Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central vs. Dynamics GP
Dynamics 365 Business Central
In 1984, three young entrepreneurs in Denmark released the precursor application to Navision (which would later become Dynamics NAV) under the name PC&C (Personal Computing and Consulting). In 1987, the developers released Navigator 1.00, which took PC&C’s single-user application and turned it into a client/server-based accounting program which allowed multi-user access. The first version of Navision for Windows was released in 1993.
In 2000, Navision Software merged with Danish firm Damgaard, making it a 1000+ employee company with partners in 25 (primarily European) countries. A mere 2 years later, Microsoft acquired Navision and brought it under the Microsoft Business Solutions umbrella managed by Doug Burgum. Microsoft rebranded Navision (along with Microsoft CRM, Great Plains, Axapta, and Solomon) in 2005 as Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Dynamics 365 Business Central was released in April 2018 as an “all-in-one business management solution.“ Built on the functionality, code, and development experience of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Business Central is a native-cloud solution that delivers a modern, browser-based ERP experience. Designed to integrate directly with Office 365, Business Central features extensive customizability and extendibility options via PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Power BI.
Originally developed under the name Great Plains Software in Fargo, North Dakota by CEO Doug Burgum in 1993, this accounting software was one of the first in North America designed to accommodate multiple users. After Microsoft’s acquisition of the software in 2001, Great Plains was rebranded as part of the Microsoft Dynamics product offering in 2005. This new brand replaced Microsoft Business Solutions, and incorporated financial, customer relationship, and supply-chain management solutions for a variety of organization sizes.
After 78,000 hours of development time, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 was released in December 2012. Adding over 125 new features and a Web Client, this release marked the beginning of the cloud era for the Dynamics GP application. In March of 2013, Syvantis Technologies, Inc. became the first Partner to begin hosting Dynamics GP and its new Web App on the Azure cloud.
The most recent version of Dynamics GP released was GP 2018 R2.
Pricing and Considerations
Licensing: Starts at $90/user/month for licenses with standard support plan included.
Billing Frequency: Monthly
Other Considerations: Additional costs to consider with Business Central include the add-on apps you may choose to integrate. Business Central upgrades are automatically applied with no downtime or additional cost for your business. Licenses are billed on a monthly basis and can be added or removed at any time through your Microsoft partner.
Licensing: Starts at $195/user/month
Billing Frequency: Monthly
Implementation: Base implementations starting at $15,995
Other Considerations: Additional costs associated with Dynamics GP include add-on apps you may choose to deploy or the addition of new companies or system functionality. The list of add-on applications available through Syvantis can be found here. As a Syvantis client, Dynamics GP system upgrades are free and automated with no downtime for your business when you host Dynamics GP on the Microsoft Azure Cloud, but this is not the case with every Microsoft Partner. System upgrade availability and cost may vary depending on the partner. Licenses are billed monthly and can be added or removed at any time through your Microsoft partner.
Dynamics NAV (Now Business Central)
Common Pros:Advanced financial management functionality, user friendly, integration with Office 365, affordable, cloud-based
Common Cons: Occasional glitches, lacks true CRM capabilities, overly complex in come areas, may slow up with lots of processes running.
Common Pros: Easy and strong report building, integration with Office 365, easily scalable, drill down into transactions, time saving & automated features
Common Cons: Interface feels clunky and can require many clicks to do what you’re trying, occasional glitches and slowness, limited customization options, payroll.
Dynamics 365 Business Central 30-day free trials are available through Microsoft at trials.dynamics.com. The free trial includes access to sample data to use while getting accustomed to the system and you have the option to import your own too.
Trial periods of Dynamics GP are available through a select few Microsoft partners, but not through Microsoft directly. Although Syvantis doesn’t offer Dynamics GP trial periods, we can provide customized demonstrations during your decision-making process that mirror how your organization would use the system. We also offer a range of resources and training materials that will help you familiarize yourself with Dynamics GP and associated accounting processes
Microsoft releases two major updates to Dynamics 365 Business Central per year – in April and October. These updates will include new capabilities, performance improvements, and better support experiences. All releases are automatically updated however, any major changes to the user experience will be turned off automatically giving administrators time to test and enable these features as they see fit.
