Imagine you’re running a business and need the best tools to help it grow and make more money—that’s what we call maximizing ROI or getting the most bang for your buck.
In the world of business software, there’s this thing called Dynamics 365, which has many different options like Business Central. Each option is like a different tool in a toolbox, and they’re all designed to help different types of businesses.
This blog will explore whether Business Central or another Dynamics 365 solution is the better choice for your business. We’ll examine what makes each option unique and how they can help your business succeed.
Think of it like choosing the right superhero power for your challenges! Let’s dive in and figure out which tool in the Dynamics 365 toolbox is the best for your business needs.
Understanding Dynamics 365 Solutions
Dynamics 365 refers to Microsoft’s suite of cloud-based business applications that help companies manage operations and customer interactions. This modular platform allows you to choose specific solutions tailored to your organization’s needs.
The most popular Dynamics 365 solutions include:
- Finance – Enables financial reporting, accounting, budgeting, and data analysis. Ideal for CFOs and finance teams.
- Supply Chain Management – Streamlines production, inventory, orders, and delivery. Made for supply chain directors and managers.
- Business Central – An end-to-end solution for managing business processes, finances, sales, reporting, etc. Built for small and mid-sized organizations.
- Sales – CRM software to manage the entire sales process and customer relationships. Helpful for sales directors.
- Customer Service – Tools to deliver personalized customer service and support across channels. Used by customer service teams.
- Marketing – Features to orchestrate and analyze multichannel marketing campaigns. Used by marketing professionals.
While there is some functional overlap, each application serves a core business need. Larger enterprises often utilize several Dynamics 365 products that integrate with each other. Small businesses may only require one solution, such as Business Central.
Every Dynamics 365 product features cloud delivery, a unified data model, AI-enabled intelligence, and seamless integration with Microsoft Office and other platforms. This means they keep data synchronized across related apps. For example, inventory updates in Supply Chain Management will reflect in order processing in Business Central.
First, assess your end-to-end processes when determining the right Dynamics 365 product mix. Which teams are involved? What apps do they currently use? This mapped view lets you pinpoint functionality gaps and opportunities to leverage Dynamics 365.
Upgrading legacy systems or moving multiple applications to the cloud can enable greater visibility and productivity. While change management is required, many businesses experience over 20% increases in ROI through optimized Dynamics 365 solutions.
Business Central: An Overview
Dynamics 365 Business Central is an end-to-end business management solution for small and mid-sized organizations. Its comprehensive features cover:
- Financial Management – General ledger, AP/AR, cash flow, fixed assets, budgeting, and consolidated financial reporting.
- Supply Chain & Inventory – Purchasing, vendor management, warehousing, and production management with multi-location support.
- Project & Resource Planning – Project, resource, and capacity planning, including time and expense tracking.
- Sales & Order Processing – Quotes, orders, shipping, invoicing, returns, and subscription billing for direct and online sales.
- Customer Service – Cases, contacts, activity tracking, analytics, automated workflow, and embedded Power BI.
- Human Resources – Employee records, absence tracking, qualifications, training, analysis, and payroll integration.
This unified structure eliminates data silos, ensures consistency across processes, and reduces manual effort through automation. Teams get a 360-degree view of business operations from the same pool of real-time quality data.
The solution features built-in intelligence via machine learning and AI to drive actionable insights. Examples range from cash flow forecasting to optimal delivery routing. This enhances and accelerates decision-making across the organization.
Business Central uses an intuitive, role-tailored interface aligned to everyday tasks. Minimal training is required. Native mobile apps enable employees to access relevant data and approvals on the go. and smoothly handle multilocation inventory, manufacturing, and reporting.
The solution seamlessly integrates with third-party apps like payroll, banking, shipping, POS, ecommerce platforms, and more via APIs. Custom solutions can also be developed on the Power Platform and embedded directly within Business Central. This flexibility allows the software to adapt as companies scale.
Well over 100,000 companies worldwide have implemented Dynamics 365 Business Central to optimize finances, operations, inventory, and sales and deliver five-star customer experiences – all from a unified platform.
Analyzing ROI with Business Central
Implementing a new business management solution is a strategic investment that requires clear ROI justification. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, most organizations experience payback in less than a year through:
By connecting data across departments, Business Central saves time otherwise spent on manual processes like data entry, reporting, and searching across siloed systems. Workflow automation also boosts output. Employees gain back hours each week to focus on critical responsibilities.
For example, a logistics firm saw a 65% decrease in time spent on inventory status checks and purchase orders after switching from QuickBooks to Business Central. This efficiency gain equaled $125,000 in annual productivity savings.
