It is called General Data Protection Regulation or in short GDPR.
GDPR sets requirements for your company’s collection and handling of data on EU citizens. GDPR applies if your business is situated in EU or you handle EU citizen data.
What does GDPR mean for your business?
What should you do?
GDPR imposes higher requirements for your business to protect customer data than you have been used to before. It basically sets 3 requirements for your business:
- You must have a high level of control of the use and storage of personal data.
- You must have data governance tools that create transparency in data, log changes, and may report on data handling.
- You must have data policies and processes that can allow the people (on whom you save data) control over their own data.
At the end of this article you can test if your company is ready to comply with GDPR. And if you are using Dynamics NAV, you can read Microsoft’s guide on how to implement GDPR.
What is personal data exactly?
Personal data is information that can be related to a specific person. There is no distinction between the private, public or professional role of the person, so it is no excuse that: “Well, they are just our customer”.
Personal data can e.g. be:
- Email address
- Data from social media
- Physical, psychological or genetic information
- Medical data
- Cultural identity
- Bank informations
- IP address
As you can see, “personal data” is interpreted very broadly.
It goes well beyond the ERP system. There are also lots of personal data in the CRM system or customer service system. There may be cookies and IP logging in your CMS, and email addresses and behavioral data in the Marketing System. Your Business Intelligence system may also have personal data. And your webshop / ecommerce has plenty. And in addition, all the local islands of data in Excel lists, emails, old Word documents, etc.
Both IT and processes are in play for GDPR
GDPR places great demands on both your ERP system and other IT systems – but also for your company’s internal policies on how data is handled.
You just drag a list from the debit module into Excel and save the list on the shared drive, right?
No, when you work under the GDPR rules, you can definitely not do this.
At least not without having a process of how data is transferred, stored safely, erased at a certain time, and how each person can gain insight into their own data, know where the data is stored and have access to delete it.
And that would be difficult to control in practice with an Excel list on a common drive. So, there are completely other processes and tools you need to play.
Microsoft’s ERP systems already have much of what is needed to respect the GDPR rules – but it must be combined with solid processes internally in your company.
GDPR’s requirements for the ERP system
If we are to draw a larger picture, GDPR sets requirements within 3 areas:
1. Personal Privacy (Privacy)
People are entitled to the following regarding the data you store about them:
- To have access to data
- To correct errors in the personal data
- To delete their data
- To object to the processing of their personal data
- To export their personal data
It is not necessarily simple. It is an expanded and self-contained access. If it is going to be 100% self-serviced, you will need a “customer portal” where anyone can log in to view, change, delete and export data, or complain.
2. Control and advice
- Protect personal data with appropriate safety precautions
- Notify the authorities for breach of safety
- Obtain appropriate consent to process data
- Have traceability in data processing
Here, the ERP systems bring you a good deal of the way. Microsoft is very focused on security in their systems, and Microsoft undertakes to contractually comply with the law.
But GDPR also puts high demands on your processes. You must be able to document how and when you have received explicit consent to process data and you must determine whether (or how) ERP data flows out of the ERP system.
Nor is it enough to have processes in place. You have to monitor the processes. Otherwise, you can not advise the authorities in case of breach of security. One can only discover something that you keep an eye on.
3. Transparency policies
- Give the person an explicit notification of data collection.
- Describe the purpose of data processing incl. use cases.
- Communicate a policy for when data is saved and deleted.
You should basically say to all people PRECISE what you intend to do with their data. Everything must be completely transparent.
This is purely a procedural issue, but it is not simple. All ad hoc tasks in your business where you ‘just’ need to include customer data – is basically a closed chapter now.
The best thing you can do is to gather data in a Business Intelligence tool that can meet the ad hoc needs that arise over time and then you can build your transparency policies to include data in the Business Intelligence Platform.
Your tasks with GDPR
When you work with GDPR, you have to effect over the following overall tasks:
- Formulate an overall data policy and define workflows
- Ensure IT systems live up to security and processes
- Establish access for people to their own data
- Educate employees who have access to personal data
- Hire a Data Protection Officer if required
- Develop policies for transparency, contracts and terms of consent
- Monitor compliance with data policies and advise authorities about breaches
- Review and update data policies
Where do you start?
What is your next step? There are many companies that think GDPR is a big mouthful.
The most important thing is to start dealing with the topic and investigate where the challenges may be in your business.
- Microsoft has an excellent “Get started” guide that you can use. In particular, read the instructions for NAV if you are using Dynamics NAV.
- Microsoft also have an entire resource center that has lots of good information.
- We also recommend that you see the presentations on Microsoft’s Databreach website. They are very informative and easy to access. They are very Microsoft’ish, but you can handle this if you already use their software.
GDPR with Dynamics 365
In April 2018, Microsoft released the cloud version of Dynamics NAV, called Dynamics 365 Business Central.
This solution has a decisive GDPR module, which is a structure of your work with the classification of data in the ERP solution. The documentation requirement in GDPR is built into Dynamics 365 Business Central, so it is much easier to comply with the rules.
It is a functionality that is quite attractive to those who migrate from an old system where there are problems with structure and security.