Dynamics Nav and Dynamics 365 Business Central: The future of NAV

It was with mixed feelings that I received the news about Microsoft buying Navision back in 2002.  Until then, I had quite enjoyed beating Microsoft when we came up against Great Plains or Solomon in sales opportunities.  Now we had to play nice and be part of the big happy family.  Being involved with Microsoft really didn’t change much in our lives.  Microsoft seemed to be unsure how to position their four shiny new accounting systems and was distracted by challenges with Axapta, their new tier one ERP system.

Over the next ten years, we had name changes but not really much else.  The 2009 version started a transition to a new user interface that was really only a shadow of what was to come.  It was the 2015 version where we really saw the new design and technology start to gain traction.  Meanwhile, Navision’s competitors started to catch up as Microsoft played with name changes (now Dynamics NAV) and new interfaces, while not doing much for the core product.

Well, I can honestly tell you that all of this has changed with the 2017 and 2018 versions of Dynamics NAV and incredibly so with Dynamics 365 Business Central, where technology has become much more than just a platform.  Now the two products are going to be re-combined into one, the fall of 2018 if everything is still on track,  technology is truly becoming an enabler for the way organizations want to operate.

The new user interface is amazing but Business Central is so much more.  Mostly everyone, seventy percent of people looking for new systems, knows the cloud is the way to go.  Organizations have grown weary of paying through the nose for new hardware, networks, and IT staff.  The idea of a remotely hosted server with a strong, reliable organization such as Microsoft has become extremely attractive.  Yes, the monthly payments may look higher as the bill for the users come in, but imagine a world where Microsoft looks after firewalls, databases, backups, and hardware patches.  When organizations of all sizes are plagued by viruses and ransomware, Microsoft offers attractive options.

Not only does Business Central offer peace of mind so organizations can concentrate of what they do best, but the system has solved the age-old problem of expensive upgrade nightmares.  True multi-tenancy, meaning companies can share one code base, means twice yearly upgrades can be easily and automatically processed without disruption or cost.  The decision to prevent Microsoft partners or customers from modifying the core system while allowing them to apply business apps or customer-specific customizations without affecting the upgrade path is genius.  While other companies profess to offer this capability, they are missing the rest of the package offered by Microsoft.  Besides keeping four live copies of a company’s database in two geo-redundant data centers with twenty-one day rollback options, the system items delivers exceptional personalization capability to customers.  It makes the system work for the end users instead of forcing them into a box.  The Microsoft Office “look and feel” shortens the learning curve while offering up integration capabilities into the full suite of Microsoft products.  Building on the legacy of Dynamics NAV means Business Central has the full capability of the world’s most popular mid-market ERP system.  Implement as much or as little as you want now and roll out more in the future.  Take advantage of the ever-expanding list of apps on the Microsoft store to personalize your system or develop specific code extensions for your own requirements by using the Visual Studio Application Language, something almost any IT grad can master.  And easy upgrades.  In April Microsoft upgraded its online Business Central customers in an average of thirty seconds per customer.  Get up for lunch.  Come back to a new system.  It’s real.  It’s here today.  Business Central.  The last system implementation or upgrade you will ever need.