“Finally!” was one of the reactions I heard stated by one of the QBS partners during the latest QBShare in Denmark when Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 Business Central. Not only was the launch long anticipated, it’s journey involved some twists and turns, and there were more than a few bumps along the way. It started with the launch of an unfinished first version of Business Edition in most European countries, leading to the discussion on positioning the NAV platform vs. Dynamics 365. We are all looking forward to working with the new platform that Business Central represents, now knowing that it is not just cloud enabled, it is actually developed from ground up to be the SaaS platform for Dynamics in Small and Medium Business. Microsoft will keep a dual strategy allowing the partner and customer to choose respectively on-premise (Dynamics Nav 2018) or a cloud deployment.
Now that the product has become available, the question is how fast will customers adopt Dynamics 365 Business Central? I would argue that a few basic rules of the Business Application market haven’t changed, even when an ERP solution is developed and deployed for cloud. My first reasoning is that existing customers have customizations on their ERP platform. This will take time and investment of capable partners to migrate to a new platform. Secondly, customers want to work with an ERP solution that has industry status and they need to mirror business processes that reflect the specifics of their industry. Last but not least, selling, configuring, deploying and supporting an ERP platform requires specific skills, partners need to be able to not only understand the business requirements, they will also be held accountable if the ERP system does not produce the desired business impact and keeps the operation up and running. It is not an easy “expand to ERP” move for an IT partner.
As a result, generally speaking, only when the trusted partner of an ERP customer is ready to migrate, customers will go to the new platform, such as Dynamics 365 Business Central. However, it is not a quick upgrade like many of us have seen in past with Office or other productivity apps. Microsoft has considered this and is now investing heavily in a program called Ready-to-Go. This program basically allows you to run through a set of milestones that will make sure your existing solution for Microsoft NAV will be migrated and ready to be deployed on Dynamics 365 Business Central. Hitting these milestone, requires training and work from multiple resources inside a partner organization. That is where we as QBS Group can be a helping hand. In fact, we are the partner of choice for Microsoft as “Master VAR”, supporting Dynamics partners across Europe. We will provide the training and workshops that you will need to go through if you want to successfully migrate your NAV solution the new Business Central platform. We work in partnership with 1-Click Factory, to migrate your ISV solution and to automate the migration of your customers. But equally important, we provide you with best practices, insights and business support as part of our QBS partner network.
As a consequence of the journey any Dynamics NAV partner needs to go through to get ready for Business Central, it will take some time before we see it deployed in a sizeable volume. But I am confident it will become a huge success for our partners in terms of providing more capabilities and better economics to SMB customers. It will also be an opportunity to connect the Dynamics ERP platform even further with the other Microsoft clouds; the productivity cloud with Office 365 and the data cloud with the Azure services. It will open new scenarios around IoT, Analytics and AI that SMBs could simply not afford to date. So yes, finally Dynamics 365 Business Central was launched, we want to make sure you as partners, get the most out of this new platform as quickly and successfully as possible. So if you are looking for guidance and business support through the launch of Dynamics 365 Business Central please visit our website, contact your local QBS team or contact me directly.