I’ve been a part of the Microsoft ERP community for over 20 years and the title of my blog is a pretty remarkable statement. Why? Microsoft has made some pretty remarkable decisions in the past year to make this happen!
You have to go back in time to 2001 and 2002 when Microsoft acquired both Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV (back then known as Great Plains and Navision) which made Microsoft mid-market ERP leaders in both North America and Europe with these acquisitions.
However, both Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV are on-premise products and if this term is ‘computer geek-speak’ to you, here’s what this means: Running on-premise software applications means you need a dedicated server to run the database for the ERP software and then the user needs to have the application or client installed on the user’s workstation to run the software. Now there are variants to running this type of configuration, however, it still requires a dedicated server for the database and a server to run the application software for users to remotely log in to (as a ‘client workstation’). On-premise ERP software typically means that you purchase the software and you ‘own’ the software, as long as you abide by the Software License Agreements, etc. You also pay an annual ‘maintenance fee’ that allows you to upgrade the software when the newer version of the application is release typically in 2-3 years.
This has been a long-running configuration for leading ERP software applications for years. Around the time just before Microsoft acquired Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV, a newcomer was born in the new mid-market ERP – NetSuite.
NetSuite is a cloud ERP solution and yes I’ll explain what that means here: NetSuite runs from your browser like Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc. You simply type in the URL for the NetSuite application and just like that: You are in the ERP application. This means for the company using NetSuite for their organization, they do not need to purchase hardware and they do not need to maintain either the hardware or the software to run the ERP application, and companies’ using NetSuite do not purchase the software, but subscribe or ‘rent’ the software to use for their organization. Also, updates to the software are available to apply immediately and may even happen in the background the next time you use the application.
So why am I mentioning all this information about Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV, and NetSuite? There is a connection! The popularity of cloud ERP solutions such as NetSuite over the past years has meant that NetSuite is now a leading cloud ERP solution in the marketplace and has steadily taken market share from the traditional ERP applications such as Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV and other ERP systems that are on-premise applications.
Microsoft has not had an answer to the cloud ERP solution until this year. Microsoft for years had been trying to figure out how to combine all the ERP applications they owned into a single solution, however that equation was not easily answered by their users of their software who would have been left learning a new software entirely. Therefore, at the end of 2017, Microsoft made a huge decision: Microsoft decided that their cloud ERP solution would be using the Dynamics NAV codebase and at the end of April 2018, they released Dynamics 365 Business Central or the unofficial shortened phrase, ‘D365 BC’ for those who love I.T. Acronyms. This D365 BC ERP application runs in the cloud just like NetSuite.
Now that Microsoft has decided to use one of their ERP applications as their cloud ERP solution, almost all the features that Dynamics NAV has to offer as an on-premise application is now available in the cloud version. Those features are very important because Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV have very strong feature sets in Manufacturing, Inventory and Warehouse Distribution, Field Service and Project Accounting that NetSuite is still developing. It will take NetSuite some time to develop and catch up the new cloud offering Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers.
The good news for the readers of my blog is the first-hand knowledge that FMT offers these leading ERP solutions! You can reach out to us by filling out the form below and learn more about Dynamics 365 Business Central, NetSuite or Dynamics GP. Discover which ERP solution best fits your organization!