Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based system covering finance, operations, sales and customer service.
It's notionally aimed at small to medium businesses, but Microsoft Australia business applications group lead Michael O’Keefe told iTWire that the target market is businesses with between 50 and 500 users, so in Australian terms it is a midmarket product.
It is particularly relevant to manufacturing, retail and small public sector organisations, he said, especially those who need strong ERP capabilities without the complexity and expense of a full enterprise-scale ERP system. (Yes, we know the E in ERP stands for enterprise, but these days ERP systems are used by organisations that are well short of being enterprise scale.)
Business Central is being sold through Microsoft's partner network. O'Keefe explained that six key partners are involved in the local launch, but hundreds of partners will be working with customers, for example to help them migrate from Dynamics NAV or the old Great Plains products to Dynamics Business Central.
He expects Business Central will also attract businesses that are still running single-user accounting or operations software.
Business Central can be used to automate business processes, perhaps as part of a move away from paper-based processes towards a modern digital environment.
Microsoft cited a a YouGov Galaxy survey of 300 Australian small and medium businesses that found less than half are making use of business application software, although a third of respondents said they are already or are planning to evaluate their business software options over the next 12 months.
"Business Central is highly intuitive, cost effective, and it integrates neatly with other business solutions such as Office 365 and Power BI to provide end to end business transformation opportunity,” said O'Keefe.
Pricing is on a "named user" basis, so you need to pay for every employee who might use the system. That is in contrast with some other SaaS products that only charge per active user, ie those who have actually used the system during that month. However, Business Central distinguishes between full users — such as sales people, customer service representatives, finance employees, controllers and supply chain managers — who require the full functionality, and 'team members' who only need read access plus the ability to update certain types of existing data; approve or reject tasks in assigned workflows; create, edit, or delete quotes; create, edit or delete their personal information; enter a time sheet; and use PowerApps for Dynamics 365.
Prices start at $89.20 per user per month for Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials, which includes financial management, CRM, project management, supply chain management, HR management and warehouse management.
Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium adds service management and manufacturing capabilities, and costs $127.40 per user per month.
Team member subscriptions are $10.20 per user per month for either edition.