A few Encore team members recently attended a conference for Microsoft Partners called Directions in San Diego. We recently met with Tony Hemy, Encore’s Dynamics NAV Practice Lead, to find out about the latest information shared at the event.
The Q&A focuses on the rebrand of Dynamics NAV, solution upgrades, and Intelligent Edge.
Q: What updates can you share about Dynamics NAV?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS offering has been available since April 2018. As of October 2018, Microsoft is rebranding the Dynamics NAV product to be Dynamics 365 Business Central (on-premise). It is important to note that Dynamics NAV hasn’t been discontinued or deprecated, it’s just been renamed; so instead of keeping with the same naming convention of Dynamics NAV and calling it NAV 2019 for example, they released it as Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premise. Also, Microsoft is moving to a bi-annual release schedule so now there will be a spring and fall major release of the product.
Q: With the rebrand, what happens with new releases?
All the new releases will be under the Dynamics 365 Business Central moniker. So, what I mean by that is that up to this point you have been able to do Dynamics 365 Business Central which was the complete SaaS offering on the cloud from Microsoft, and you’ve also been able to do Dynamics NAV. Up until now the On Premise install has been called NAV and the SaaS offering Business Central. Moving forward there will be one common name and product, Business Central, with the option to install yourself (On Premise) or use a SaaS tenant.
Q: What is the difference between the SaaS version and on-premise version?
The code base is the same whether it is the SaaS version or the on-premise version. The difference is for the SaaS offering because Microsoft is doing the installation and configuration on their servers, all they give you is a web client as your access to the application. If you install it on-premise, then you are installing it on your own servers, or Encore can do infrastructure and install it on some Azure servers. But they are exactly the same product. It’s important to know this. We’re hearing competitors in the market saying Dynamics NAV is going away which is absolutely not true.
Q: Is there any difference in functionality between the SaaS version and the on-premise version?
For now, at least you can still use the windows client to access the On Premise version, but in terms of the features and functions within NAV they are the same. Same code base.
Q: Will the rebrand change anything when a customer wants to upgrade?
An upgrade to the newest version will work the same way as it has in the past. The same tool kit will be used to go from an older version of Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premise. A customer can bring all the modifications in Business Central on-premise and operate the same way.
The upgrades are automatic for the SaaS offering but there is a feature where you can decide when you want to be updated, so it will not be forced upon you. It is not automatic on-premise.
Q: Can you expand on what the Intelligent Edge is?
The Intelligent Edge is available today in Dynamics GP 2018 R2 and Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premise. When you enable the Intelligent Edge, you will spin up a SaaS instance of Business Central and it will replicate data to that tenant in the cloud. For Dynamics GP 2018 R2 some of the data is replicated; master data, open and posted transactions, etc. For Business Central on-premise, you can also spin up the Intelligent Edge and its full replication, so it replicates every single table except some of the system tables.
The cloud instance is a read only database. But if you are going from Business Central on-premise and doing an Intelligent Edge to a cloud version of Business Central you can turn those permissions from read-only to full permission and then you can start using Business Central as a SaaS offering instead of continuing to use your Business Central on-premise.
Q: Are there additional reporting features available when using the Intelligent Edge?
When a customer is using Business Central in the cloud through Intelligent Edge, there are a bunch of Power BI reports and dashboards. When you create a Business Central tenant today, it will spin up a Power BI instance at the same time and put in the report pack that Microsoft has created for Business Central. So, if I take Dynamics GP 2018 R2 and push that data up into Business Central SaaS, the Business Central tenant I created spins out Power BI reports. Now the customer has Power BI reports to give them forecasting, cash flow etc. from their Dynamics GP 2018 R2 data. The Intelligent Edge is using some of the intelligence and insights available in the Azure cloud with the Dynamics GP 2018 R2 data.
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