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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Payables & receivables processing
Payment & liquidity management
Fixed asset management
Sales & Service
Account & activity management
Product & pricing master data management
Lead, opportunity, quote management
Sales order & return handling
Service request & order management
Supply Chain Management
Demand planning & management
Supply planning & control
Inbound & outbound logistics
Production planning & control
Logistics unit mgmt
Execution & confirmation of logistical tasks
Project & Vendor Management
Sourcing & Contracting
Human Resources, Administration
Time & labor management
Master data management
Expense & reimbursement management
Preconfigured reporting, KPI’s
Time & expense reporting
Personal data editing
Dynamics 365 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