Late in 2016 Microsoft boosted its portfolio of business applications with the North American release of Dynamics 365. This new product group is a range of software apps focussed primarily around CRM and ERP functionality and, in the main, is an Azure Cloud hosted service.
Unfortunately, what is a good news story that offers more choice in the marketplace has led to some confusion around whether these are new complimentary products, or, whether these products are going to replace and take over from the existing Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
Simply Dynamics’ expertise is in Dynamics NAV, a finance and ERP solution, the most similar product in the new range is Dynamics 365 Financials Business Edition (D365 Financials).
Firstly, let’s explore the key similarities and differences between these two products;
- In the next 12 months the functionality offered by D365 Financials will be identical to Dynamics NAV, that is to say, it will contain the same modules and feature sets
- As of now, D365 Financials is not available in the Republic of Ireland. Microsoft are releasing the product gradually into different markets and, although there is no release date for Ireland, we would expect it sometime in the next 12 months
- Traditionally one of the strengths of Dynamics NAV was its extensive customisation capability which was done utilising NAV’s C/AL programming language. This flexibility made NAV the market leader for product adaptability. C/AL is not an option in D365. Instead, Microsoft have launched a new toolset, Extensions. Currently this doesn’t offer the same customisation capability as NAV.
- NAV is offered as a Cloud or an on-premise deployment, the customer has the choice depending on what works best for them. D365 Financials is a Cloud only solution and will not offer an option to install on your own server.
The roadmap for Dynamics NAV: The recently released NAV 2017 is the current version of the software. Microsoft are going to be releasing a new version of NAV every year, each release will offer new functionality along with technical advancements. One of the objectives of the recent technical advancements in NAV was to make it easier to upgrade, hence customers can take advantage of these yearly new versions. The next version’s codename is “Tenerife”, it will be officially called NAV 2018, and will be released towards the end of this year.
To summarise, Dynamics NAV has a bright future. It will have yearly new versions and will continue to offer its traditional flexibility in terms of deployment options and customisations. Dynamics 365 is an exciting new offering for those interested in a Cloud package but here in Ireland we have to be patient and await the release date from Microsoft!