14 Dec Reasons to upgrade to Business Central Cloud
We know that the leap to the cloud and, more specifically, to a SaaS (Software as a Service) model of Business Central is a topic that concerns you, so we are here to solve some of the most important questions that this change produces.
- Differences between Business Central on-premise deployment and SaaS version
- Microsoft’s roadmap
- Changes from the users’ point of view
- What does Appsource bring to the table?
- Work from anywhere and on any device
- Microsoft 365 and its ecosystem
- Integration of Business Central with Microsoft Stack
- The future with Power Platform
- More self-sufficiency at user level
Differences between Business Central on-premise deployment and SaaS version
The main difference between an on-premise and SaaS model is that as the SaaS application is hosted in a public Microsoft cloud, there is no need to maintain physical servers in the company’s facilities. In addition, this means that it is not necessary to have a large IT team responsible for the management of these servers since we take care of this task together with Microsoft.
Another big difference is that when you start working in SaaS, the ERP migration projects for your company will be over, since you will always be updated to the latest version of the tool.
On the other hand, due to the new tools we have for communication with Microsoft, as partners we are more agile in the creation and management of user licenses. So, when you need to add a user to the license, we can manage it in a matter of minutes.
Looking back, another point where the Dynamics community has made a substantial leap forward is in the communication of new features, as we saw at the Directions EMEA 2021 event.
For previous versions, Microsoft kept secret which functional innovations were incorporated and presented publicly at large events. This approach has changed and, thanks to an eagerness to be fully transparent with partners and customers users of the software, Microsoft recurrently updates a public roadmap of the application that can be consulted here (Product Roadmap | Microsoft Dynamics 365).
In the link above you can consult at any time what are the planned features and when they are scheduled to be available in Business Central environments.
Undoubtedly a very important change that should be taken into account before any development, because maybe we can wait for the release and get that functionality in a standard way.
To feed this roadmap, Microsoft has an ideas page (Categories (dynamics.com)) where both customers and partners can add functionality that we would like to see in the application and Microsoft selects among the most voted or innovative ideas and incorporates it into its roadmap. We encourage you to use this portal!
Changes from the users’ point of view
In terms of assistance and support, Business Central incorporates online product documentation at various points in the application, for example, available through the search engine. This makes it easier and quicker to access this information when in doubt. What remains unchanged, however, is the assistance and support provided by the partner so that users can work as comfortably as possible.
From the point of view of differences between environments: what can be done in Business Central SaaS that cannot be achieved in a local on-premise environment?
Let’s look at a concrete example. A customer who has a large number of companies in their database and wants an easier way to create documents and who also uses Salesforce as a CRM to manage the relationship with their customers.
The challenge is this: what if they could click a button in Salesforce, so that Business Central would open up creating a new purchase order, populating the entire purchase order header, and all the user had to do was enter the lines?
With Business Central SaaS we can do this using the APIs now available in Business Central SaaS. In addition to the power of communication via APIs, we would also point out that there is no need to work with an internal IT department to ensure that too much information is not being exposed (or security compromised).
Using the Business Central APIs builds the capability for the customer to simply click to create a purchase order, open Business Central and create the new purchase order with the supplier information in the header.
What used to be a major challenge, requiring a major investment on-premise, can now be achieved by users after an integration project by the partner, so that they only have to enter lines.
What does Appsource bring to the table?
Another benefit highlighted by our customers working on the SaaS version is the ability to download applications (free or paid licensing) from Appsource, subject to our validation of the solution.
This opens up many opportunities both during implementation, and if they are looking to add functionality after the fact, we can work with them to test it. For example with the IRPF Business Central app.
On the other hand, if we work on-premise this process would not be so simple. Almost always these types of projects would involve a developer, or some kind of change to the server, making sure that the information and objects were available to these third party applications.
Work from anywhere and on any device
Another of the positive points of working in the SaaS version is the absence of limitations in terms of mobility. Both as a result of Covid, when all companies implemented remote work, and at other times when it may be necessary, the SaaS version offers the possibility of working from any place and device, since it only requires an Internet connection.
