Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central | Options, Process, and Benefits (Video)

Understanding the options for a transition from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! This recorded webinar discusses options, addresses frequently asked questions, and talks through how your business can begin planning.

During this recorded webinar, we discuss:

  • What is Dynamics 365 Business Central? – 2:00
  • What is a transition? – 8:20
  • How a transition works – 10:05
  • How to prepare for a transition – 12:00
  • What to do if you’re not ready to transition – 14:10
  • What happens to your Dynamics GP add-ons in a transition to Dynamics 365 Business Central – 16:40
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central Licensing and Pricing – 21:30
  • Why clients are transitioning to Dynamics 365 Business Central and ongoing benefits of a SaaS ERP – 25:20
  • What to expect during a transition – 45:50
  • Client testimonials – 46:50
  • Q&A – 49:40

For more information about the topics discussed in this webinar, please see the resources linked below:

Contact us if you have any questions about how you can plan your path forward with your Dynamics ERP solution.

Transcript below:

Tess: Hello, everyone. And thank you for taking some time out of your schedule today for our “Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central Options, Process, and Benefits” webinar. My name is Tess and I’m the facilitator today. Before I pass it over to our presenters, I want to remind you that if you have any questions during the webinar, please type them into the questions area in the control panel on the right-hand side of your screen. And we’ll answer the questions at the end of the presentation. This session will be recorded and will be posted on our blog later this week. So now I would like to introduce our presenters today, Nicole Chorney, and Jim Slinn who are account executives here at Encore.

So, Nicole and Jim, I will pass it over to you.

Jim: All right, thank you, Tess. Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining our webinar today. As our Dynamics GP clients have learned more about Business Central, we’ve been seeing a ton of opportunities around transitioning from GP to Business Central. And we wanted to build on that today in this webinar, by answering some of the questions we’ve been fielding on this topic. As per this agenda, I’m going to start by doing a quick overview of Business Central before Nicole talks about your transitioning options. Then I’ll come back, and I’ll discuss how we manage your GP third-party add-ons during a transition to Business Central, and also discuss what licensing will look like. And then Nicole will dive a little bit deeper into why clients have been moving from GP to Business Central, and how Encore can support or guide you in the process. Hopefully, this webinar will answer some of your questions, but I expect it might also lead to some other ones as well. So don’t hesitate to ask us in the Q&A today, later on in the webinar, or simply reach out to your Encore account manager after the webinar. They’d always be happy to help you.

So to start, what exactly is Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Dynamics 365 Business Central is Microsoft’s next generation of intelligent business applications in the cloud. At its core, Business Central is a full ERP solution with built-in functionality for all areas of your business: finance, sales, supply chain operations, project management. It really is a full-featured ERP system with core capabilities that can work across all areas of your business. It’s worth noting that although Business Central has only been in the market for a few years, the solution is not new. Business Central was developed from Microsoft’s Navision codebase and inherits all of that system’s core functionality developed over the past 25 years. It’s a mature system developed specifically by Microsoft as a cloud solution for small and mid-sized businesses.

So here’s what Business Central looks like. I wanted to show this to you because this is Business Central’s home screen. And as you can see, Business Central looks and feels like a modern cloud application. It’s much different than GP. You access the system by a browser and navigate throughout the system via the drop-down menus, by direct searches, or by the action boxes. And as you scroll down, you’ll find that there’s a tremendous amount of information at your fingertips on the screen. The information and layout is fully customizable so that all of your employees can see exactly what is most important for them to do their jobs. This makes the system easy to use, and easy to learn. Also, the system allows you to embed key reports or metrics that you use every day right into the system where they’re most visible.

Compared to GP, Business Central feels much more modern. By the way, the system looks great on the browser as well. The system looks great on any browser, including phones and tablets. If you’re using an Android, an Apple, it really doesn’t matter what kind of system you use to access Business Central, they’re all gonna look great to you and your users.

Now, as I mentioned, Business Central is a cloud solution. Although Microsoft does have an on-premise version available to you, this is a cloud-first solution. And the vast majority of our customers are moving to the cloud as part of their digital transformation strategy. Now, Microsoft sees the benefits of moving you to the cloud in three buckets. The first is you and your business can stay current on the latest technology without having to do anything. New releases of Business Central are scheduled automatically three times per year. So if you’re one of those companies that dreads going through a GP upgrade every couple of years, you’re gonna love Business Central, because that will be a thing of the past, no more upgrades.

The second benefit with moving to the cloud is it can reduce your IT costs and free up resources. Business Central is a subscription product, which means that there’s no servers or hardware to buy, no SQL, or Windows Server licenses to buy, and no infrastructure to maintain it all. There’s simply a single subscription fee to pay for, just like Office 365.

And the third big benefit of moving to the cloud is improved security, privacy, and reliability. This is always a big concern for my clients. But you can rely on Microsoft’s expertise to protect your data. Just ask yourself, if you’re a hacker, who would you take on? A local server managed by a small team of IT consultants or the Microsoft Cloud protected by billions of dollars’ worth of cutting-edge security? I’m not a hacker, but I do know what I do if I was…if the data was in…If I would do if I was a hacker. And your data is in great hands with Microsoft and Business Central.

