The Evolution of Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Avatar by Kerry Proctor

According to Microsoft, Dynamics NAV is used by more than 2.7 million users; and NAV has sold in 195 countries – that’s pretty much every country in the world.   On March 13th Microsoft announced that they are furthering this success story with the release of Dynamics 365 Business Central by making it generally available as a cloud service.  Dynamics 365 Business Central is available as a subscription license running on Microsoft’s Azure.
 
Last week  (2nd July 2018) Microsoft announced the availability of  Business Central in Australia and New Zealand managed on Azure. The on-premise version is expected later in 2018.   The Azure and on-premise versions are expected to share the same code base.
 

Evolution: Dynamics NAV to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Evolution of Dynamics NAV

When you are considering upgrading your Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution to Dynamics 365 Business Central it will be worthwhile standing back and taking a broader perspective. Why? Because by rethinking your Dynamics NAV upgrade approach, you can establish a platform that enables you to leapfrog your competitors and drive your business forward. I’d like to further this thought, and propose that a move from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central is not a 'NAV Upgrade”, but best approached as a ‘Business Growth Strategy’. It’s the opportunity to re-engineer your business.

So you may be thinking, “come on Kerry, pull the other one”! And rightly so… so let’s take a step back.
 

Traditional ERP vs Modern ERP

  • Traditional ERP: (Dynamics NAV) typically took a largely business inward-looking focus. (It's designed essentially focused on servicing the stakeholders within the business.)
  • Modern ERP: (Dynamics 365 Business Central - view on www.Microsoft.com) takes an ‘outward open arms approach’; it casts a wide net looking to engage all stakeholders within and external to the business. In the past, you may have considered moving to Dynamics 365 Business Central as another NAV upgrade. However, please consider the graphic below, which highlights some of the many touch points (widening that net) businesses have with their customers, which can be addressed across the Dynamics 365 platform.

MicroChannel Connected Customer Solutions
 
Which of these touch points or areas of your business are important to you? Have you considered the benefits of having these areas connected into one platform? MicroChannel can support Dynamics 365 Business Central as an upgrade, yet invariably we help our clients on their journey across the many opportunities Dynamics 365 Business Central opens up for them.
 

Considerations

In Business Central, C/Side and C/AL, the NAV development environment and language, is being replaced with AL and VSCode (Visual Studio). Therefore, the NAV mods need to be re-coded (refactored) and deployed as extensions. Yet, you now have access to integrated Dynamics Sales (CRM), Power Apps, Field Service, IoT, Professional Services Automation (PSA), Flow, Power BI, Machine Learning and much more.  A re-design makes smarter sense than simply an upgrade.
 
Examples:

  • Are you using a NAV add-on for say field service? ….. drop it… Use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service.
  • Do you have a NAV add-on for workflow? …. drop it… Use Business Central workflow or Flow.
  • 100’s of Reports …. Drop them.  Use Business Central Dashboards and Power BI.
  • Look up App Source. Has someone already developed an app that caters to the functionality you want as an extension you can download?
  • Is cashflow reporting time-consuming?  In Business Central you can make use of Cortana intelligence to review your customer's actual payment histories, and your Vendor payment history to automatically update your cashflow forecast.
 
MicroChannel’s successes over the past few years deploying Dynamics 365 highlight the above; you can really leverage your business if you approach this correctly. To be able to support our clients, we retain skilled staff with years of experience across Dynamics 365 and NAV, CRM, Business Analytics and BI, Field service, Marketing Automation and Office365/infrastructure.
 
We can also assist with Strategic Planning, reviews and Roadmaps for Dynamics 365 Business Central.
 
MicroChannel is here to assist you with your move to Dynamics 365 … wherever you want to start your move…. and wherever your endpoint is.

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