Dynamics 365 Business Central: The Perfect ERP Software for SMEs
It was back in April of 2018 that Microsoft finally released their much-anticipated ERP application known as Dynamics 365 Business Central or D365 BC. The business management software was designed specifically for SMEs that had outgrown entry-level accounting software and were seeking robust solutions to manage multiple back-end processes.
Filling the ERP-Gap left behind by its predecessor Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, the current version significantly enhances business operations by offering new features that include warehousing, manufacturing, and service management. According to Microsoft, D365 BC brings the power of Dynamics NAV to the cloud and easily integrates with other software.
Similar to other apps that form the D365 suite, BC will experience small-scale updates every month with the major updates taking place twice a year. In this blog, we’ll go over the many features and functionalities of Dynamics 365 Business Central and see why it’s the perfect ERP software for SMEs.
What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Microsoft set out to design D365 for organizations looking to make faster decisions, connect with their customers in real-time, and quickly integrate business processes. It’s an end-to-end solution that covers every aspect of business process from sales, marketing, operations, kfinance, service, to customer engagement.
Business Central represents the next generation of digital transformation by bringing out the full power of Dynamics NAV. Businesses looking to leverage the benefits of D365 Business Central should contact the right tech company to get a quick evaluation. Business Central consists of modules with different price points.
An important thing to consider is that no two modules can be combined and the official software is sold only through authorized sellers. The app delivers value by easily integrating with Microsoft’s other cloud services including the widely popular Office 365. It can also be extended or customized based on specific industry requirements with Microsoft Flow, Power BI, and PowerApps. D365 BC also offers:
- Actionable Insight: Attain greater outcomes as well as a 360-degree view of the organization with business analytics, supervision, and connected data courtesy of Microsoft’s intelligent technologies.
- Business minus Silos: Boost efficiency and unify the business with automated workflows and tasks. These features are integrated with the Office tools including Word, Excel, and Outlook.
- Solutions built to evolve and grow: Attain a head start over the competition and adapt with a flexible platform based on evolving business needs.
Dynamics 365 Business Central: Basic Features
Before we go into detail about the core features of Dynamics 365 Business Central, it’s worth mentioning that there are three types of licenses customers can choose from: Essential, Team Member, and Premium. Each license defines the types of features you’ll have access to. For instance, the Premium license provides more capabilities as compared to Essential.
We’ll go over the two main types of licenses later in the blog but for now, let’s go over a few basic features as well as benefit’s users can avail regardless of which license they choose.
Improved User Interface
To standardize the feel and look of all D365 apps, Business Central has a modern yet intuitive feel to it that also provides an interface that’s similar to other products. The user interface is customizable with personalized feeds and smart notifications.
Thanks to Microsoft’s enormous spending on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Business Central users will benefit from valuable analytical insights, better next-step recommendations, and extremely accurate forecasts.
Complete mobile support and capabilities enable users to carry out work-related tasks from anywhere, confirm inventory status, and deliver quality customer services owing to complete access to a clients’ interactive history. Data is made available to decision-makers via flexible KPIs and interactive dashboards.
Simple Extension and Customization Options
Business Central’s visual designer enables users to customize the solution following their unique business needs. Microsoft Flow and PowerApps make it possible to create custom business workflows and apps.
Easy Integration with Different Services
One of the many advantages of being in the cloud is that Business Central can seamlessly work alongside other D365 apps like Power BI, Microsoft Flow, Office 365, and PowerApps. New features elevate the integration process with Outlook to a whole new level enabling users to utilize the quote-to-cash feature from the inbox while also being able to use emails to generate quotes and submit invoices.
Dynamics 365 Business Central – Essential
Purchasing the Essential license provides access to most of the features included in Business Central. This includes everything previously offered in the Finance and Operations edition and a couple of new, nifty features that allow the app to align itself with NAV’s functionality including project management and comprehensive human resource features. The following are all the operational areas included in Business Central.
Marketed as a step above basic accounting software, D365 Business Central includes a range of premier financial management capabilities that form the core functions of the software. Basic features you would expect from any modern ERP like overseeing cash flows, managing receivables and payables, performing period and year closes, and preparing VAT reports are also part of the app.
BC’s basic ledger quickly enables users to set up and begin posting to general journals, recurring journals, and chart of accounts. Business Central also helps manage departmental and operational budgets as well as the inventory costs. Users can track fixed assets and other related transactions such as depreciation, acquisitions, appreciations, write-downs, and disposals.
The process of auditing is made intuitive by assigning descriptions and audit trials to each transaction automatically. Users can define transactional codes that are added to the ledger entries to further strengthen the audit trials. Business Central facilitates the fusion of financial information from several companies and provides organizations with a complete view of financial analysis. Bank statements can be automatically imported and reconciled within Business Central.
Companies that have to operate numerous bank accounts are able to create and manage them within the Business Central app, making it possible to balance business demands across multiple currencies. The software can support a myriad of currencies—including payables and receivables—throughout the general ledger report in addition to updating currency exchange rates automatically.
Moreover, the app allows users to create “dimensions”—tags that users assign to entries making it easier for them to be tracked and categorized, which ultimately increases the value of their business intelligence.
Supply Chain Management
An accurate overview of a business’s supply chain is vital for organizations whose operations are strictly logistics-based. Dynamics 365 Business Central makes this possible by helping businesses track the supply chain cycle, all the way from managing inventory and orders to delivering products to the desired locations.
With BC’s SCM tools, companies can effectively manage and post receivables and transactions and also process sales orders. Regardless of whether the inventory is placed in a distribution center, plant, warehouse, brick-and-mortar store, showroom, or across several different locations, Business Central makes managing tracking accounts and managing inventory levels a simple and straightforward task.
