Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central  

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From today (1st April 2019), all new Microsoft Dynamics customers will only be able to buy Microsoft Dynamics Business Central to fulfil their ERP business needs, marking the end of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV era.

Dynamics NAV started life known as NAVISION, a suite of applications created by a Danish company called “Personal Computing and Consulting”, later changing its name to Navision A/S. On the 11th July 2002, Microsoft bought Navision A/S as part of their strategy to develop their own business systems, and followed a previous acquisition of Great Plains, leading to Dynamics GP.

In 2005, Microsoft launched Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and since then there has been many releases of Dynamics NAV with a whole range of updates to the solution as it grew over the last 14 years.

Dynamics NAV was an extremely popular solution during its tenure, and has been used by over 200,000 organisations and over 3 million users worldwide. Part of the success of Dynamics NAV is attributed to the flexible nature of the product, and its ability to be configured and customised specifically for individual organisations, tailoring itself to the company’s exact needs.


What Happens Now?

It is not all doom and gloom however with the curtain coming down on Dynamics NAV, as it will continue to live on as part of the Dynamics 365 Business Central suite.

Dynamics NAV will continue as part of Microsoft’s ERP solution offerings, but it has now been re-designed as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premise, which is based on the infrastructure of Dynamics NAV, but is now a next generation business application. The biggest improvement to the software is the fact that it is hosted in the cloud, and also has a brand-new interface. Like the rest of Dynamics 365, Business Central is a cloud first solution based on a subscription model. It receives regular updates through the cloud, and makes sure users are always on the latest version.


Your ERP Solution, Your Way

Dynamics 365 Business Central is now available in three different deployment options, either entirely in the cloud, locally held on-premise or a hybrid between the two.

The majority of users will prefer to experience Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud, as it offers full functionality and access to the new AI tools, making it much easier to integrate with other services and provides seamless updates to the platform provided by Microsoft. However there are limitations to the level of customisation to the system available, which may drive more customers to the On-Premise solution.

Business Central On-Premise will be the most familiar to Dynamics NAV users. You can still have an on-premise instance of Dynamics 365 Business Central, and users of Dynamics NAV can upgrade to Business Central to access the new interface, features and updates.

The final instance of Business Central is the hybrid approach, which is ideal for organisations that aren’t quite ready to make the jump fully to the cloud. It allows you to host an instance locally, but your data syncs to an online instance of Business Central. You will also still have access to cloud only services such as Power BI and AI, essentially giving you the best of both worlds.


Why Have Microsoft Made This Decision?

This is a strategic business decision by Microsoft and a future-centric one. Demand for cloud-based systems has exponentially increased, and as a leader in the industry, Microsoft needs to be strategically ensure their solutions stay ahead of the curve in years to come. They have chosen Dynamics NAV, out of the three ERP software they own, to form the basis of all future SaaS offerings for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs).

If you’re an existing Dynamics NAV customer, you can rest assured that Microsoft will continue to invest significant R&D resources to improve the product.


By Emma Maine

Emma is Azzure's lead Customer Engagement specialist, being a Business Management and Information Technology graduate and having several years experience within the IT sector in a client facing position. Emma is a expert in Business Transformation utilising Microsoft business solutions.

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