Finally, the value of Business Central and the cloud extends far beyond just Business Central. When you subscribe to Business Central you get the power of the entire Microsoft cloud technology ecosystem. There are native advanced integrations with Office 365 that I know you’ll absolutely love. There’s also integrations with our CRM product, D365 Customer Engagement, and that makes it easy to share data between your finance and sales teams. And then there’s the Microsoft Power Platform, which is a really exciting family of products that can be used to build a connected solution from end-to-end within your organization. All these technologies will allow you to extend Business Central throughout your business, like a true ERP, and give your business the data and reports that your business needs.

I also wanna emphasize that Microsoft is committed to making a significant investment in Business Central going forward. Microsoft is a cloud-first company and Business Central is their cloud-first ERP system. Microsoft has a long, exciting roadmap for Business Central, you can expect Microsoft to continue to invest heavily in this product, year after year. That’s a big benefit to you. All in all, moving to a cloud-based system like Business Central designed to improve your productivity, save you time and money, and allow you to grow your business in the cloud with trusted partners like Microsoft and Encore.

Now, I’m gonna send you back to Nicole to talk about your transition options. Nicole?

Nicole: Thanks, Jim. So the process of figuring out next steps and preparing for a transition can be daunting. But obviously, as your partner, we wanna help you out with that. And we wanna make that process as seamless and easy as possible. So next, we’re gonna talk about just what is a transition?

So we use the word transition because this refers to the Microsoft Dynamics transition policy. Jim, do you wanna just forward to the next slide for me? There we go. Perfect. So yeah, so this refers to the Microsoft Dynamics transition policy. So the product line, product edition, and license models. So, majority of the people that are viewing this webinar today are currently DPL, or Dynamics Price List Clients. So basically, because you’re just moving to a new Dynamics solution is referred to as a transition.

So as mentioned previously, I’m sure if you’ve done any research, there are lots of promotions and discounts being offered, to show that Microsoft, and Encore is obviously valuing your lifelong loyalty and your commitment to the Dynamics finest solutions. The one I would say that our clients are probably most interested in is the fact that Microsoft is actually offering a 40% discount on your licenses when you do transition. So I believe Jim talks about this a bit more in a later slide. But yeah, that’s, I would say, one of the biggest benefits, it saves our clients quite a bit of money. Some people have actually discovered that they see, you know, actually, a discount from their annual GP renewal, transitioning to Dynamics 365 paying monthly instead. So a great benefit. And then, yeah, you’ll also hear the words, migration, used sometimes instead of transition, but it basically means the same thing. It just means moving to a new Dynamics solution.

So a lot of you may be wondering how exactly the transition works and kind of what you should, you know, expect out of that. So there is a migration tool that has been developed. Actually, I believe there’s a couple of them. However, you need to be usually on GP 2015, or later, either way, we’ll be able to get you to the version, you know, that makes the tool easy to use. We also use a cloud migration wizard to transition you over. So a tenant is created, your partner such as Encore would set you up with your new licensing, and then you would be good to go.

For companies that are kind of looking more for a Fresh Start solution. It’s more for companies who are, you know, as it says, fresh start, maybe your data in your current system is not the greatest. You’re more looking instead of transitioning, you know, that data over, maybe you’re just looking to Fresh Start instead. It’s a good option to start over. So there are plans that are good for that. But yeah, don’t feel like you need to take everything in your old system with you because you definitely don’t have to, there is options to just start fresh.

So Encore will help you map out everything in the analysis phase of our projects before we actually begin, just so that everything’s organized and pre-planned before you make that decision. And then we’re also, another thing, Encore is currently actually working on some fixed price offerings, that’s going to make that process even easier. So if this is something that you’re interested in, please stay tuned for what’s coming in the coming months, we’ll definitely be making some announcements in regards to that. And then as well just stay in touch with your account manager, and they’ll be able to kind of walk you through that process.

So in regards to what you can do in preparation, so trusting that maybe some of you have already seen some demos. You’re thinking this, you know, Dynamics 365 Business Central Solution might be a good fit. And you’re wondering now what? You know, what are my next steps? And now’s the time to really start planning. So as I mentioned previously, many companies take this time to adjust their business processes, talk about the current requirements, that I’m sure have definitely changed probably since your initial implementation of your ERP, who knows how many years ago. And it just gives you, you know, a good chance to talk amongst your team and amongst the business, just to talk about changes and what’s missing from your current system. So now is really the time to be able to align your new application with your current business needs. So again, doing maybe a tidy up of data, and just getting a fresh perspective of where you see your company being in the years to come with this new solution.

So by examining, reviewing, and reframing, you’re gonna be able to tackle obstacles regarding working remotely, which, of course, most of us are no strangers to in the current situation. But yeah, the important thing is being able to work remotely without actually feeling remote from everybody. So due to cloud technology, we’re easily being able to collaborate with all these awesome new tools. Communication is becoming increasingly important as we’re, you know, also separated today, and we definitely wanna keep those lines as open as possible. So with these new solutions today, again, it’s becoming increasingly easier, with definitely less stress. So if any of these things, you know, sound like something that your business needs, again, feel free to reach out to your account manager. And they would be happy to plan out a roadmap for your company and your organization. Or even if you’re not ready to take that next step, you just have a couple questions, they would definitely be happy to answer those for you.

