What Is Microsoft Dynamics 365?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 ranks as one of the best ERP systems because it is a comprehensive platform that meets all the requirements for business management. It boasts a range of applications to help manage essential operations, including sales, marketing, customer service, finance, supply chain and human resources.
While Microsoft’s ERP has a diverse range of applications, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central was specifically designed to meet the unique needs of small and medium-sized businesses. Not surprisingly, it is both affordable and scalable, so it can support growing businesses that scale rapidly.
One of its best attributes is that it can be deployed on the cloud or as an on-premises solution. It comes with a mobile app that allows professionals on the go to manage their time, update notes and create tasks. Plus, it has accounting and analytics features that allow users to manage their projects and get a detailed overview of their sales and project profitability. Also, it can seamlessly connect with Microsoft products.
New users will be pleased to learn it offers free trials for its paid plan. While it has a diverse range of functionalities, there are quite a few drawbacks to this platform, as we’ll discuss below.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive solution but some drawbacks exist. One disadvantage is that it does not offer a free plan, so you have to decide whether to purchase it after the free trial.
At the core of this solution is a system that can link data, employees and processes across your organization into a single hub. Still, it lacked CRM features, a downside for sales and marketing teams that need to get leads across the sales funnel and manage customer interactions.
The solution has third-party integrations with popular applications for analytics, commerce, finance and HR. However, its software integrations are only available as an add-on, which is subpar compared to other competitors that have native integrations.
Cloud-Based or On-Premises Deployment
Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be deployed both in the cloud or on-premises. As a cloud-based solution, it can consolidate all data and support business growth without large investments on IT infrastructure. There’s no need to manage hardware and software maintenance tasks such as backups and patches—because Microsoft can do it for you. Since all data is in a centralized hub, remote or on-site employees across various departments and offices can easily access information for more efficient collaboration.
By contrast, this ERP can be hosted on-premises. Businesses that prefer this in-house option can run the ERP on their servers or in a private cloud environment. A key advantage is that you have full control of your data and you can perform updates based on your schedule. However, this means you’ll have to oversee hardware, maintenance and perform backups on your own.
Financial Management and Accounting
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has core business features for managing financial processes such as accounts payable and receivable, bank reconciliation, general ledger, fixed assets and cash flow management. Maximize sales by collecting product reviews, collecting payments across multiple currencies and setting up subscriptions for customer segments. You can also uncover little-known financial insights by aggregating data from accounting, sales and inventory.
Reporting and Analytics
Business Central provides data-driven insights to help managers and executives make informed decisions. Built-in real-time dashboards and KPIs feature budgeting, forecasting and resource allocation information. You can also generate financial reports and custom analytics. If you want to share this information, Power BI lets you create data visualizations that can be shared with your team.
Inclusions and Extras
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a mobile app—available for both iOS and Android devices—that allows you to manage all aspects of your business from anywhere. Here, you can manage business data and update sales records. Also, it offers seamless integration with Microsoft products and services, such as Power Apps and Power BI.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365, you can access AppSource to find potential integrations from Microsoft and select partners. For one, it is equipped with pre-built Microsoft applications such as Microsoft 365, Power BI and Power Platform. This means Microsoft users can integrate the solution into their current workflow and take advantage of other Microsoft tools.
Besides Microsoft applications, there are a variety of apps to choose from its partners, ranging from analytics, human resources, project management, productivity and finance. For instance, you can find integrations with popular tools including Calendly and HubSpot Sales, among others.
Pricing and Plans
Microsoft Dynamic 365 Business Central has two main plans—Essentials and Premium. Both options offer support for an unlimited number of users, an unlimited number of companies and customizations. Other features of these plans are as follows.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Team Members
Microsoft Dynamics 365 also has a Business Central Team Members plan priced from $8 per user per month. Interested customers must contact the company’s sales representatives to learn information about available features. Chances are, you’ll have to opt for a higher-paid plan based on your business’s needs.
