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The future is bright for Dynamics NAV (ERP): Microsoft introduces Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 (NAV) has been a solid and consistent performer for businesses throughout Australia who have needed to transform and improve their Finance, Supply Chain and Manufacturing capabilities.

What is changing?

The NAV suite has become Dynamics 365 Business Central, bringing the most popular of Microsoft ERP solutions into the cloud, available as a service (SaaS). This is not to be confused with the previous launch of Dynamics 365 for Finance, Business Edition which was very much a cut-down version of the NAV platform – Business Central is the proven, full-stack ERP solution capable of managing both the simple and the complex.

What does this change mean?

You can procure a road-tested, pay-as-you-go ERP solution that is “evergreen”, broadly allowing a simpler and cleaner update process on a more regular basis, so you can always be on the most recent version and taking advantage of Microsoft’s ongoing investment in the technology.

Where your unique industry requirements demand it, you can access the exciting proliferation of industry solutions that will become available through AppSource. This will ensure solutions are delivered and deployed to the highest standards. The vibrancy of the industry solutions for NAV has long been one of the key reasons behind its success, so adding this controlled marketplace will make ‘new cloud NAV’ a real force to be reckoned with.

What does it mean to the 160,000 existing global clients on NAV?

What makes the transition so exciting is that the NAV code base will be used for the Dynamics 365 Business Central platform. This should make the journey a simpler proposition for those ready and on the latest version of NAV.

A challenge for many older NAV clients will be the extent of customisation, so upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Connect platform should also be an opportunity to peel back the modifications and adopt standard processes where possible. This will lower your overall TCO. 

As with other solutions in the Dynamics 365 family, it is highly likely that Microsoft will announce a “Hard Seal” strategy for NAV so that they can align to evergreen principles. This means before you make the shift to modern SaaS platforms, we encourage you to get your house in order!

This doesn’t mean an end to customising the solution to ensure 100% fit to your business requirements. It just means that development approaches will change to focus on extensions rather than changes within the core code.

How can organisations get prepared for the value this platform will bring?

Upgrade to the new cloud version, but don’t just do a simple technical upgrade – this would leave you having to do a complex upgrade to Dynamics 365 at a time when you should be focusing on how to extract value from the platform.

Perform digital workplace assessments, considering how to leverage the wider Office 365 platform alongside a connected Dynamics 365 platform to transform your business.

Create a plan, developing a roadmap to extract operational and productivity benefits. The wider Dynamics 365 platform can address a wide range of needs; amongst these advanced analytics, sales force and marketing automation, commerce, portal self-service, customer care, talent management, field service, professional services automation and social engagement.

The power of the whole Microsoft platform is a key strength here, bringing interconnectivity from front office productivity tools through to back office data insights. If you are considering upgrading, focus on what an interconnected platform may bring to your organisation, setting your people and processes up for transformation success.  As Aristotle says, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Next steps

If you know you need a plan to get ready, take advantage of this new cloud release, talk to us about our Dynamics 365 roadmap covering upgrade approach and modification assessment of ‘high-risk’ mods. We’ll help you navigate this process and reap the benefits!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central will be available in Australia on 1st July 2018 and in New Zealand on 1st July 2018. 160,000 customers in 195 countries, and 2.7 million users can’t be wrong, maybe it’s time to join them!

Posted by: John Meaker, Solution Specialist | 23 March 2018

Tags: ERP, Dynamics 365, Enterprise Resource Management, enterprise resource planning

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