We definitely have some people that, again, are just not quite ready to transition yet. They might have some questions, they’re kind of still doing their research. You know, that’s okay, too. You can still definitely benefit from cloud technology in other ways. I definitely like to tell my clients that it’s okay to test the waters with different cloud solutions before making that commitment. And Microsoft has always been very good at supporting that idea with things like trials, different things like that. But there’s also actually other means of exploring cloud technology, such as infrastructure as a service, or you might see it abbreviated as IaaS. So what this allows you to do is actually host your existing on-premise ERP, or other solutions, like anything third-party, in a cloud-based environment such as Microsoft’s Azure.

So basically, it kind of works, you know, very similar to like a cell phone plan. So you pay a monthly fee to a cloud service provider, or a CSP. We know Microsoft loves their abbreviations. You may also see it referenced as a CSP. And you never need to worry about your infrastructure again. So we’ve included in this monthly fee, we take care of all of that for you. So this is ensuring that you’re protected from things like ransomware, making sure that your company never has any downtime. We also handle the backups. And we can even help you develop a disaster recovery plan as well.

One of the things I’m shocked to hear is that a lot of the clients I talk to, their companies don’t actually have a disaster recovery plan. So if there’s anything besides the whole topic of Dynamics 365 Business Central that you can take away from this, I would say, please develop a disaster recovery plan. Everything’s fine until it’s not fine, and then it’s panic. So, again, if there’s one thing you can take away, please, you know, start discussing disaster recovery plans within your organization. And we can definitely help you out with that.

Now, I’m going to pass it back to Jim to talk about what happens to your GP add-ons once you transition to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Jim: Thanks, Nicole. Great ideas about the disaster recovery plan. That’s really important. As we know, there are lots and lots of third-party add-ons for Dynamics GP. And one of the great things about GP was the fact that there was an improvement, if there was an improvement that needs to be made in the software, somebody smart had actually developed one, one of those third-party ISP solutions. The third-party market of GP is really extensive, and it’s really been an asset to the product overall. And so I thought I’d show you just a little snapshot of what GP’s third-party network kinda looks like. This isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a list of a lot of the third-party products that we work with here at Encore. Most of these add-ons are seamlessly integrated into GP because they’re written in the same language, Dexterity. That doesn’t translate to Microsoft’s cloud or GP’s cloud. If you’re using GP now, you’re probably familiar with at least a couple of these third-party products on the slide. These third-party products extended the functionality of GP in many ways that are important to our customers. And you don’t wanna lose that functionality if you move to Business Central.

So what do you do if you transition from GP to Business Central?

Well, the first thing we’ll need to do is take a close look at which third-party add-ons you’re using and exactly how you’re using them. It’s gonna be different for everybody that is moving from GP or looking at moving from GP to Business Central. It’s quite possible after we take a look that we find out that your Business Central’s core capabilities, the functionality inside Business Central already will actually include the functionality that you used that add-on for in GP. This has actually been quite common so far in a lot of the projects we’ve looked at. And it’s been a pleasant surprise to clients who’ve moved to Business Central. So we may not need those third parties at all, going to Business Central might actually eliminate your need for that third-party, and now you can manage it within one system. That’s been great.

Otherwise, if Business Central doesn’t completely replace that third-party add-on, we’ll take a look at the Microsoft AppSource store. The Microsoft AppSource store is an app source store just like you’d use for any kind of applications on your phone that has been developed for Microsoft’s applications, including Business Central. If there’s a nice add-on built specifically for Business Central in the AppSource store, we can just download that and set it up in your Business Central instance and use that.

While the Business Central Library of third-party applications isn’t as extensive as GP, it is a fast-growing segment and many of our favorite GP add-ons already have adopted Business Central versions and released products for Business Central already. If you’re familiar with Binary Stream or E1 Solutions through Skype budgeting, Jet Reports, KwikTag, there’s lots of others. Those have all embraced Business Central and have Business Central versions of the products on AppSource already. So if we can’t replace the functionality you need in those GP add-ons with either Business Central or through a Business Central add-on, we can actually build something for you specifically. So if there’s nothing available on AppSource, we can build a custom solution app for you. Business Central is fully customizable via extension applications and we can make exactly what you need within the product. Just to note, this doesn’t affect the nice upgradeability of the software, you’ll still get those releases three times a year of the new versions of the software. Because these applications that we build are extensions and don’t alter the core code in Business Central in any way. So it isn’t expensive. It isn’t like creating customizations used to be in Dynamics GP. It’s much better.

So the bottom line, while it’s important to look at this closely, third-party applications haven’t really been a significant barrier to transitioning from GP to Business Central so far, I think it’s only gonna get easier. And if you’re curious and haven’t been to AppSource before, feel free to Google Microsoft AppSource, and filter by the D365 product line and choose Business Central at the top. And that should give you a listing of all the third-party applications that are available on AppSource for you to download. You can download many of them as a trial version, and win a trial version in the system and test them out before you actually launch them in your system or pay for them. So it’s a great opportunity to see what’s out there, test what’s out there, and possibly use it going forward.