Ease of Use
One of the advantages of Business Central is that it has a familiar Microsoft interface, which makes it easy to learn for Microsoft users. Additionally, the system is highly customizable, so businesses can customize it to meet their specific needs and workflows.
While it is user-friendly and intuitive, ease of use can vary based on user experience with similar software. If a business has complex processes and requirements, it will take more time and effort to set up the system and become proficient.
On the bright side, Microsoft offers a range of resources to help users get started with Business Central, including online training courses, video tutorials and a community forum where users can ask and answer questions.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a range of security features to help protect customer data and maintain the privacy of sensitive information. Role-based security lets administrators control access to information and functionalities based on user roles and responsibilities. All Dynamics 365 products are equipped with industry-standard encryption and multifactor authentication.
Dynamics 365 has achieved industry-standard compliance certifications, such as SOC 1, SOC 2 and ISO 27001, which means it has industry-standard security and privacy controls. In case of data loss, it can provide automatic data backup and recovery.
Customer Service and Support
Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers omnichannel support through digital messaging, a voice channel or chat. Businesses that need extra help can pay an additional fee of $9 per user per month for easy access to experts and faster response times. Plus, it has a unified enterprise plan for corporations that rely on Microsoft technologies.
Sales and Service Management
Business Central includes tools to manage sales and service operations, including customer management, sales orders and service orders.
Managing tasks and timelines are much easier thanks to Microsoft Dynamic 365’s project management capabilities. The platform allows you to manage contracts with forecasting, estimation and project quotes.
With project planning features, you can create project plans, define tasks and timelines, and assign resources. Assign tasks to the ideal employee based on their schedule and skills. And don’t worry about overspending; you can easily track expenses associated with your projects and monitor your budget.
Warehouse and Supply Chain Management
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has everything you need to manage your supply chain. It provides a complete overview of your supply chain’s visibility across time zones and geographies. For improved efficiency, users can perform predictive maintenance, get insights on the shop floor and equipment operations, and synchronize logistics.
Maximizing productivity seems impossible when your task list is cluttered with repetitive tasks that waste time and money. Fortunately, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 lets you automate workflows and processes. Sales force automation lets users monitor leads, manage pipelines, organize appointments—and streamline all sales processes. It’s also easy and fast to create AI, audit trails and workflows, leading to improved performance and productivity.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Alternatives and How They Compare
Microsoft Dynamics 365 compares favorably with other ERP systems. It offers cloud and on-premises deployment, warehouse management capabilities and a fully functional mobile app. Its software integrations are only available as an add-on, which is a downside when compared to its competitors.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Oracle NetSuite OneWorld
Oracle NetSuite OneWorld is a leading ERP system used by more than 33,000 customers. Similar to Microsoft Dynamics 365, its popularity is thanks to its suite of tools for accounting, warehouse management, supply chain management and reporting.
While Oracle’s ERP is one of the top-rated ERP systems, it does not offer on-premises deployment. Dynamics 365 is known for its strong integration with other Microsoft products and familiar interface. By contrast, NetSuite OneWorld is known for its ability to accommodate international business needs, including support for multiple currencies and languages.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. SAP Business One Professional
Dynamics 365 and SAP Business One Professional offer a broad range of features, including financial management, supply chain management and HR functionalities. It also boasts of cloud and on-premises deployment.
Dynamics 365 is equipped with a modern and intuitive user interface that is consistent with the look and feel of most Microsoft products. However, SAP Business One Professional has a slightly more traditional and complex user interface.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Acumatica
Acumatica is an ERP system known for its customizable workflows, automation and flexibility. Along with Oracle NetSuite OneWorld, Acumatica is limited to cloud-based deployment, which is a downside for large organizations that prefer to keep databases in-house. As part of its general features, Acumatica offers a comprehensive set of features for payroll, CRM, reporting, financial management and inventory.
Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Right for You or Your Business?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a leading ERP solution for businesses of all sizes. Ideally, it’s best suited for companies that use Microsoft products or cloud applications, especially Power Apps and Power BI. Not only can it offer a unified view of financials and operations, but it can also optimize repetitive tasks and improve business efficiency.