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How do you decide which Dynamics 365 ERP product is the best fit for your business?

Dynamics 365 is a set of interconnected, modular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and services designed to both transform and enable your core customers, employees, and business activities which can make it hard to decide on which option will best fit your business.  

This is why Microsoft can find it tricky to market solutions which may result in you going for a product that may not be the best fit for your business.  

To make sure there is no confusion, we will showcase what Microsoft has to offer and which markets they are more commonly used for to give you an idea of which product will be the one that best suits your business requirements. 

What Dynamics 365 products does Microsoft offer to businesses? 

There are loads of options available but for the purposes for this article, we will list only the ones that Advantage offers to its customers: 

Now you know about the Microsoft products, how do I know which one is right for my business? 

If you haven’t seen the below before, it can look a little daunting as you may not know what half of the below products are and will make a decision purely based on what sort of system you are after. 

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The problem with that is the fact that is not an easy decision to make, the reality is that there are so many things that Microsoft can offer it can be difficult to explain in such a way that we all understand. Furthermore, they use American buzzwords which may not help much when it comes to the UK market. If you are based in the UK, the first thing you will be trying to determine is what size your business is. 

If you are a small business 

You will find that most small businesses are using only the most basic of finance software. If you fall into this category, then Microsoft haven’t really got a product suited to your requirements – both licenses and implementation means that Dynamics 365 isn’t really competitive. It is important to note that if your business is growing it can still be a significant benefit to plan for the future. Investing in the future, particularly over a short space of time will make it clear that you really don’t want to be changing systems during periods of growth. Even though implementing Dynamics 365 can be more expensive in the short term, it is fully scalable as your business grows so you can add new functionality as and when you need it. Therefore, it would make perfect sense for your business to consider a solution designed for the SME market which is Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

If you are an SME/SMB 

It goes without saying that the UK economy is propped up by the SMB sector. In the US, the SMB market is largely classified as “Small Business” which can bring an air of confusion when it comes to the UK market. It has only been recently that Microsoft has changed the menu structure from “Small Business” to “Small and Medium Business”. 

If you are looking at this from an ERP standpoint, Dynamics 365 Business Central is able to cover the requirement of almost all businesses who turnover £1 million right up to £100 million. However, in some cases some businesses may need something on an even bigger scale so look to an enterprise solution, however for the vast majority, Business Central suits them just fine as their main business management software solution. 

If you are unsure of the notion of an ERP, put simply it is a software designed to take care of your business finances along with your day-to-day business operations. When it comes to Business Central it includes the following elements: 

  • Finance 
  • Sales and Purchasing 
  • CRM 
  • Stock 
  • Warehousing 
  • Projects 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Service Management 

In addition to having the above functionality, Business Central has the added flexibility required to help streamline even the most complicated of business processes. If you want to add more functionality to your solution, you can as it was designed to enable these sort of things to happen. The great thing about Business Central is the fact that you can use as much or as little of it as you want but knowing that you can ramp this up if required. 

Find out more about Business Central  

If you are an enterprise level business 

Most enterprise level businesses used to go for Dynamics AX. However, as a result of a move to the Cloud, Microsoft has branched out by separating different functionalities such as Supply Chain management. 

So what are the biggest variances between SMB and Enterprise? 

The biggest difference is price. The thing is that having to have a minimum of 20 licenses for Enterprise is not the problem for a large SMB. The problem comes when users need licenses to access specific functionalities. However, the costs surrounding the implementation are a major differentiator. Business Central is a built app that needs to be setup – but really most of the functionality is a standard part of the system. When it comes to the enterprise app, they are much more about functionality and structure designed in such as a way that they give all the flexibility that is required. Therefore, the level of design, development, setup and project management come at a huge cost. This is what makes this type of project only for those who have the budget to stretch that far. 

Picking Dynamics by cost 

As we’ve mentioned above, there are significant differences in the licensing for Enterprise level apps, given that most people select these apps when the product isn’t right for their business or for their budgets indicated that a significant shift in cost by 50% in licenses isn’t a problem. It is safe to say that most Microsoft partners such as ourselves have their own methodologies and different ways of pricing up these projects but to give you an idea of the cost associated with each option you can find these below: 

  • Small businesses looking to move away from their basic accounting packages such as Sage, QuickBooks or Xero - £6,000 through our Quick Start Business Central pre-packed package. Project length: 1 week to 1 month 
  • SMB’s who require a full ERP implementation - £50k to £300k. Project length: 3 to 24 months. 
  • Enterprise companies - £500k to £5 million – Project length – 18 months to 3 years. 

I believed that Dynamics was a CRM 

Many businesses can get confused as partners are selling Dynamics 365 Sales as their main product by calling it just ‘Dynamics’. This is down to the fact that Microsoft originally branded it as Dynamics CRM which made it easy for CRM only partners to refer to it as Dynamics – most people working for CRM partners didn’t realise that other products existed under the Dynamics umbrella. With the extra confusion generated, as many people still believe that “Dynamics” is a CRM solution even though the vast majority of Microsoft’s products are geared up for the ERP market. 

Where did Dynamics NAV go? 

Given how hard Microsoft have found marketing its Dynamics products not a lot of people have heard of Business Central. However, most Finance Managers and Directors have heard of Dynamics NAV. The thing is that the product created in the 80’s has evolved a great deal since then. Microsoft purchased Navision and collated it together and rebranded it Dynamics NAV in 2005. 

Despite years of development and modernisation as Microsoft’s flagship ERP solution, a change of direction from Microsoft towards more Cloud based applications saw a major rebrand of its products with NAV being renamed Business Central. Nothing has changed from a functionality perspective as Business Central is still the same NAV product that they are used to with a slight change in the overall user interface. Despite this, the infrastructure, the way of developing and integrating has rapidly improved. Microsoft now markets this solution as their premier ERP solution for SMEs. 

Where can you buy Dynamics 365? 

Given that you now have an understanding of the Dynamics 365 products, where can you buy Dynamics 365? The most obvious place is through Microsoft directly, however Microsoft uses global partners to sell and implement their solutions. 

Better still, if you choose to purchase a Dynamics 365 solution from a partner like Advantage, we are able to offer you significant discounts on both licensing (30% off Business Central licenses) and implementation that Microsoft cannot honour if you go direct to them. 

I have outgrown my basic finance software 

If you have outgrown your finance solution such as Sage, Xero or QuickBooks then the leap to a fully integrated ERP solution may be too expensive or not viable. This is one of the reasons why we decided to produce our Quick Start Business Central implementation package which enables you get to everything you need, fast and within budget.  This means that as your business grows you can add more functionality to it as and when you need it. 

Find out more about our Quick Start Business Central package 

For SMBs 

For those small to medium sized businesses that already have the necessary processes in place or have a certain way of operating their business, a bespoke implementation of Business Cental provides them with exactly what they require. For this you will need to use a Microsoft partner such as Advantage to investigate your specific business needs, test functionality as well as provide you with a competitive price for this solution. This is where using one of Advantage’s Dynamics Consultants can help as they are used to dealing with complex business requirements as well as implementing a business solution through Business Central to transform the way your business works.  

Contact us today to get started