So how is Business Central licensed?

First thing, Business Central has two versions of the software. You license either Business Central Essentials, or Business Central Premium, but not both. There are two kinds of licenses, full users, which are power users that require full functionality throughout the system. And team users, which are great for extending the system functionality throughout your organization. Team Users can use all kinds…they can do all kinds of light tasks, such as approve or reject workflows. They could run reports or view records. They can enter timesheets. Many kinds of light tasks that you want your employees to be able to access the system for, but don’t require a Full User.

So how do you know if you need Business Central Essentials or Premium?

It really depends on the functionality you need. Essentials includes all the modules that most businesses need. So finance, basic supply chain like inventory, sales orders, project management, full reporting. And the premium version includes everything that’s in Essentials, plus modules for service orders and advanced manufacturing. So as your account manager, we’ll work with you and try to determine your needs to see which versions best meet your needs in Business Central. That’s part of the initial analysis of the system. And if you’re thinking of moving from GP to Business Central, it’s one of the first things you’re gonna look at.

In regards to price, as a GP customer, Microsoft is extending a 40% discount to you on the monthly subscription pricing of Business Central. That means that in Canada, full users, Essential users are only $53 a month, instead of the regular $89 per month. And team’s users are only $6 a month instead of $10. U.S. prices for the same thing are $42 U.S. currency versus the $70 regular price for Essential full user licenses. This 40% discount, it’s good to know, this 40% discount is a really great deal. It’s perpetual. So it allows you to keep this pricing for as long as you’re a customer with Encore. So this isn’t really going away. That’s a 40% discount that will continue forever.

And then finally, what exactly do you get when you subscribe to Business Central?

Pretty much everything. You get the software. You get the hosting. You get the storage, etc. In addition to the production environment, which you get, of course, for your company, your production database, you also get three sandboxes at no additional charge. You also get, standard out of the box, you get 80 gigabytes of storage capacity, which is almost always plenty for our clients. And you get access to AppSource, of course. And these are all the costs you should consider when you’re comparing an on-premise deployment to the cloud. You know, everybody needs to have sandbox environments. You need to have multiple servers. The cost of those servers and the cost of the software that runs those servers are all things you need to take into consideration when you’re considering moving to the cloud.

And on that note, I’m gonna send you back to Nicole to talk a little bit more about why our clients are transitioning to Business Central. Nicole?

Nicole: Thanks, Jim. Yeah, so we’re gonna talk a bit about why, you know, clients are making that decision to transition, and some of the kind of ongoing benefits. So, being on a cloud-based solution means that all your upgrades and updates are done automatically, as Jim mentioned previously. So the awesome thing about this is that you’re always on the newest and greatest version available. So it really gives you peace of mind, knowing that your sensitive business data is stored in highly secure state of the art data centers, owned and managed by Microsoft. And then, of course, your data will always be there when you need it, thanks to a 99.9% uptime service level agreement. So again, you never have to upgrade your ERP again, you never have to patch your ERP. You’ll never have to purchase new infrastructure. You’ll never have to manage that infrastructure. You’ll never need to do any of that. So everything is all done for you automatically.

I would definitely say, in speaking to clients, this is probably one of the key reasons that people are definitely making that decision to transition sooner rather than later. Because when you really look at the calculation of how much they’re spending on upgrades and infrastructure, it’s really a no-brainer for them to move right now. Because when you think about, you know, even the time that your IT team spends on these tasks, you know, a month, or even in a year, it’s an incredible amount of time that could definitely be spent elsewhere. Or maybe too, your company maybe doesn’t even have an IT team today. Or maybe you’re currently outsourcing your IT, you know, you’ll save money there, because you won’t need to depend on them to manage all these items for you. So I would say, that’s probably one of the biggest, the biggest reasons people are choosing to transition today. Even your GP upgrade alone, you know, I would say the average price of that is usually about 15,000, depending on the complexity of your system about every 2 to 3 years. And we all know that that adds up quickly, to the time that you guys have to spend out of the system while that upgrade is being done. You know, we’ve all planned them before, we know how that works. And it’s just not the greatest. So, you know, transitioning over to Dynamics 365 Business Central on the cloud, definitely eliminates having to plan for all that.

So we just mentioned a few reasons why people are moving. But you might be wondering kind of, you know, how it all works, what the process looks like. So we’ve already kind of discussed a few of these things of why clients are choosing. But we’re gonna talk a bit now about what that looks like. So usually, it’s gonna begin with a discussion with your account manager. So we’re gonna talk about different things like your business requirements, your data, some of your current business processes, maybe like I mentioned before, you wanna make some changes. You know, and the important thing too, about this step, I would say, is really getting your team involved. When you’re switching systems, I would say one of the biggest things that companies need to consider is definitely user adoption. So you wanna make your team feel like this is something that’s being done kind of with them and not to them. And the easiest way to do that, of course, is to include them in these conversations while this, you know, planning process is going on. So I definitely advise you to do that.

