Mark Hennessy, Sales Director Nolan Business Solutions Plc 24/01/2016
I have been researching Microsoft Dynamics 365 for some time now and thought it was about time that I wrote an article explaining exactly what it is and what is means in the UK. In particular, what does it mean to UK based Dynamics GP customers? There have been many marketing messages circulating about Dynamics 365, but it’s quite difficult to understand exactly what it is, and what its impact will be.
Microsoft tell us that Dynamics 365 is about ‘Digital Transformation’, which is defined by saying:
‘As technology changes the world around us, new opportunities are changing the way business is done. This evolution is known as digital transformation and it promises to enable organisations to engage their customers, empower their employees, optimise their operations and transform their products in new and powerful ways’
This is all well and good, and everyone understands the importance of staying abreast of the latest changes in technology in both our personal and business lives and to take advantage of it wherever possible. But how does this relate to the world of ERP software? It is no surprise that the most widely used modules in any ERP solution are Receivables, Payables and General Ledger. How much can these functions be digitally transformed?
You may say I am missing the point, and I fully accept and am excited by the possibility of disrupting industries through technology and helping our customers do this, but at the end of the day all businesses need to run a solid finance department. It underpins everything.
So, what is Dynamics 365?
It is Dynamics CRM, Office 365, Power BI & Cortana Intelligence and ERP (called Operations). You can buy each component as you need them. The key difference is that all these different components are brought together under the same unified user interface. In layman’s terms this means you can easily switch between them in the same window without having to log in and out each time. Plus, they are all made to look and feel the same. One key benefit of Dynamics 365 is that all the components are integrated, for example, if you add a customer in CRM it appears straight away in Operations.
Dynamics 365 is all hosted on Azure and there are no options to run it on your own servers in your offices. It is consumed via a Software as a Service (SaaS) Model meaning you pay as you go for the service and never own the software, but you also don’t have to worry about upgrades or the installation of the software.
Dynamics 365 comes in two editions called Enterprise and Business. The difference between the editions is the ERP system which is now called ‘Operations’. The enterprise edition uses AX7 which was formally Dynamics AX and the business edition is based on NAV which was formally Dynamics NAV. Crucially though in the UK the business edition has not yet been released and I am unable to find a concrete release date. Unconfirmed rumours suggest April or May 2017 but we will have to wait and see.
Dynamics GP is not being discontinued!
If you are one of the many thousands of businesses happily using Dynamics GP you do not have to do anything, GP is not going anywhere anytime soon. Microsoft will happily continue to support and develop it. At Nolan we regularly perform new implementations of Dynamics GP and will continue to do so. The GP partner community is also fully committed to its support and ongoing development. One such partner, eOne Integrated Business Solutions, (author of Smartlist Builder) has been very vocal on the issue and you can read their response to suggestions that GP is going to die here. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dynamics-gp-going-away-any-time-soon-martin-olsen
Thinking about moving your ERP system?
If you are thinking about making changes to your ERP system then one of the first questions you will need to answer is; ‘Do I want to go to a cloud based solution?’. If the answer is yes, you then need to decide between private and public cloud. If you want to access your ERP system from your own servers or on a private hosted server then Dynamics 365 is not for you. If you want to access your ERP system via a public cloud server then Dynamics 365 is one solution, but there are others which may also work for you. Nolan have been NetSuite solution providers since 2007. NetSuite has long had much of the functionality and advantages now available in Dynamics 365.
If you are currently running Dynamics GP on your own servers and want to move it to a private hosted server then we can advise you on your options and help you move Dynamics GP into a private cloud environment.
If you are looking to move to public cloud in the short term and are considering Dynamics 365 then ask yourself if you want to move to Dynamics AX. AX is typically aimed at Enterprise level, whereas GP and NAV are aimed at mid-market and have price tags and implementation costs to match. This typically means that AX, or Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition is not the best solution for most existing Dynamics GP customers. The business edition is most likely to be more relevant.
Nolan can help, speak to us and we can walk you through the best options for your business which may simply be that you don’t need to do anything!
If you are looking for a change to support your Digital Transformation then we can help. We have been implementing cloud based solutions for 10 years.
‘What does Dynamics 365 mean in the UK Microsoft Dynamics GP marketplace?’
In conclusion and to directly answer the question, ‘What does Dynamics 365 mean in the UK Microsoft Dynamics GP marketplace?’ The answer is that it is an additional solution offered by Microsoft. If you are currently running Dynamics GP, or looking to buy Dynamics GP then nothing has changed you can be confident that GP will continue to be supported and developed and have confidence that you are running a mature, tried and tested solution.