Stock reporting features present within the app optimizes picking and warehousing from when the inventory comes in. Warehouse management via Dynamics 365 Business Central is carried out on different complexity levels that depend on the order volume and how they’re processed.
Although Business Central isn’t exactly a CRM solution, it does contain a few relationship management features that facilitate the optimization of sales efforts. Through these features, users can manage and record contact information for business relationship purposes. The contacts can then be segmented and utilized to enhance the potency of marketing campaigns.
Opportunities and leads can also be tracked and inputted, enabling sales teams to identify opportunities present within the pipeline as well as the area’s most deserving of their efforts. For organizations searching for robust CRM features, Business Central can easily be integrated with D365 for Sales in a few steps. This enables users to sync information pertaining to sales orders and inventory levels with various customer-facing operations.
For larger organizations or ones that need complete project management solutions, Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation is the way to go. However, seeing as how Business Central is a holistic business management application, it contains a few features that enable users to oversee multiple projects.
The app comes with many tools that allow users to carry out project management jobs that include scheduling and managing budgets, configuring jobs, monitoring progress, and scheduling resources.
Project managers can register, sell resources, group, analyze, and monitor usage to form manage costs, form estimates, and plan out projects that are based on available resources. Jobs can easily be tracked and project managers are able to deal with both time-and-material and fixed-price jobs.
Using the Timesheets feature, users can track logged hours for both equipment and employees and track resources via manager approvals.
Dynamics 365 Business Central’s Human Capital Management features represent a major upgrade from the previous Finance and Operations Business Edition. With Business Central, users are able to keep detailed accounts of employee records including contact information, qualifications, and contacts.
There’s an option to assign unique codes to employee records which helps managers group, track, and identify employees on the basis of skill sets, training, union membership, and experience. Likewise, employee absenteeism can also be tracked and logged using unique codes.
In a nutshell, the app helps manage various expenses that are posted in the general journal and the information is used to reimburse the employees later on.
Dynamics 365 Business Central – Premium
Those who go for the premium license have access to everything that’s included in the Essential license with the addition of Manufacturing and Service Order Management features.
The addition of manufacturing tools makes Business Central somewhat similar to NAV 2018 and includes several features that assist production businesses to streamline and manage their output. Users within the manufacturing industry can manage and produce material productions bills, outsource operations to subcontractors, and create production orders.
The app also assists businesses to manage and plan for demand with the help of material requirement planning tools and master production scheduling. They can also create purchase and production orders on inventory levels and demand forecasts.
Machine centers are managed via the app and enable users to control capacity levels and ensure that work centers are operating at maximum efficiency. Also, BC supports agile manufacturing, allowing businesses to make last-minute alterations and plan for peak times.
Service Order Management
The Service Order Management is a module that comes with the premium license and enables a business to provide exceptional customer service which ends up boosting and increasing brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Designed to support field service and repair shop operations, BC makes it possible for companies to view their entire service management operations all the way from processing orders to managing technicians. The app also features essential tools to track and register post-sales issue which includes systematic maintenance and new server requests as well as the option to set and update the service price.
Users are able to comfortably handle key components of service operations including component, warranty information, and contact information. Service KPIs are monitored via Business Central and makes it possible to track and record information on response times, service history, and service levels of individual contracts.
Completing service orders is also managed with the app through which users are able to assign jobs based on availability, skill, and log handling criteria.
Dynamics NAV or Business Central?
Before we can discuss the cost of Dynamics 365 BC, it’s worth mentioning the main differences between Business Central and Dynamics NAV. Although both versions may share a similar code base, Business Central has all the functionalities of NAV and more.
Business Central is superior not only because of the additional features, but now that it’s finally available to users; NAV won’t have any more releases or updates.
The Cost of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Similar to other ERP applications that form Dynamics 365, Business Central provides for three licenses options with varying cost structures that users can choose from.
- Team Member License: is priced at $8 per month, per user and allows for reading, reporting, and approval access in addition to self-service employee features.
- Essential License: is priced at $70 per month, per user and includes the above features with the addition of invoicing, opportunity management, purchasing, budget, fixed assets, finance, resource management, purchase order management, contact management, advanced inventory, simple inventory, workflow, and distribution.
- Premium License: is priced at $100 per month, per user and includes all of what’s included in the Essential license with the addition of manufacturing and service order management modules.
Business Central is available for purchase only via licensed cloud solution providers. However, approved vending partners can provide Business Central alongside their services or add-ons.
Wrapping up – Gallup Case Study
Gallup is one of the leading research firms and has become a household name thanks to its data analytics and public opinion polls. Yet, despite its strong focus on data, it was facing difficulty in tracking its sales leads. In an effort to provide its salespeople with an effective and user-friendly way of tracking leads and quickly serving customers, it upgraded its relationship management system to Dynamics 365.
With such a huge number of customers around the globe, Gallup wasn’t able to effectively manage leads and had limited sales funnel visibility. The company’s previous CRM software was providing little value to the salespeople. They lacked the usability piece, which deprived them of the ability to excel at their tasks. After much consideration and market study, Gallup switched to Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Immediately after the switch, Gallup’s customers began to notice the improvement in communication and sales. In one particular case, a potential customer filled out a web form on the company’s website. The information was forwarded by Dynamics 365 to the right salesperson and who proceeded to contact the customer 10-15 minutes after she filled and uploaded the form.
The customer was surprised at how quickly her query was answered. This is a good example of how the software facilitates an improved process for the customers.
In conclusion, Dynamics 365 Business Central is the perfect ERP solution for businesses seeking to automate and secure the supply chain, effectively manage finances, and optimize existing operations. EX2 Outcoding is tech firm located in Costa Rica that provides a number of services including software development, IT staff augmentation, mobile app development, and Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
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