And then what kind of, you know, once we answer our client’s initial questions, usually the next step is actually a demo. Because of course, you’re not going to want, you know, to transition to a system that you haven’t seen. So maybe you’ve seen some pictures like Jim has shown some screenshots of what it looks like. I know Microsoft offers a trial environment to kind of show you, you know, like, click around, just play with it a bit. So you might have seen that. But in the demo, we really show you exactly what Dynamics 365 Business Central looks like. And then after that, we would do an analysis. So I heard Jim reference that as well. We do an analysis and a questionnaire to gather your exact requirements and be able to map everything out that you are using in GP today and how that would work in Dynamics 365 Business Central.

So an important thing to note, because this is another question that we get, I would say, on a fairly regular basis. An important thing to note is that you’re not going to lose any functionality in GP, you will only gain it. So once your requirements are gathered, we build out a statement of work for you. So you can see everything that we’re planning on doing and shifting over. And then we book the project then based, of course, on your availability. So we really try and make this process as seamless and as simple as possible. You know, Encore tries to take care of as much as we can for your company. And then also, Microsoft, as I mentioned before, has developed tools that make this transition, you know, even simpler. And then also just to ensure that every transition is not, of course, a daunting and manual process. You know, we try to get everything covered before we actually get to that point in the project. But that’s basically the gist of kind of how our process works.

So next, we’re gonna talk about some key reasons about why the cloud is a smart choice. So it’s really gonna allow you to see current, again, on the latest technology, while reducing your costs. And of course, free up those resources. It’s also gonna allow you to improve security, privacy, and then reliability as well. So in regards to centralizing your data, so from accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory, and all your customer interactions, it’s gonna give you an accurate end-to-end view of your business. So it’s gonna allow you to spot trends, prevent issues, and deliver great customer experiences. So I know on one of the screenshots that Jim presented before, you saw a dashboard, and that those dashboards are fully customizable. So depending on what you wanna see, you know, when you log in, in the morning, that is fully up to you. We can customize that exactly, you know, to what you wanna see and what’s important to you. Definitely too, in regards to different positions, you know, your accounting person might wanna see different information on their dashboard versus the CEO. So again, really customizable.

And then it’s really, you know, focusing on empowering a mobile workforce. So again, it allows you to gain powerful desktop capabilities needed across Windows, iOS, and Android platforms. So it allows you to utilize a user experience that is consistent and secure across your devices. So no matter where you are, you still have access to that information. So in regards to getting, you know, deeper insights, it really allows you to access model and analyze your data again, across multiple dimensions to perform ad hoc, customized reporting, things like that. You can also use Microsoft Power BI to create compelling dashboards, combine big data, predictive analytics, and IoT to transform all, you know, your information into sources that are more actionable intelligence. Looking at pages and pages of data is not always, you know, the easiest to understand. So getting these visuals, you know, in front of people, it makes it a lot simpler.

And then, you know, in regards to that as well, it’s gonna help you get a complete picture of your business with easy to create reports and dashboards. Again, we’re talking about built-in analytics that are gonna help you proactively inform and guide your employees within your organization. Also, it makes that quote-to-cash fees kind of easier. You’re not gonna have to switch applications and enter the same information in many different spots. So you can set up your customers or vendors, create quotes, process orders, and submit invoices without leaving your inbox. So you can easily export Excel data to create documents directly in Word. I would say, actually, one of my favorite features in our demo that we do for Dynamics 365 Business Central is we actually show you how to place an order. It goes through a phase where you actually receive an order from a customer. And you can actually place that order into Dynamics 365 Business Central without actually even touching Dynamics 365 Business Central. It’s so heavily integrated with Office 365 and specifically Outlook. It’s one chance to enter that information in there, and that’s it. You don’t have to do it, you know, in three different spaces.

So we’re gonna utilize predictive analytics and AI to analyze business data, again, allowing you to make informed decisions for your business. So, examples, you know, predictive inventory and sales forecasting, cash flow forecasting, and even overdue payment predictors. So to ensure like, fast user adoption, you’re getting the same familiar interface as Office tools that you already know, like Word, Excel, Outlook. So this, of course, means, you know, less training time, quicker adoption for employees. It’s something familiar to them. So that’s, again, in regards to user adoption, it’s something they’ve seen before. It’s not completely new.

And then, again, extending Business Central with the Microsoft Power Platform, Jim mentioned, you know, Power Apps, flows, things like that. It’s gonna allow you to get the right fit for your business without, you know, complicating future upgrades. Those upgrades, again, are all done automatically. And, yeah, you won’t need to upgrade code or anything like that. So yeah, your system is always gonna be ready for the future, allowing you to take advantage of the latest technology while reducing ongoing upgrade costs. So again, you can easily connect to the Dynamics 365 applications, including sales, customer service, marketing, and other existing systems.

