If you are confused about Microsoft’s new business solution product lineup, you are not alone. The names and branding for their Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions have changed so often recently, it is hard to keep up. In fact, they don’t even use the terms ERP and CRM anymore.
To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ll try to cut through the marketing hype to help you understand just what Dynamics 365 is and what it could mean to your organization. This is only intended as an introduction; we’ll cover topics at a high level and recommend resources when you are ready to dig deeper.
The fundamental purpose of Dynamics 365 is to manage financial, operational, and sales related business processes. Since those processes vary so much across industries and individual companies, the functionality of Dynamics has been compartmentalized into “Applications.” Think of it like a Lego® set of modules that organizations can put together to fit their business needs. You can purchase the entire system or individual “apps” for the functionality you need.
Underpinning the business management functionality is shared data that drives the continuous flow of information and processes across the boundaries of departments, business units, and geographies.
Dynamics 365 Unified Operations (the ERP apps) can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises. Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (the CRM apps) can also be deployed both ways, however some functionality is limited or unavailable in an on-premises deployment.
What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Even though it has a confusingly similar name, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a completely separate product under the “Dynamics 365” brand umbrella. It includes full ERP and limited CRM functionality.
While the full Microsoft Dynamics 365 is targeted at larger, enterprise-level companies (more than 250 employees), Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is generally recommended for small and mid-sized companies. Dynamics 365 Business Central can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises.
Business Central is particularly suited to those in wholesale distribution and manufacturing. Core functionality supports basic business management processes, supply chain, warehouse, and project management, while the premium version supports more complex processes, such as assembly, manufacturing, and service management. With seamlessly integrated add-ons (extensions), it also fits professional services, construction companies, and e-commerce.
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