For our part as partners, the fact that the client works in the SaaS environment also gives us more capacity to offer faster and more agile support, since the connections are simpler.
Microsoft 365 and its ecosystem
One thing we would like to add, being something very important that we will talk about in detail later in this article, is the integration into the Microsoft Stack. We are saying that Microsoft has this whole ecosystem called Microsoft 365 and it is the set of all its applications hosted in the cloud, from email, to the office suite, to other offerings beyond Microsoft ERP, even automation platforms, i.e. Business Central is incorporated into the entire ecosystem.
The plus point is that it allows you to integrate into the entire Microsoft stack much more easily, rather than having to create custom integrations, for systems that don’t natively connect to each other, so we think it’s a critical piece of the SaaS environment, which you don’t have when you’re using an on-premises server.
Integration of Business Central with Microsoft Stack
Let’s talk about how Business Central fits into the Microsoft application stack and enables greater efficiency with other products such as Power BI and reporting.
Imagine being able to create your reports easily, exporting to Excel quickly, ideal, right? In this sense, integration with Microsoft Excel and Power BI gives users the convenience of working with data more easily and having control over changes.
We’re talking about the ability to use the tools you’re already familiar with and be able to get the information you need faster and more efficiently.
For some companies, where time is of the essence, having this information and dashboards at your fingertips can translate into a huge competitive benefit.
As you can see, in the last couple of versions of Business Central, Microsoft has invested heavily in integration with the suite of cloud products, covering connection with the entire umbrella of Microsoft 365 and Office 365.
In this sense, you also have at your disposal integration with Office 365 and Power Platform applications (Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI) and even integration with 365’s Customer Engagement CRM for sales operations and Microsoft Dataverse, for data exchange between apps.
If you look at what has been achieved, we also have native integration with Teams, and we now have more connectors available for tools like Mircosoft Dataverse, where you can start sending data from Business Central to a data warehouse.
The future with Power Platform
Another aspect that Microsoft is going to continue to invest in is integration with Power Automate, with which you can incorporate connectors. Microsoft is going to start integrating more and more all these different products together, so that they can work seamlessly across the entire Microsoft ecosystem.
We can see how it’s easier to integrate because you have the low-code / no-code methodology, so for a scenario that would typically require a NAV developer, you can now use Power Platform to build them more efficiently without the need for development. How can Power Apps help you achieve more?
We mentioned earlier that migration to SaaS is the ultimate version migration project as updates to SaaS are automatically performed centrally, whether it’s a security patch, a bug fix, or a new release with functionality. These updates are performed smoothly and without affecting the working environments.
Tenant is updated and there is little or no disruption to day to day work, no need to shut down your environment, no need to have large teams focused on environment update projects, updates just happen!
Triangle studies in detail those updates before they are released to customer environments and since it has access to them in advance. In this way, we can prepare all communications regarding these updates and recommend them to customers for whom they may be of interest. To you, as a customer, these updates are installed in your environment without any action on your part, included in your monthly user licensing and you will certainly enjoy the benefits of always being on an updated version.
For those of you who have been in the world of Dynamics NAV or Navision we know that upgrades are complex and high risk projects, and upgrades are costly especially for those customers who have a highly modified database.
More self-sufficiency at user level
Finally, a point that all our customers who work in SaaS highlight is the self-sufficiency that is gained in terms of simple tasks (for example, changing column layout, customizing views, among others). These are small tasks that the user has never been able to do on their own before.
On our side, Triangle is fully aligned with Microsoft’s direction and vision for the future of the product, especially the “Cloud First” premise. In addition, to offer a more complete service to customers who need it, we can also help you in your task automation strategy with Power Platform solutions or Business Central satellite applications.
We are also available at any time to chat with you about any questions you may have about moving to the cloud or your future plans for your ERP system. Just don’t hesitate to contact us.