So basically, to kind of summarize, so Dynamics 365 is the platform, and then Business Central is the app that is added on top of that. So when you are, you know, using depending on the tools that you want available to you, that’s gonna be the app that you purchase, and add on to the platform. So Business Central is gonna give you your accounting tools, your financial tools. Whereas something like Dynamics 365 for Sales, is gonna be more like a CRM system, it’s gonna give you access to your accounts, your opportunities, your leads, things like that. So just to clarify, if there’s any confusion around, you know, where the Dynamics 365 name comes from, that’s kind of how it works. So there’s the platform, and then many apps that you can add on to that.

So next here. So we’re gonna talk a bit about the needs for a unified business management system. So, you know, these are kind of reasons that people are kind of, you know, getting pushed more towards new solutions. The first one is that you’re noticing that your systems are really disconnected, and the information is really siloed. So I would say this is one of the most common problems facing small businesses. So many prospects are gonna describe scenarios of having to copy-paste, or re-key information multiple times. Again, I mentioned, you know, having to access three different systems just to get potentially one order placed. And just, yeah, having to access several different systems in order to complete a task. So definitely, that’s a way of the past. We don’t wanna be doing that anymore. We don’t want our team to be wasting time on that stuff. So yeah, definitely, if you’re seeing that, that tells your company that you’re in the need for a new system, and to kind of change up your processes.

Another reason is that maybe you’re noticing that your reporting is complicated, and it provides, you know, insufficient information. Maybe your reports are very basic, and maybe your organization is often finding that they’re needing to buy additional software, or configure existing systems just to get deeper insights into that information. You know, both of these options are very expensive, they’re not really scalable. And of course, they’re time-consuming. So again, there’s other options there.

And then the last one, you’re noticing that those upgrades are getting expensive, just to be able to maintain and scale your legacy system. So for some, it’s the gradual growth of the business that makes the current software insufficient. More specifically, the lack of integration with things like payroll and inventory systems. And then for others who’ve been using the same software for maybe over 10 years, it’s really become outdated, and really no longer supported. So, again, maintaining these systems and adding functionality for ever-changing business needs. You’ve noticed that it’s starting to get expensive, so you need to kind of…you know, you’re noticing those things, and you’re realizing that there most likely is other options out there.

So next, we’re gonna talk a bit about the cloud a bit more. I believe Jim had this slide up previously. So with a migration to Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud, you’re able to increase the return that you’re getting from your Microsoft investment as well as control your costs and complexity. And then, of course, improve your IT team’s productivity, along with a host, of course, of other benefits. And we really wanna help this…like I said before, we wanna help make this transition as smooth as possible for you. We have the resources and tools available to help you. And we’ll definitely be there, you know, for you through this entire process from beginning to end.

And migrating to Business Central or Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud really gives you the full functionality of Microsoft’s services, really enabling your company’s digital transformation journey. So, Dynamics 365 Business Central can help you, you know, grow beyond the limits of your basic accounting software. Dynamics 365 Business Central, is really an all-in-one business management solution, that’s really easy to use, adapt, and really allows you to help connect your business and just make smarter decisions. So with this all-in-one business management solution, again, we’re meeting the needs of growing businesses by automatically pulling systems and processes together, to be able to manage your financial service, sales, operations, things like that. And then also just connect, you know, being able to connect with those third-party applications. Maybe you have something related to payroll or banking. And then, of course, manage access to confidential data, while keeping your information secure for you. And then, of course, customizing, extending, and then building out the apps that you need.

So, you know, with such a large system, we hear questions from people saying, you know, “I feel like it’s a really large system. What should we be using?” And really, the possibilities are endless if you want to use a basic accounting solution, that’s great. If you wanna use, you know, inventory, and explore other options within the system, you can do that as well. The pricing is just based on your user count, per user per month. So, again, the possibilities are endless, and that is totally up to your business, and how you want to handle that.

And then, in closing, so I just wanna revisit the roadmap again, just to emphasize Microsoft’s commitment in making significant investments, again, in cloud technology. You know, to help their customers maintain their leadership, of course, in the era of a digital…you know, we’re really seeing a digital transformation. Microsoft’s roadmap has several promising features that are gonna allow you, you know, to connect your business, drive your productivity, make smarter business decisions, while taking advantage of, you know, really using analytics, and AI. And then, of course, you know, starting and growing easily with your business needs, and then just always being able to be ahead with Microsoft’s technology stack. So they’re really just, you know, showing their clients and their users already how all these solutions speak to each other and how they are integrated. And it makes it a lot more of a smoother and seamless process, just for your day-to-day tasks.

Then next, we’re gonna talk just a bit about, you know, how we’re here to support you. So, you know, maybe you’ve made a decision that Dynamics 365 Business Central is going to be a good option for you. So yeah, there are some options available to kind of get you guys started. So there is a link to a free trial, as I think I mentioned before, for Dynamics 365 Business Central. So I believe it’s a 30-day trial, again, that just allows you to go in there and click around, you know, see what you think of it. There is monthly information packages that you can sign up like through Encore, we’ll keep you informed. Of course, you know, being a partner we’re the first to get a majority of this information and we share that as soon as we possibly can with our clients. So if you’re not signed up for our newsletter, if you haven’t visited our blog before, please do that. Also, we have on our website, of course, you guys are joining the webinar right now, we have tons of other webinars, you know, talking about tons of different topics.

