What Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central? (2019)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Explained

As digital transformation becomes a more attractive proposition for SMBs, decision makers are looking for which ERPs to incorporate into their organization. Vendors are scrambling to match the demand, and so we have Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, an established ERP with a new lick of paint.

ERPs are software platforms that combine several modules—HR; supply chain management; accounting and finance; customer relationship management—and brings them under one umbrella.

NetSuite (now owned by Oracle) was first to start designing ERPs back in 1998. The market has changed a lot since then, and has recently exploded in popularity with cloud-based systems—many SMBs now feel ready to implement an ERP solution. SAP, IFS, Oracle, and Microsoft are among the leaders in the market, each with their own offerings.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is the corporation’s most recent and comprehensive package built specifically for SMB organizations.

Many will be more familiar with the ERP under its previous name: Dynamics NAV, but it was rebranded in 2018 as part of Microsoft’s push to move their products to take advantage of the cloud.

What Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based, all-in-one solution business management solution integrating ERP, CRM, and Office 365 into a single platform for operations. It is also available as an on-premise solution as sold by a Value Added Reseller (VAR).

For many businesses its predecessor, Dynamics NAV, is a familiar and popular product. With 2.7 million users in 195 countries, NAV is an immensely popular product. With the introduction of 365 Business Central, Microsoft is pushing its ‘cloud-first’ approach to ERP solutions—beginning its shift away from on-premises systems.

It is primarily designed for SMBs looking to upgrade from legacy ERP software or systems supporting only a limited number of functions—such as a business operating a singular finance solution.

It is often a great solution for organizations that have outgrown their current accounting software, such as those using Quickbooks.

What Are the Functions of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Dynamics 365 Business Central is a modular solution which aims to bring a number of functions to SMBs at a reasonable price. For those who are familiar with predecessor editions of Microsoft ERPs, several functions will be familiar. Dynamics 365 Business Central is available in two licenses: Essentials and Premium. The modules include:

Financial Management

  • Chart financial performance in real time and connect data across accounting, purchasing, inventory, and customer interactions
  • Curate financial forecasts by modeling and analyzing data
  • Customize reports using Excel integration
  • Streamline accounts receivables and payables

Supply Chain Management

  • Calculate, predict, and replenish stock levels with automation
  • Get recommendations on when to pay vendors, use discounts, or avoid overdue penalties
  • Prevent unnecessary or fraudulent purchases through approval workflows

Customer Relationship Management

  • Track touchpoints in your customers’ journeys; more information means more opportunities to upsell and cross-sell throughout your sales cycle
  • Improve your service with better overviews of service tasks and workloads to better assign resources and quicken ticket resolution
  • Boost sales productivity by accelerating the quote-to-cash cycle

Project Management

  • Create and manage customer projects with timesheets
  • Develop project budgets
  • Project performance analysis

Human Resources Management

  • Keep detailed records of employees
  • Maintain contracts, confidential information and contacts

Warehouse Management

  • High-level views of inventory for efficient order fulfillment
  • Manufacturing capacity and resource optimization
  • In-depth production schedules to meet customer demands

The Premium license includes two additional modules:


  • Production orders
  • Supply planning
  • Capacity planning

Service Management

  • Manage service orders, price, and contracts
  • Planning and dispatching

The purpose of unifying these contrasting functions onto one platform is three-fold: prevent organizations becoming siloed; give decision makers actionable information and insights; and provide an ERP that is simple to upgrade and change.

Dynamics 365 Business Central and Utilizing the Cloud

Microsoft has been expanding its platforms to utilize cloud technology for business solutions for almost the entirety of this decade, beginning with their public cloud computing platform Azure, launched back in February 2010.

Office 365 followed shortly after as a software-as-a-service model in 2011, and has since taken over conventional Office product licenses in terms of revenue.

Based on the success of Office 365, positioning its flagship ERP to take advantage of the cloud is a natural avenue for Microsoft to pursue. They were, however, careful not to offer the solution as only a SaaS product, acutely aware that the majority of users operate an on-premises or hybrid deployment system of previous ERPs like NAV.

Cloud Adoption Among SMBs and What it Means for Them

Public cloud services, like Microsoft Azure, Amazon’s AWS, and IBM Cloud, offer SMBs a unique opportunity to cut on-premises IT resources and scale their system depending on their current needs and demands. In 2019, the public cloud service market currently stands at over $206.2 billion.

In 2015, 37% of small businesses had fully adopted cloud computing. In 2020 that number is expected to be 83%; affirmation of the desire of SMBs to get their ERPs cloud-based.

The average SMB supports 29 laptops, 38 smartphones, and 14 tablets on its network. This all essentially means that there is a need for businesses to adopt comprehensive ERPs across a large number of varying devices and increasingly through the cloud as opposed to on-premises.

Dynamics 365 Business Central has been brought to market with this growth and SMB demand in mind. It’s one of the major reasons its chief boast is being able to use the ERP on Windows, Android, and iOS with a consistent experience.

For SMBs looking at adopting a cost-effective cloud-based ERP system without the need for an on-premises application, Business Central fits the bill.

The Future of Microsoft Dynamics ERP Solutions

For decision makers concerned about Microsoft’s cloud expansion and the potential effects on current on-premises systems, NAV isn’t going anywhere. All the indications are that Microsoft is focusing on cloud-first, not cloud-only.

Organizations are less willing to employ ERP systems which don’t accommodate a range of capabilities, and legacy systems are becoming more undesirable to small businesses.

The Dynamics 365 Business Central solution has been positioned to take advantage of this large SMB market by offering a flexible and cost-effective solution for decision makers.

In addition to frying some big fish of its own, Microsoft has been urging its partners towards offering its cloud products through its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. This encourages MSPs to deliver solutions in their own manner of choosing to clients.

At Impact, for example, our unique offering is defined by a transparent pricing structure; utilizing a fixed monthly payment plan with no hourly charges. As an MSP, this flexibility enables us to offer comprehensive, on-going solutions to clients. With an on-going, long-term relationship, clients don’t have to operate on the break-fix model they may have grown accustomed to.

With a wealth of users on its other Dynamics products and the MSP market growing substantially, Microsoft is unlikely to abandon on-premises systems, but the likelihood is that the push for cloud-based solutions to meet demand will continue to grow.


  • The latest and most comprehensive ERP solution yet after Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central a significant part of Microsoft’s ‘cloud-first’ approach
  • Microsoft is looking to capitalize on cloud service demand by offering Dynamics 365 Business Central as an affordable and flexible package to consumers
  • MSPs are also being given the flexibility to offer Dynamics products the way they want to

Get Ahead of the Digital Transformation Game Today

ERPs like Dynamics 365 are an essential part of a modern business’ organizational structure and help SMBs remain competitive. By leveraging ERP capabilities, companies can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and achieve better customer satisfaction.

Impact offers Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central with a fixed-fee implementation model, meaning no estimates or hidden costs, just one upfront fee. Impact’s detailed assessment of a company’s business processes ensures that Business Central will be implemented successfully. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/30dLzMI