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    September 23, 2021

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central vs. Finance and Supply Chain Management: Getting Your Business in the Right ERP League

    Midsized businesses have two options for ERP solutions from Microsoft: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC) and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management (F&SC, formerly known as Finance and Operations or F&O).  

    Generally, F&SC is best suited to larger enterprises, like public and international companies, and BC is best suited to smaller organizations.  

    Choosing the right ERP involves more factors than company size. But it’s not as challenging as it may seem. The truth is, there isn’t much of a gray area between these solutions. A provider that understands the complexities of your industry and business needs can often make a determination based on a few criteria. 

    “It’s really like Lamborghini versus Ford,” Perry Prescott, Pre-Sales Consultant, says. “F&SC is much more expensive; it does more, there are so many features. Much is included in the core that is not in Business Central. Business Central is like a less expensive vehicle you have to bolt a bunch of stuff onto to make it as cool as the Lamborghini.” 

    2 Different Microsoft ERPs, 2 Different Leagues  

    As a business leader, it might not be immediately clear which ERP solution is the best fit. But D365 Business Central and F&SC are in different categories regarding their functionality, complexity, timing and pricing.   

    “They’re in a different league basically,” Dennis Chiu, Sales Solutions Leader, says. “If you’re looking at both products, one of the products is not for you.” 

    • F&SC is much more expensive. Both ERPs are subscription-based, but F&SC has a higher price point per user – typically more than double that of Business Central.  
    • The implementation of F&SC will often take longer, be more complex and cost more in comparison to BC.  
    • F&SC has a greater depth of functionality than Business Central– and then some. F&SC has modules for production control, advanced warehousing, barcode emulator systems and more, all integrated into the core with deeper functionality than Business Central. “The depth of functionality is definitely a lot more in F&SC,” Chiu says. “If you look at a $200 dishwasher versus a $1,000 dishwasher, you know there’s a lot more buttons you can push with the $1,000 dishwasher.” That said, there are options to ramp up Business Central’s functionality to meet your needs.  
    • Greater functionality also makes F&SC more complex to configure, set up and use. A process that takes a few steps to configure in Business Central might take two to three times as many in F&SC. And something that would take one click in BC may take five clicks to do in F&SC. 

    Factors that Determine Which ERP League You’re In  

    The right ERP solution for your business will depend on: 

    • Business Complexity: More complex organizations might need the depth of functionality F&SC provides. However, Business Central can be configured to meet some complex demands. Greater complexity will likely mean more time for implementation. 
    • Number of Users: User count is important in determining which solution you need. If you have 250-300 users and a high transaction volume, F&SC is the more likely choice. F&SC also has a minimum user requirement of 20 versus one user for Business Central. 
    • Timeline for Implementation: These solutions demand drastically different implementation schedules. You can often implement Business Central in a handful of months. For F&SC, implementation could take more than a year or even several years. You may opt to implement Business Central now, even if you plan to migrate to F&SC several years down the road to start using the functionality BC can provide right away. 
    • Goals for Growth: “You definitely have to plan all of this around growth,” Prescott says. “It's going to take time to stand it up; then it's going to take time for people to adopt it and get used to it. Maybe BC's perfect for you now, but you're adding all this other complexity. We can support that by adding on additional software products, or you can consider purchasing the bigger package, but it is scalable for the next 10 years.”  

    You might be wondering: “What about revenue as a factor?” According to Chiu, revenue can be misleading and isn’t a reliable indicator.  

    “I would be careful not to use revenue as a key indicator,” he says. “Revenue could be quite misleading depending on the dollar value of what you sell. You could be selling low transaction volume of a high-dollar value item.” 

    Why Join a Cloud-Based ERP League in the First Place? 

    Companies adopt Cloud ERPs mainly because they’ve outgrown their current systems or are about to outgrow them. Their current solution and provider may not offer the level of functionality and support they need to achieve their goals, perform at peak levels and compete. Worst case, they experienced a failed implementation, or their legacy software is about to sunset. 

    Whatever their reason for stepping toward Cloud-based business solutions, many businesses are on the verge of leaping miles ahead in their capabilities and realizing tremendous benefits. 

    “If you're coming out of legacy software into one of these new environments and systems, everything is radically improved,” Prescott says. “The technology has changed, the strategies have changed, the way data is access has changed, reporting; everything is different. The only thing I can equate it to is an old car versus a new car. There's just much more technology and strategy employed now than there was 50 years ago.”  

    Three of the most significant benefits for businesses are data visibility, remote enablement and cost savings. 

    • Data Visibility: “Power BI dashboards, reports, there's so much at your fingertips that you never had before,” Prescott says. “And the ability to model the data in these systems is much less complex than it used to be. By staying on old systems, one, every year it gets older and closer to sunset. And two, you miss out on big data visibility and the synergy of all these modules working together in one environment.” 
    • Remote Enablement: “A lot of older ERP solutions just are not capable of remote connection with high performance,” says Chiu. “With something like Business Central online or F&SC in the Cloud, you don’t have to worry about having a building. People can work anywhere, anytime they want. I think people that delayed their decision in the last few years probably see the impact.” 
    • Cost Savings: There are financial savings to moving from a costly on-premises infrastructure to a Cloud-based solution. However, beyond that, with your solution hosted in Microsoft Azure, you get the benefit of built-in business continuity and disaster recovery, solutions that are expensive to manage on your own. 

    Which ERP League is Your Business In? 

    Are you unsure where you fit in terms of Business Central versus F&SC? When you work with a provider like Enavate, we always right-size the solution to fit the organization. And between these two options, the choice is often quite apparent. 

    “Usually very quickly you understand what their business is, what their legal entity structures look like, how much revenue,” Prescott says. “It does help you start to hone in on what product might fit them best, but really it’s about functionality more than anything.”  

    Take advantage of our free assessment tool to determine which solution to consider, whether you need a full re-implementation, and how to streamline the process. Or contact one of our experts today to learn more. 

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