Of course, you guys are attending webinars right now for Dynamics 365 Business Central, but there’s different ones all the time. So just because you attended this one does not mean that you won’t find other valuable information in future webinars. So feel free to check back. And then, of course, you know, as me and Jim are account managers, feel free to connect with us or your personal account manager. We’re always happy to answer your questions, jump on a quick call, you know, set up demos, things like that. We’re happy to walk you through that. And then yeah, we are happy to also review your Annual Enhancement Plan with you in relation to the Dynamics 365 Business Central licensing. As I mentioned previously, there’s some people who have actually seen that they’re actually saving money from transitioning in regards to their annual costs for that. So again, if there’s any questions in regards to that, and you want us to kind of, you know, show you what that looks like, we’re happy to do so.

And then, in regards to what to kind of expect from Encore, and kind of, you know, what this looks like, again, we’re here willing to fully support you. We have an awesome team of account managers, and subject matter experts, and just, you know, a team of awesome people that are really willing to provide ongoing support and to make your project a success. You know, we do our homework in preparing your estimates and project plans, while of course, keeping your budget and timelines in mind. And then our resources are definitely second to none in doing what they do, especially with our knowledge in regards to Dynamics 365 Business Central, as well as GP. So we do all this, again, while reducing the level of disruption to your business as much as possible. We wanna make this quick and seamless for your team. And now, I can basically speak forever on this subject. However, I always say that the proof is in the pudding. So I really wanna share a couple of client testimonials with you so that you can see really how Dynamics 365 Business Central has really changed these companies for the better.

So the first one here is from Leif at Farnam Street Financial. And yeah, he just talks about how Business Central has given them a lot more visibility into their data. It was a huge factor in their move. And in the past, they were really at the mercy of two individuals who really carried that expertise. So, again, if something went wrong, or they, you know, maybe quit or left the organization, they definitely realized that there was a gap there, and they would have been in trouble. So now they really have…you know, they’ve created this internal marketplace of experts that are now able to handle those challenges.

And then Tina, Weeks Roses, you know, is talking about how everything was in one system, as I had mentioned, that’s really our goal. She had accounting, inventory, shipping, sales orders. And she just explains that she just really liked the look and feel of Business Central and just getting around it was very simple. So they can see things better, they have a more clear vision of what’s in there. Again, numbers, dollar-wise, everything, they could see all that. So she regards Dynamics 365 Business Central as a complete asset for the company. And then, yeah, they’ve been using it for six months, and it’s already their lifeline, so.

And I believe there’s one more, just talking about a quote about cloud-based solutions. It’s just the obvious choice in our global decentralized business environment. So this one’s from Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products. Their support staff are located all over the world, and just being cloud-based means that they can select and utilize the best consultants regardless of their location. So again, you know, with the obvious pandemic that we’re going through, we’re really seeing a strong need for this, in this day and age. And so I think, you know, we’ve had these conversations before this pandemic hit. And I think, you know, now that we’re in the middle of something like this, we’re all really realizing how necessary it actually is. And so I really think, you know, regardless of what if you’re in a pandemic, or your company’s going through those things, you know, the solution has many benefits past that. So it’s definitely recommended, from us.

And I believe that’s it for us for today. So I’ll pass it back to Tess.

Tess: Awesome. Thank you, Jim and Nicole. That was great. So if anyone has any questions, please enter them into the questions area in the control panel. We have had a few come in. So I will start with those while we wait for a few more to come in.

Are there Azure data centers located in Canada?

Jim: I can take that, Tess. So there are. So when you subscribe to Business Central, you can actually specify that you want the data center located in Canada. I think Microsoft’s primary Canadian data center is in Quebec, but it’s definitely something that you can specify. And it’s the same prices no matter where you…it’s the same price if you could specify in Canada, so yes.

Tess: Awesome. How long is the 40% discount offer good for?

Jim: It’s perpetual. So that 40% discount will last as long as you own the software, and technically, are a client with Encore Business Solutions. So as long as you’re a partner with us that discount will never expire.

Tess: Sounds good. Thank you. Can Encore help recommend the best add-ons or apps that will suit our needs in Business Central? It seems like there are a lot on there and can Encore help with that?

Nicole: Definitely. We definitely have a list of, you know, our top favorites that our clients recommend. The ones that we kind of, you know, have at the top of our list are ones that us as account managers, we know that our clients have had success with them. And then, of course, there’s different add-ons based at different price points and different capabilities. So we’re, you know, definitely open to having a conversation and helping you kind of determine what your needs are and what the best add-on or app would be for your company.

Tess: Sounds good. Thank you. If Dynamics 365 is a platform and Business Central is an app, what is there a separate cost to have Dynamics 365 and the Business Central, is the user license costs mentioned?

Nicole: Can you just repeat that one for me, Tess?

Tess: Yeah. If the Dynamics 365 is the platform and Business Central is an app, is there a separate cost to have Dynamics 365 and the Business Central? Is the user license costs mentioned? So are they separate prices or together?