Embedded Power BI dashboards, predictive analytics, and AI within Business Central generate data-driven insights for better decision-making. Catching issues like cash flow dips early and optimizing sales opportunities or inventory routing saves money.
A retailer using machine learning-enhanced forecasting in Business Central reduced inventory write-offs by 30% annually, saving $200,000.
Business Central consolidates systems and their maintenance expenses into a single solution. Server, hardware, and networking costs drop since it’s cloud-based. Generating financial reports, invoices, and other documents is included, so external printing and mailing costs decline.
A professional services organization saved $75,000 yearly after retiring 4 legacy systems by shifting to Business Central.
The software provides extensive sales capabilities that the CRM, marketing, and order-processing teams need. Embedded customer insights help convert more leads to sales and boost repeat business. More efficient fulfillment means higher customer satisfaction.
A distribution company saw 11% year-over-year sales growth after launching Business Central’s ecommerce portal and sales workflow automation features.
The key is mapping how Business Central explicitly aligns with strategic goals before implementation. Where are the cracks in existing systems? What would $50,000 in time savings achieve if reinvested in marketing or tech? Which KPIs indicate growth and cost optimization? Building an ROI framework around priority outcomes is essential.
Comparing Other Dynamics 365 Solutions
While Business Central works for many small and midsized businesses, larger or more complex organizations may benefit from other Dynamics 365 products. Let’s examine critical differences.
Dynamics 365 Finance
Finance offers specialized financial planning, analysis, reporting, and compliance capabilities for enterprises and public sector institutions. Key features include:
- Global financial visibility – Consolidate financial data from multiple countries/currencies into unified reports with currency translations.
- Advanced analytics – Plan budgets, map actuals to plans, model capital investments and borrowing costs through sensitivity analysis and drill-down inquiries.
- Regulatory compliance – Ascend CFR Part 11 and other standards, including checks, controlled user access, audit logs, and validation processes.
The core accounting in Finance is comparable to Business Central but on a larger operational scale. Finance integrates with Supply Chain Management and Project Operations.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain caters to manufacturing and distribution with tools to plan, produce, stock, fulfill, and deliver products globally. Capabilities like:
- Production control – Schedule operations, calculate material needs and manage quality assurance and outputs.
- Master planning – Match supply with demand and optimize inventory levels company-wide.
- Warehouse management – Direct put-away and picking workflows using handheld barcode scanners.
Together with Finance, organizations can attain end-to-end visibility across the plan, source, make, and deliver lifecycle. Supply Chain also enables complex vendor collaboration and logistics scenarios larger than Business Central can handle.
Dynamics 365 Commerce
Commerce fuses ecommerce platform capabilities with back-office connectivity for a unified consumer shopping experience. Features include:
- Content management – Create personalized web pages and promotions using intuitive tooling.
- Order processing – Flexible fulfillment options from ship to store pickup using integrated inventory data.
- Store management – Point-of-sale, associate workflows, shift scheduling, and regional hierarchy management.
So, while Business Central has strong omnichannel sales features, Commerce offers fuller web development, experiential retail, and call center integration functionality.
Evaluating dynamics between your operating scale, locations served, channel strategies, and financial requirements will determine the best Dynamics 365 solution. Business Central hits the sweet spot for most growing small and midmarket organizations. Larger complex enterprises may require one or more Dynamics products integrated together.
Factors Influencing ROI in Dynamics 365 Solutions
Achieving maximum ROI is contingent on how well a Dynamics 365 solution aligns with your organization right now and in the future. Four pivotal factors shape solution fit:
Larger companies with complex structures or high transaction volumes have different needs than early-stage startups. Dynamics 365 is highly scalable, but different limits apply based on user tiers. Storage, compute power, API calls, and customization options vary by plan.
While Business Central can scale to meet the needs of most midsized businesses, large multinationals require advanced capabilities in the Dynamics 365 enterprise suite. Fast-growing startups, however, need the affordability and ease of use that Business Central delivers.
Unique industry-specific capabilities exist across Dynamics 365 solutions tailored for manufacturing, retail, professional services, public sector, and non-profits.
For example, nonprofit capabilities like fund accounting, donor management, and volunteer coordination only come standard in Business Central designed for such organizations. Dynamics 365 Finance offers public sector budgeting, grants management, and encumbrance to government institutions.
Carefully examine industry-specific functionalities against current and future needs to determine solution ROI.
Business Process Gaps
The biggest efficiency and revenue gains come from consolidating multiple disconnected systems into integrated Dynamics 365 products that close operational gaps.
First, map end-to-end processes and tools across finance, inventory, manufacturing, sales, field service, commerce, HR, marketing, and project management. Identify excess manual efforts. Then, quantify how integrated Dynamics 365 solutions can bridge process and data gaps to boost productivity and insights.
