Business Central (Formerly Dynamics NAV) vs. Epicor ERP

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.

Epicor
Epicor Software Corporation provides ERP, CRM, and other industry-specific software to over 20,000 clients. Epicor sells services through a Partner Network, like many Microsoft Dynamics products. Founded in 1972, Epicor began selling its initial accounting system in 1984 when it was known as Platinum Software Corporation.

Platinum Software went public in 1992 on NASDAQ and rebranded to Epicor in 1999 in order to “reflect size of company, breadth of solution, and role that solution played in an organization.” Epicor has acquired 13 companies since its launch and continues to introduce new products and increase its global customer base.


Pricing and Considerations

Business Central

Epicor

Licensing: $70/user/month. Additional add-ons available.

Billing Frequency: Monthly

Implementation: Financial Accounting Implementations begin at $19,995 USD. Manufacturing implementations, because they are more complex, begin at $30,995 USD.

Licensing: Epicor and Epicor partners don’t list pricing information on their websites and can only be obtained by contacting the Epicor Sales team or a partner directly. One site has reported prices of $175/user/month while another provided an estimate of $40,000 or more per year for 10 users. Billing frequency and up-front implementation costs are similarly not listed online.

Other Considerations: Dynamics 365 Business Central contracts are managed through Microsoft Partners. Business Central licenses can be added removed on a monthly basis limiting cost of a changing business. All major updates are applied automatically by Microsoft at no additional cost to the end user.

Other Considerations: Mobile apps, system upgrades, and other features may carry additional costs, though it is not made clear by Epicor or Epicor partners.


Customer Reviews

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 CRM capabilities on its own.

Common Pros: Quick to learn, highly customizable without coding, advanced manufacturing functionality, easily scalable.

Common Cons: Reports are tough to customize and lacking out-of-box, no payroll, customer support, scheduling is cumbersome.


Trial Options

Business Central

Epicor

Dynamics 365 Business Central 30 day free trials are available through Microsoft on the Dynamics 365 website. A free trial includes access to a Dynamics 365 Business Central trial account loaded sample data (you have the option to import your own). The free trial also allows you to invite other users from your organization to test for the duration of the trial.

A select few Epicor partners offer free trials of the ERP software.. You can view the full list of partners in the Epicor Partner Directory.


Release Schedule

Business Central

Epicor

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.

There is no official schedule or notification before Epicor ERP updates are made, but they typically occur twice a year,  in March and October. The most recent release, 10.2.300, was announced on October 4, 2018 and made available to users on October 18th. Before that, version 10.2.200 was released on March 14, 2018. Update releases contain a variety of enhancements and fixes across the system and one or two significant new features.


Customize & Extend

Business Central

Epicor

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.

Epicor is highly customizable thanks to its Kinetic Design and Kinetic Framework components. The Kinetic Design side allows users to modify pages layouts, icons, colors, and other interface elements to fit the user’s preferences and brand. Kinetic Framework is its own website containing sample code, tutorials, a code library, API documentation, and more that developers can use to build custom apps for their Epicor environment.Another feature, Epicor Service Connect, is a software for users to build a variety of automated workflows that run between Epicor and third party apps.


Business Central Features

Financial Management

  • General Ledger

  • Payables & Receivables

  • Collections

  • Predict late payments

  • Automatic payments

  • Payment tolerances

  • Reconcile vendor payments

  • Prepayments

  • Transfer bank funds

  • Intercompany

  • Cost Accounting

  • Transfer cost entries

  • Cost budgets

  • Multiple companies

  • Reverse postings

  • Employee expenses

  • Defer revs and expenses

  • Import payroll transactions

  • Closing periods, books

  • Preparing closing statements

  • Report VAT

Purchasing

  • Purchase invoices

  • Purchases orders

  • Purchase quote

  • Convert purchase Quote to order

  • Purchase items

  • Correct/cancel invoices

  • Combine receipts

  • Returns / cancellations

  • Date calc. for purchases

Inventory

  • Register new items

  • Bill of Materials

  • Categorize items

  • Item attributes

  • Catalog items

  • Reclassify inv.

  • View item availability

  • Transfer inventory between locations

  • Reserve items

  • Serial & lot numbers

  • Block items

  • Inventory costing

  • Revalue inventory

  • Adjust item cost

  • Physical inventory

  • Calculate expected inventory

Order Management

  • Move items

  • Plan movements

  • Quote assemble to order

  • Production orders

  • Subcontracting

  • Batch post consumption

  • Batch post output

  • Batch post run times

  • Post Scrap

  • Post capacities

  • View work centers

  • Receive items

  • Cross-dock items

  • Split activity lines

  • Warehouse assignments

  • Picking and shipping

Employee Management & General

  • Add comments

  • Track doc. Lines

  • Send docs. by email

  • Add extended item text

  • Define user tasks

  • BC suggestions

  • Workflows

  • Data exchange

  • Customize BC

  • Classify sensitive data

  • Create new companies

  • Job queues

  • Publish a web service

Project Management

  • Job cards and tasks

  • Assign resources to job

  • Define work types

  • Use time sheets for jobs

  • Estimate job costs

  • Manage job budgets

  • Manage job supplies

  • Monitor progress and performance

  • Acquire, maintain FA

  • Transfer, split, combine FA

  • Revalue FA

  • Depreciate / amortize FA

  • Dispose / retire FA

  • Manage FA budgets


Supply Chain

  • Purchase Management

  • Demand Management

  • Inventory Management

  • Shipping & Receiving

  • Warehouse Management

  • Advanced Material Management

  • Supplier Management 

  • Supplier Connect

  • Materials Requirement Planning

  • Master Production Scheduling

  • Multi-site management

Financial Management

  • General Ledger

  • Advanced Allocations

  • Financial Planning

  • Accounts Payable & Receivable

  • CC Processing

  • Credit & Collections

  • Bank Electronic Payments

  • Rebates

  • Tax Connect

  • Cash Management

  • Asset Management

  • Financial Reporting

  • National Accounts

  • Credit Manager

Sales Management

  • Quote Management

  • Sales Pipeline

  • Order Management

  • Sales Kits

  • Order parameters

  • Capable to Promise

  • Fulfillment & Allocation Processing

  • Demand Management

  • Order Monitoring

  • Customer Connect

  • Dealer Network Portal

  • Demand Management

Production Management

  • Job Costing

  • Assemblies

  • Scheduling

  • Backflush

  • Job Tracker

  • Part & Operation Batching

  • Automated Material Flow

  • Inventory Management

  • Material Handling

  • Work Queue

  • Packing Slips

  • Audit Trails

  • Debit Memos

  • Planning Workbench

  • Shop Warnings

  • Quality Control

  • Inspection Plans

eCommerce

  • Site Management

  • Real-Time Stock Levels

  • Checkout Configuration

  • Job Contract Pricing

  • Specific Product Lists

  • Customer self-service

  • Multiple selling Locations

  • Product Search

  • Quick Purchase

  • Quick List

  • Payment on Account

Employee Management & General

  • Content Management

  • Automated Workflows

  • Document Retention

  • Electronic Forms

  • Intelligent Data Capture

  • Governance, Risk, Compliance Solutions

  • Mobile App Options


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