Nicole: Yeah, so they’re separate prices. I think if I’m understanding the question correctly, so yeah. So it’s built on the Dynamics 365 platform. And depending on the app that you choose, that’s gonna be where the pricing is based off of. So like there’s different pricing for something like Dynamics 365 for sales, or for customer service versus Dynamics 365 Business Central or another accounting app, which you may have heard is finance and operations. So depending on which app you’re choosing, the licensing pricing is going to be based off of that. I hope I answered that correctly. If I didn’t feel… Jim was there anything to add?

Jim: I think you did a good job, Nicole. You know, what’s really important is that Microsoft, you know, they’re in their naming conventions. Dynamics 365 is really a family of cloud products. So it is the platform, it is the family of cloud products. And Microsoft is marketing that way as Dynamics 365, which to be clear, is distinct from Office 365. So Dynamics 365 family is a series of cloud applications and Business Central is one of the products under that inside that family. But the other products that are there as well, like Nicole mentioned, like finance and operations, or sales or customer service, are separate licensing altogether. So Business Central has separate pricing from those other applications, but they’re all related. And being the fact that they are related products, and there is some interoperability between them, but the licensing is different between all of those. And we can help you decide, you know, what functionality is required by you, and figure out what the pricing looks like for you for any of those instances if you need multiple products.

Tess: Awesome. Thank you, Jim and Nicole. The next question is, how can we keep the integration of the company, integrations through Integration Manager, Management Reporter?

Nicole: With Dynamics 365 Business Central, there’s a new reporting tool. So Management Reporter is obviously the one that’s used in GP, but there’s actually a built-in reporting tool with Dynamics 365 Business Central. And then, what was the other thing that they were asking?

Tess: Integration Manager, and just keeping the integration of the company.

Nicole: So it just depends on what exactly they’re integrating. So, Jim mentioned that, and I mentioned as well, that when we kind of map out your transition, one of the key things that we look at is if there is any integrations, you know, what exactly they’re integrating to. There is opportunity that we may even be able to eliminate some of those third-party products, and you may be able to track whatever you’re tracking in that third-party product in Business Central itself. There’s definitely ways to integrate into Business Central if it is required, and if the tools, you know, that they’re currently integrating are still required with working along with Business Central.

Jim: And to be clear, that integration manager is not a module inside Business Central. I was talking to our development team the other day about Business Central in the cloud, and overwhelmingly they said that, you know, integrating into Business Central in the cloud is much easier than integrating into an on-premise product like Dynamics GP. So there isn’t a tool that is required. There isn’t a tool built into Business Central for integrations, but you’ll actually find that there are imports into Business Central direct from Excel, for example. So a lot of clients are using integration tools just to bring information from Excel into GP. Well, that’s really not necessary in Business Central, because there’s already built-in functionality between Excel and Business Central that allows you just to import any transactions direct from Excel. But if you’re integrating to third-party systems, we would have to rebuild that integration, but we would use a different tool than the integration manager to do that.

Tess: Perfect, thank you. The next question is, I read payroll is not inherently part of the Business Central suite. How do we go about it?

Jim: Great question. Because you’re right, payroll, if you’re using GP’s payroll modules, whether U.S. payroll or Canadian payroll, you’re not going to have a sister product in Business Central to bring that over directly to. However, there are lots of third-party apps, already payroll solutions that are associated with Business Central that we can have direct integrations into Business Central that we would convert you over to. So there’s solutions available for your payroll requirements. And one of the nice things about that is those solutions are mostly online solutions. And because they’re online solutions means you don’t have to do the GP table upgrades for tax table upgrades at the end of the year, every year. So those are automatically managed by the provider. And so there’s no downtime, and there’s no scheduling required to do that. So we’re actually finding that our clients are moving from GP’s payroll modules into Business Central. And are working on… One of the options is called Primo Payday. It’s a great payroll solution that is online, works in both Canada and the U.S. Or NaviPayroll is another one that is a Canadian based option. And when you move to those systems, you don’t have to worry about those tax table updates every year.

Tess: Perfect. Thank you, Jim. So we just have a few minutes left, and there haven’t been any other questions. So I’m gonna ask Jim if you can move on to the next slide. I just wanted to highlight some of our upcoming webinars that we have scheduled over the next few months. There’s one about Tips and Tricks in Business Central, and how to process common Dynamics GP Processes in Business Central. So I’m gonna put the link to our events page into the chat area, and you can check out the webinars there as well as…that’s where we’ll post upcoming webinars that aren’t on this slide.

And if you could go to the next slide, Jim. I’m just gonna put other links into the chat area. So one is about receiving emails from Encore. If you’d like to receive our newsletters, or product and service emails, or about our upcoming events or training, you can sign up for emails through that link. And I’ve also added a link for Encore Care Unlimited, which is our support plan. The link I’ve added explains the different features in the support plan. And of course, you can always contact us if you have any questions about anything that was discussed today or about those links.

So thank you, Nicole and Jim, for the information. And thank you everyone for joining us today. Hope you have a great rest of your day.

Are You Receiving Our Newsletters?

Subscribe to receive our monthly newsletters with the latest updates all in one place! Get important product information, event recaps, blog articles, and more.


Monthly Newsletter Straight to Your Inbox