Dynamics GP receives two major updates per year, but they’re quite unlike the updates released for Business Central. The most recent one – Dynamics GP 2018 R2 – contained a number of new tools and features but was mostly focused on fixing bugs and other issues. Future releases will likely follow a similar theme.
Customize & Extend
A major strength of Business Central is its flexibility and ability to integrate with Microsoft and other 3rd party applications. This is done by creating custom apps, installing 3rd party apps from Microsoft AppSource, or working with 3rd party services. Business Central is built to maximize customization, so the majority of app development requires little to no coding.
In addition to the wide range of apps that extend the functionality of Business Central, much can be done to personalize and enhance the interface each user will have. Using the Designer, users can easily drag-and-drop fact boxes, data fields, tables and grids, and other data that was previously hidden. Beyond basic changes, complex enhancements can be made to the UI using Visual Studio.
Dynamics GP, like Business Central, can connect with third-party software to extend its functionality, but creating and managing the integrations is more complex. Add-ons for Dynamics GP are not listed on Microsoft AppSource because they can only be installed by a Microsoft Partner like Syvantis. Extensions range from productivity integrations with Adobe to banking add-ons for areas like payroll, fixed assets, and more.
While personalization options are present in Dynamics GP, there are limited UI elements that can be removed or modified. Using the ‘Customize this page’ feature, users can shuffle around and remove various fields to fit their preferences or simplify navigation. There are more customization options, but most are not very significant, like setting font colors and list orders.
Like Business Central, Dynamics GP users also have two ways of accessing the software – the Classic App and the Web App. The Classic App mimics the experience of using Dynamics GP installed on-premise, but data is actually accessed via a remote server hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. The Web app is different because it’s a true browser-based experience, allowing users to access the same info as the Classic App via a web browser. The Web App can be used on mobile phones, but it is not optimized to do so. Users use a custom username and password to log into Dynamics GP, never an email address.
Users of Business Central have two ways to access the system – a default web version and a mobile app available for phones and tablets in the Windows Store, iOS App Store, and Google Play. The web version of Business Central can be accessed on any browser – Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, or Internet Explorer. The mobile app contains some but not all of the functionality available on the browser, but actions like exporting to Excel, emailing quotes, and more can still be performed. The mobile app also comes with features that enable uses to work without an internet connection.
Business Central Features
Predict Late Payments
Reconcile Vendor Payments
Transfer Bank Funds
Transfer Cost Entries
Defer Revenues & Expenses
Import Payroll Transactions
Preparing Closing Statements
Register New Items
Bill of Materials
View Item Availability
Transfer Inventory Between Locations
Serial & Lot Numbers
Adjust Item Costs
Calculate Expected Inventory
One-click Convert Quote to Order
Returns & Cancellations
Date Calculation for Purchases
Fixed Assets, Project Management
Assign Resources to Job
Define Work Types
Use Timesheets for Jobs
Estimate Job Costs
Manage Job Budgets
Manage Job Supplies
Acquire & Maintain Fixed Assets
Transfer, Split, Combine Fixed Assets
Revalue Fixed Assets
Depreciate/Amortize Fixed Assets
Dispose/Retire Fixed Assets
Warehouse & Assembly
Quote an Assemble-to-Order
Batch Post Consumption
Batch Post Output
Batch Post Run Times
View Work Centers
Split Activity Lines
Track Document Lines
Send Documents by Email
Define User Tasks
Make System Suggestions
Integrate & Manage Workflows
Classify Sensitive Data
Create New Companies
Publish a Web Service
Dynamics GP Features
Sales order processing
Bill of materials
PO processing, receivings
Available to promise
Account level security
Cash flow management
Fixed asset management
Revenue, expense deferrals
Electronic banking suite
Cashbook bank management
Electronic bank management
Field level security
Customer, vendor consolidations
Master production scheduling
Materials requirement planning
Work center management
Human Resources & General
U.S. & Canada payroll
Federal Magnetic Media
Time & expense management
Service based architecture
Customer, vendor combiner
Modifier with Visual Basics for apps
All-in-one document viewer
Analysis cubes library
Refreshable Excel reports
Office 365 workspace
Power BI dashboards & reports