There is understandable confusion in the marketplace today, whether among resellers or users of the product known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV (and formerly, so long ago… Navision). Let’s see if we can clear things up just a bit.
For starters, the NAV to BC transition is one more of form than function, which is to say, the product features and robust capabilities that have long made NAV one of the world’s best-selling accounting and ERP software systems, are largely the same in Business Central. What’s changing, at the forced behest of Microsoft, and quite rapidly at that, is the delivery system. NAV is largely moving from what’s commonly known as an “on-premise” solution to one served up “in the cloud,” which is to say, over the Internet, using a web browser. (Though current on-prem users will continue to be able upgrade those on-prem versions into the foreseeable future, we’ve been told.)
This is nothing more than the ongoing evolution of the product, and its underpinnings have been in the works for years. But Microsoft’s all-in approach to the World Wide Web means that it’s intent on moving virtually everything to the cloud. That’s why you see their recent de-emphasizing of Windows… the recent migration of the Office products (Word, Excel, etc.) into the O365 web-based products… and the more recent decision to make NAV its foundational product in the cloud, via the new moniker of Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Business Central has two specific modules — Essentials and Premium – that include all NAV’s ERP features:
- Financial Management
- Project Management
- Sales and Service
- Reporting and Analytics
- Supply Chain Management
It’s then sold essentially in three price configurations:
For $8 per user per month you get the Team Member version, which includes Employee Self-Serve, the ability to run (but not create) all reports, and the ability to read and approve information.
As you can imagine from the price, it’s a very low functionality piece, but it’s ideal for serving the needs of folks like shop floor workers and very occasional “viewer” type users.
The next level up is the Essentials version. This runs $70 per user per month, and includes a range of functionality including invoicing, purchasing, opportunity management, budgets, finance, fixed assets, P.O. management, resource management, workflow, contract management, simple inventory, advanced sales, advanced inventory and distribution. That’s a very complete offering, ideal for many companies other than manufacturers or companies with extensive service management requirements.
Finally, there’s the Premium version which incorporates all the functionality noted above plus service management and manufacturing. The Premium level pricing is still only $100 per user per month.
It’s all part of the inevitable crush to the crowd, and what Microsoft is really doing here is providing its users – both current and future – with a clear path to getting there that will satisfy the demands of even the most sophisticated business now, and for many years to come.
Or, as Martha Stewart used to say… “It’s a good thing.”