Business Central Background

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.

SAP Background

Business ByDesign, SAP’s ERP solution for midsized businesses, was announced in September of 2007 and was said by then CEO Henning Kagermann to be the most important announcement of his career. Aimed at companies between 100 and 500 employees in size, the product was initially launched in Germany and the United States but expanded soon after. SAP executives pledged to invest $400-$550 million to introduce, market, and continue enhancing the system. Business ByDesign has been reported to be in use by 450+ companies with an average size of 50-200 employees, a user count lower than most of SAP’s other product offerings.

Pricing & Considerations

SAP Business ByDesign

Licensing: Business ByDesign has a base cost of $1704/month that includes 5 enterprise users, but because SAP requires a 20 user minimum, the real price will be around $3969/month for 20 enterprise-level users, the most comparable license to standard Business Central users.

Billing Frequency: Monthly

Implementation: Varies depending on the SAP Partner implementing the solution.

Other Considerations: The implementation of Business ByDesign is estimated as a 8-12 week process with some organizations reporting an implementation cost of around $11,000 USD for a moderately complex environment. Implementations are done through SAP partners so costs will vary. Many add-on apps carry an associated cost, but SAP aims to provide transparent pricing.

Business Central

Licensing: Starts at $90/user/month with additional plans and add-ons available.

Billing Frequency: Monthly

Implementation: Varies depending on the Microsoft Partner implementing the solution.

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.

Customer Reviews

SAP Business ByDesign

Common Pros: Highly customizable, good support and training materials, scalable, easy to manage employees and security.

Common Cons: Very basic without add-ons, costly, overly complex at times, implementation requirements, not user friendly.

Dynamics NAV (Dynamics 365 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.

Release Schedule

Business Central

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.


Business ByDesign receives one significant update per quarter addressing key capabilities, legal compliance and localization, user experience, analytics, and integrations. The latest update was Release 1811 which was made available on October 22, 2018.

Customize & Extend

Business Central

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.


Business ByDesign is similar to Business Central in that it was made to allow for a large amount of modifications and extensions in personal workspaces. Forms, reports, and fields can be modified by all users by adding or removing what’s there. Users can also use Adaptation mode to create custom sections,edit the theme, branding, and overall feel. The ByDesign Studio allows for more advanced customizations like implementing business logics.

Business ByDesign comes with both prepackaged and enabled integrations to 70 different apps, services, and tools in business areas like collaboration, logistics, sales, and more. Prepackaged integrators simply need to be activated by users while enabled integrations will usually require some amount of building or implementing. Among the 70, there are connections with Microsoft Office, payroll softwares, electronic banking services, and more.

 Financial Management

  • Payables & receivables processing

  • Tax management

  • Payment & liquidity management

  • General Ledger

  • Fixed asset management

  • Inventory valuation

  • Management accounting

Sales & Service

  • Campaign management

  • Account & activity management

  • Product & pricing master data management

  • Lead, opportunity, quote management

  • Sales order & return handling

  • Customer contracts

  • Entitlement management

  • Service request & order management

  • Customer invoicing

  • E-commerce

  • Sales lanning

Supply Chain Management

  • Demand planning & management

  • Supply planning & control

  • Inbound & outbound logistics

  • Logistics control

  • Drop shipments

  • Stock transfers

  • Internal logistics

  • Inventory management

  • Production planning & control

  • Quality mgmt.

  • Logistics unit mgmt

  • Execution & confirmation of logistical tasks

  • Export handling

  • Intrastate reporting

Project & Vendor Management

  • Vendor Management

  • Sourcing & Contracting

  • Vendor Invoicing

  • Self-service procurement

  • Planning

Human Resources, Administration

  • Personnel administration

  • Time & labor management

  • Master data management

  • Compensation

  • Expense & reimbursement management

  • Report Wizard

  • Preconfigured reporting, KPI’s

Self Service

  • Time & expense reporting

  • Travel management

  • Leave requests

  • Time sheets

  • Personal data editing

  • Expense management

  • Procurement

  • Delivery confirmation

Dynamics 365 Business Central Features

Financial Management

  • General Ledger

  • Receivables Management

  • Collections

  • Predict Late Payments

  • Automatic Payments

  • Payment Tolerances

  • Reconcile Vendor Payments

  • Prepayments

  • Transfer Bank Funds

  • Multiple Companies

  • Intercompany Transactions

  • Cost Accounting

  • Transfer Cost Entries

  • Cost Budgets

  • Reverse Posting

  • Employee Expenses

  • Defer Revenues & Expenses

  • Import Payroll Transactions

  • Closing Periods

  • Preparing Closing Statements

  • Report VAT


  • Register New Items

  • Bill of Materials

  • Categorize Items

  • Item Attributes

  • Catalog Items

  • Reclassify Inventory

  • View Item Availability

  • Transfer Inventory Between Locations

  • Reserve Items

  • Serial & Lot Numbers

  • Block Items

  • Inventory Costing

  • Revalue Inventory

  • Adjust Item Costs

  • Physical Inventory

  • Calculate Expected Inventory


  • Purchase Inventories

  • Purchase Orders

  • Purchase Quotes

  • One-click Convert Quote to Order

  • Purchase Items

  • Correct/Cancel Invoices

  • Combine Receipts

  • Returns & Cancellations

  • Date Calculation for Purchases

Fixed Assets, Project Management

  • Job Cards/Tasks

  • Assign Resources to Job

  • Define Work Types

  • Use Timesheets for Jobs

  • Estimate Job Costs

  • Manage Job Budgets

  • Manage Job Supplies

  • Monitor Progress

  • Acquire & Maintain Fixed Assets

  • Transfer, Split, Combine Fixed Assets

  • Revalue Fixed Assets

  • Depreciate/Amortize Fixed Assets

  • Dispose/Retire Fixed Assets

Warehouse & Assembly

  • Move Items

  • Plan Movements

  • Quote an 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


  • Add Comments

  • Track Document Lines

  • Send Documents by Email

  • Define User Tasks

  • Make System Suggestions

  • Integrate & Manage Workflows

  • Data Exchange

  • Fully Customizable

  • Classify Sensitive Data

  • Create New Companies

  • Job Queues

  • Publish a Web Service

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