And the three shall become one – GP, NAV, SL
There is definitely a bit of artistic license in that title but it is not as farfetched as it sounds. Dynamics GP, NAV, and SL have very different code bases. So how can the three become one, especially with maintaining their individual identities? First, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central will be combined into one product, Business Central, in October 2018 with options to deploy in-house, in the cloud, or via a hybrid option. The latter provides an option to easily move from in-house to the cloud at any time.
A few years ago we had a major flood which took out the offices of two of our customers on Dynamics NAV, one in the downtown area and another in a small town 40 miles away. Because both systems had been installed on the cloud, both companies were up and running the next day with employees working from home. The cloud or hybrid options offer compelling value propositions in those situations. Another customer had their network compromised by ransomware, but not the Dynamics NAV database. The ransomware was unable to touch the secured SQL Server database. With a bit of restoration, users were quickly able to access the accounting system the next day.
So what about Dynamics GP and SL? They certainly don’t share a database with Business Central, or do they? At the Directions 2018 conference held in San Diego, California at the beginning of October, Microsoft released more details about their new Intelligent Edge option. Now older versions of Dynamics NAV, Business Central on-premise, Dynamics GP, and Dynamics SL can all be synchronized to a Business Central database in the cloud where users will have access to other applications available through the cloud, including Stream Analytics, Machine Learning, Power BI, Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Power Apps, and other Web Applications. This information can then be accessed directly from the web or pushed back to Dynamics GP or Dynamics SL.
Organizations utilizing Dynamics GP or SL might wonder whether this architecture really provides any benefits. If there has been any concern about the future of the GP or SL products, it has been how they can take advantage of the wonderful new advances in Microsoft’s cloud environment. Some progress has been made to make them available to Power BI and Business Analytics, but the other more advanced modules were going to be a challenge. Now with Intelligent Edge, companies can stay on GP or SL and take advantage of the new insights provided by Business Central. Note that the data flow is one way from on-premise to the cloud. Any data input into Business Central in the linked environment will not flow back to the on-premise solution without custom integration.
So, have the three – NAV, GL, and SL – really become one system? Not as one combined on-premise product but now all three have access to the innovations found in Microsoft’s cloud environment by replicating data into an online Business Central database.
If you have questions about what this merger means for your current system and you want to explore your options, contact us today.