Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has been an evolving platform that goes far back enough to claim a legitimate place at the dawn of personal computing. In fact, it started as a single-ser accounting program called Personal Computing and Consulting in 1984. Today it is a large part of Microsoft Dynamics’ success and is arguably the centerpoint of Microsoft’s plans for the Dynamics 365 ERP platform. Here, we take a look at what it is, its benefits, and what features it can offer your enterprise.
What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
MS Business Central is meant to provide all your business management needs from one place. It provides solutions for key business operations like finance, sales, customer service, inventory management, and much more. Being an ERP solution, all of these Business Central modules interact and feed into each other, creating a single, comprehensive system that streamlines your operations, eliminates inefficiencies and provides insights for your decision-making. The platform’s functionality is meant to be expandable, giving you the ability to adapt and extend it to cover your current business needs and any that might arise as you grow.
Dynamics 365 Business Central Key Features
Business Central comes in two flavors: Essentials and Premium. Essentials features the main functionality that your business will need, and Premium introduces some higher-tier capabilities.
Everything related to the management of your finances is handled by this module. You can work with account schedules, oversee your bank accounts, make finance-related forecasts and plan payments. The system takes care of some administrative tasks. It can, for example, automatically perform account reconciliations based on paid invoices, and notify you of the best times to make payments to suppliers in order to take advantage of discounts, or avoid default penalties.
Supply Chain Management
This module helps you keep up with the processes related to managing your supply chain. Things like payables and receivables, tracking shipments, staying on top of budgets, managing orders, managing locations, doing invoicing, forecasting demand, and carrying out other supply chain management-related tasks.
Human Resources Management
These tools help you with HR functions like taking care of your payroll, hiring new team members, tracking and evaluating employee performance, and managing the storage and maintenance of employee data – documents like employment contracts. You can also keep track of things like leave, absences, and so on.
With Project Management, you get a set of features that make it easier to keep projects within scope and assess how well project goals are being met. You can track project-related costs, manage allocated resources, see the amount of time being spent on different projects, and have a better overall view of your projects.
All of your inventory management tools live here. You can integrate delivery company systems to your ERP and use that data to further enhance your inventory management processes. Data capture can be automated, with tracking of things like serial numbers you can manage your locations and connect it all to ecommerce platforms to make sure sales are always efficiently supported with readily available stock.
Business Central Premium, in addition to these features, also includes the following exclusive functions:
Service Order Management
Order management should be scalable, otherwise the consequences directly affect the customer experience. This feature helps you ensure customer needs are met and satisfied in a timely and efficient manner. With this module you can manage service prices, individual orders, items, contracts, as well as allocate and dispatch service representatives all from one place.
For those companies with production facilities, the Manufacturing module helps them support factory processes. Companies can pinpoint areas in which they can reduce costs and improve how efficient processes are using tools for tracking production orders, predicting future demand and accordingly adjusting production, managing the supply of materials to support production, planning capacity, and much more.
Benefits of Dynamics 365 BC: What Makes it Different?
The fact that the platform is cloud-based makes it accessible using different types of devices, not only full-fledged desktop computers, but also tablets, and other mobile devices.
Business Central software is optimized to work well with other Dynamics 365 solutions. You can also seamlessly integrate it with applications like Outlook, so that certain functions can be carried out right from the email client. This can be incredibly convenient, considering that most business correspondence takes place there. The ability to trigger operational processes during the course of that correspondence makes things much faster and efficient.
Microsoft has done a significant amount of development on the AI capabilities of the Dynamics 365 framework. 365 BC benefits quite a lot from this. Using AI and Machine Learning, the platform can make better forecasts, provide more insightful recommendations, and serve up richer insights.
The platform is designed to be changeable so as to meet user requirements. So a company should, using visual design tools included in the platform, be able to build their own functionality onto the platform and add solutions that fit their unique business needs and workflows. This can be done using the PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Common Data Service tools.
Dynamics 365 Business Central Implementation Cost
D365 Business Central pricing will depend on the size of your organization. The implementation costs may range from around $30,000 to $500,000. Smaller businesses may, for instance, require just the implementation of financial modules, things like accounts receivable, payable, the general ledger, bank reconciliations, assets, and so on.
A level up from that, a business may need additional modules for sales and inventory management and purchasing. At the end of the spectrum, there are companies that need the full-fledged implementation, complete with manufacturing modules, for example. The complexity of setting up such projects would take the implementation cost closer to the $500,000 mark.
All these would be set up costs only, and do not include monthly subscriptions.
Monthly subscription costs for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium and Essentials and $100 per user per month, and $70 per user per month, respectively.
The choice between the subscriptions ultimately comes down to whether or not your company needs features for Service Order Management and for helping you manage manufacturing. These are generally the features Premium offers that Essentials doesn’t.
Essentials will generally help you with sales, finance, management of inventory, and supply needs. So if those are sufficient for your business, this is the choice for you.
What is the Future of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Directions, the partners’ event where stakeholders in the Dynamics meet and interact, is a great place to hear about the direction Microsoft is taking with its platform. Mike Morton, General Manager for D365 Business Central, shed some light on this. From his presentation, it was clear that from 2022 onwards, Microsoft is focused on improving ease-of-use on its platform, enhancing integration in order to improve data flow between its ERP and the Shopify eCommerce platform, and moving even further in the enhancement of its AI capabilities.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central already offers compelling benefits for businesses. In a well-implemented deployment, your organization stands to gain considerable rewards from the optimization of operations it offers, as well as the insights it brings to your staff and decision makers. Going forwards, it is clear that Microsoft only intends for its capabilities and usefulness to grow. It is well worth considering getting on board now to stay ahead of the game.