As organizations scale, expand to new global locations, or grow through mergers and acquisitions, needs change. The more configurable, customizable, and interconnected modules a Dynamics 365 solution offers, the better it sustains rapid growth.
For example, Business Central delivers core functionality for scaling to new countries or light manufacturing needs. However, sizeable sophisticated enterprise needs may require migrating to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain over time.
In closing, no two businesses share the same pathways or possibilities. Defining your organizational dynamics now and in the future is the foundation for maximizing Dynamics 365 ROI.
Choosing the Right Solution for Your Business
With the foundational knowledge covered, let’s explore the methodology for determining which Dynamics 365 product (or products) best align with your organizational goals and resources.
Know Your Requirements
Gather input from all business units on their pain points, desired capabilities, and workflows. Consider immediate needs and 3-5 year strategic objectives as companies scale up.
Craft an RFP summarizing must-have features, sizing metrics (locations, users, transactions, etc.), and technical elements like integration needs. Define expected use cases and outcomes.
This becomes your functional requirement document against which solutions can be measured.
With an RFP, objectively assess how Dynamics 365 options fulfill the stated criteria. Score on a simple 1-5 scale. Consider both out-of-the-box features and customization flexibility.
If no single product meets all needs, evaluate integrated solutions. For example, Business Central may satisfy core requirements, but Commerce adds necessary ecommerce.
Map Total Cost
Price solutions over a 3-5 year term based on user tiers and add-on costs. Factors include implementation services, training, and migration expenses. Heritage system retirement saves money in the long term.
Measure hard and soft ROI
Look beyond cost savings and revenue gains; productivity, customer satisfaction, risk reduction, and employee engagement also matter. Apply weights to each tier of ROI and score solutions accordingly.
With requirements matched to solutions, build an executive presentation showcasing recommendations. Provide ROI projections both financially and through process transformation maps.
Secure stakeholder alignment on priorities before moving to procurement. Implementation goes smoother when everyone understands how a Dynamics 365 solution advances strategic goals.
Trust Expert Guidance
Undertaking this process relying solely on internal resources is daunting for most organizations. Engaging an experienced implementation partner like Addend Analytics provides advisory services that ensure you get Dynamics 365 ROI maximization right from the start.
Role of Expert Consultation
Implementing business solutions requires balancing operational needs with technical capabilities and user adoption. Expert guidance ensures you get all three dimensions right to maximize Dynamics 365 ROI.
Here is where engaging a firm like Addend Analytics pays dividends:
As a Microsoft Gold Partner with hundreds of Dynamics 365 implementations completed, we provide impartial advice, contrasting solutions equally against stated requirements. Our implementation architects know where hidden complexity exists.
We help construct insightful RFPs and demonstration scripts, too. Our only goal is to land clients on the right solution fit.
Proper scoping, planning, data migration, customization, integration testing, training, and change management are imperative – we oversee it all. Our certified consultants help future-proof investments in Dynamics 365.
We also involve client project teams heavily so knowledge transfer occurs – no black boxes. Our milestone approach guarantees continued alignment with the ROI business case.
Configuration settings tailor functionality and workflows to match your processes with minimal code changes needed. Where unique capabilities are required, our developer bench builds them to operate seamlessly within Dynamics 365 products.
Custom apps improve user productivity rather than hinder it. We won’t over-customize or make you dependent on perpetual enhancements.
Proven Best Practices
Through rich experience across industries, we’ve cultivated databases of scenarios, templates, and repeatable processes to accelerate implementations. Why start from scratch when 90% of needs are standard?
These leading practices also uphold smooth upgrades and migrations down the road.
Our projects instill discipline, documentation, training resources, and support models for persisting success beyond launch. We transfer institutional knowledge to your team’s continuity.
Our relationship doesn’t end at go-live. We offer tailored enterprise agreements for phone/email assistance, monitoring services, usage assessments, adoption improvement plans, and guidance on introducing new capabilities.
Consider us a virtual member of your leadership team, helping shape Dynamics 365 for optimal growth and competitive advantage.
Dynamics 365 delivers various business application solutions that optimize any organization’s productivity, insights, and growth. Determining which product or combination best aligns with your strategic goals and budget ensures maximum ROI.
From small startups to large enterprises, Dynamics 365 scales to meet evolving needs. With the help of experienced partners like Addend Analytics, businesses can navigate the dynamics of finding and implementing the ideal solutions based on industry, size, processes, and trajectory.
We hope this blog has shed light on the capabilities of Business Central compared to other Dynamics 365 options. Please reach out if you have any further questions or want to chart your optimization journey. Our team of experts is here to guide you toward technology investments that pay dividends today and into the future.