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Comparison: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central vs Finance and Operations

Friday, June 18, 2021

Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s family of business applications offering maximum flexibility and scalability. With over 120,000 successful Microsoft ERP implementations worldwide, the Dynamics 365 family includes two powerful solutions: Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. There’s often confusion between these solutions so, how do you decide which one is right for your international organization?

Let’s start by looking at these solutions and their main benefits. Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly NAV and also known as ‘D365BC’ or just ‘BC’) and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (formerly AX, Finance & Operations and also known as ‘D365FO’ or just ‘FO’) are comprehensive end-to-end ERP solutions offering similar base functionality. They’re both available on-premises and in the cloud. They both offer seamless integrations, SaaS subscription licensing, connected insights across the entire solution, and a broad range of add-on applications. But there are key differences to be aware of before you select an ERP solution that’s right for your international organization.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Ideal for established international SMBs (Small Medium Businesses), Dynamics 365 Business Central lets you start small and scale up with additional functionality as your needs grow. It can accurately process thousands of daily transactions and unify your business across finance, operations, supply chain, and project management divisions. The full Dynamics 365 purchase plan includes Dynamics 365 Sales and built-in CRM capability. Designed to connect data across business functionalities, Dynamics 365 Business Central optimizes sales cycles with prioritized sales leads based on revenue potential.

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations 

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is ideal for multi-national organizations, especially those with international operations, multi-currency operations, or complex manufacturing needs. This complete enterprise solution uses PowerApps and Flow to help optimize productivity and enable simple integration with other Microsoft apps. With access to real-time information and intuitive dashboards, it allows for better customer service and more data-driven sales.

Your unique requirements

Despite their differences, both systems can be successfully implemented in various situations. Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations has been implemented at SMBs, and Dynamics 365 Business Central has been implemented in larger organizations. So, the size of your organization and the number of users shouldn’t be the only thing that impacts your decision. Instead, you should focus on your budget and identify your specific business requirements. And, you need to look towards the future by asking yourself questions such as are new acquisitions coming, will you soon increase personnel numbers, implement new processes, or expand into new regions? The answers to these questions will influence your decision.

Depending on your budget

There’s a difference between the cost of Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and the most expensive cost incurs services and internal resources. Saying that there are some key differences to consider.

  • Licensing: Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations offers a cost-efficient middle license option allowing users to perform operational tasks such as receiving and picking products. On the other hand, Dynamics 365 Business Central doesn’t offer this type of license option and customers who want to implement Dynamics 365 Business Central and any of the D365 CRM applications must license each solution individually.
  • Localizations: Both ERP solutions are globally available with localization packages for specific countries. Read more about which localizations are available for Dynamics 365 Business Central localizations and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations localizations.
  • International Trading: If your organization only trades in one country with some international sales and purchases, Dynamics 365 Business Central is probably the best option. On the other hand, Dynamics 365 Finance offers efficient and adaptable manufacturing automation capabilities. So, if you’re an international trading organization with intercompany trading, stock transfers, and consolidation you most likely need D356FO. This is also the best option if you need wireless warehousing—often a critical requirement for manufacturing organizations. Dynamics 365 Finance offers an advanced warehousing management module whereas Dynamics 365 Business Central customers need to develop custom integration or investigate the availability of 3rd party add-ons for this functionality.
  • Implementation costs: Dynamics 365 Business Central generally incurs 30% of the cost of the implementation in comparison to Dynamics 365 Finance. For example, if the estimate for implementing Dynamics 365 Business Central is 250 man-days for a Microsoft Partner resource, then as a rule of thumb, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations will be roughly 750 man-days. With regards to internal resources, there are generally 3-5 times more resources needed to ensure successful implementation. If your solution needs 250 days from a Microsoft Partner, then you also need 750 man-days from internal resources.

With this in mind, your short-term budget and resource availability should be key considerations when choosing a solution.

You might want to read this too: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations: Now split into 2 separate, standalone applications

Choosing a global ERP solution that meets your needs

Choosing technology is tough. Whether you are an established global business or a small or medium business with plans to expand into multiple countries, you need a global ERP solution that supports your business as it is today and as it grows, evolves or changes to accommodate future market demands.

You not only need to determine the right solution, but you also need to find the right partner to ensure your solution aligns with your unique requirements.

At Pipol, we can help you with the Dynamics 365 ERP product selection. We understand that each organization is unique and with our expert guidance, local resources, implementations based on best practices, and tight project management, we have the functional competencies and global presence needed to support you wherever you’re located.

Email us today or call us directly to hear how we can help you select the global Dynamics 365 ERP solution that is the right choice for your organization.

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