I spent some time looking at Dynamics 365 and Dynamics 365 Business Central at Microsoft Inspire last week. We used to see for ERP: Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, Dynamics SL and Dynamics CRM. I was interested to see what Microsoft was promoting at Inspire in Las Vegas. They were actively promoting Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Dynamics 365 Business Central as their ERP offerings.

Dynamics 365 overall saw 65 percent growth during the first three quarters of the company's fiscal 2018. These are very healthy numbers and this line outpaced Office 365 for growth. This was a big announcement at Inspire. Microsoft partners from other lines of business were being actively encouraged to take on the Dynamics 365 as part of their business product line.

There were many Microsoft partners from other parts of the business (not Dynamics partners) looking at these products and wondering what they are. I can explain; ERP is really accounting software plus everything else to run your business. For example: accounting, payroll, purchasing, distribution and manufacturing functionality. CRM is for managing your sales and customer service (support). They also have Dynamics 365 Retail for managing your customer store front transactions.

Dynamics 365 is the Microsoft combination of CRM and ERP systems. The ERP for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is Dynamics AX. It is Axapta rebranded/renamed and it is available server based or in the cloud. You still need a good amount of technical knowledge to set up and run Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations as Axapta is a sophisticated ERP solution.

The Dynamics 365 Business Central that they were promoting at Inspire is Dynamics NV (Navision). It is a full Navision system hosted in the cloud. It is not fully available across the globe yet. The last release in 2018 is the last server-based version to come out. Moving forward everything will be in the cloud. From separate research Dynamics GP falls under the Dynamics 365 Business Central plan. It sounds like Dynamics GP will have access to the built-in capabilities of Business Central. 

The oversimplified view is that Dynamics 365 Business Central is primarily Dynamics NV (Navision) but with SL and GP in the plan. Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is Dynamic AX (Axapta).

On the Microsoft web-site, I saw that Dynamics 365 AI offerings are coming soon. Dynamics 365 AI for Sales will be the first offering available for preview. I am greatly looking forward to Inspire next year to see the AI offerings for the Dynamics 365 product line-up


Written by Kim Haythornthwaite, General Manager, Nolan Business Solutions