Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations vs. Business Central

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Event NameDate
DynamicsCon VirtualMarch 2021

Transcript of Content (Disclaimer – Auto Generated):


0:16 it all started with a simple concept business processes shouldn’t be cumbersome because your time is too

0:22 valuable to be wasted at paper save we are committed to changing the way you do business

0:27 in this digital age seamless integration simple predictive

0:34 [Music] intelligent anywhere anytime

0:41 modern built on modern technology and architecture are your processes ready

0:47 for the next digital transformation visit us to learn how to take your processes from a brick and mortar to a

0:53 work from anywhere environment please welcome our next speaker marjorie

0:59 schmierbach a practice manager today she will be presenting on dynamics erp who gets the final rose

1:07 fno versus bc please stick around after marjorie’s sessions for a live q a

1:27 well welcome everyone to our dynamics con session my name is marjorie schmierbach i’m the practice manager for finance and

1:34 operations nax at dynamic consulting co-presenting today with sean george can

1:40 i say hi sean hi sean

1:45 thanks marjorie so excited to be here on dynamics con 2.0 spring 21.

1:52 uh sean dort here practice manager for smb i do work with marjorie and yet still

1:57 we decided to do a session together how about that for for collaboration you can feel free if you choose to check

2:03 out my personal blog site at lifehacks365.com or follow me on twitter i love tweeting

2:10 all right well today’s topic today what brings us all here is to talk about who will get the final

2:15 rose between finance and operations and business central so we know that everybody on this session

2:22 probably has looked at multiple other erps in the past we’re hoping that you’ve decided that microsoft

2:28 dynamics is the place you want to be um but which erp do you use how do you

2:33 know what the difference is uh and which platform will most help your company succeed

2:39 so we’ve all heard you know from the consulting side generally you’ll default to finance and operations if you’re a large enterprise company a

2:46 large enterprise company in microsoft terms is microsoft size company right or you have

2:52 a big it budget and you’re just itching to give it to microsoft and a microsoft partner

2:58 on the other end we say generally use business central if you will have fewer than the minimum 20 users required

3:03 in finance and operations or your budget for the budget for fno i just won’t work for you

3:11 but there has to be something else right i mean we can’t just face this decision sean on how much

3:17 budget somebody has to burn for their implementation right this is this is such a great session in

3:22 the great topic right marge we because in our space um on the consulting side we hear this question

3:29 all the time which one’s better which one is a better fit and it’s kind of interesting because i’m

3:35 not sure that there is a clear-cut answer but i think putting them head-to-head here in this session

3:40 uh is a great way to do it so i’m looking forward to this yeah so our goals for today’s sessions

3:46 are to really provide some key questions for selecting between the two tools and also to highlight some key

3:51 differences between functionality so john and i today are gonna mostly talk through the things that we’ve learned

3:57 from working with each other prepare for this and also potentially show some of the different tools so showing you a bit of

4:04 finance and operations probably showing you more of business central since we do know that we’re living in the fno track right now

4:10 probably a lot of you are more familiar with um so i think the first question uh that

4:18 we came to was how much can you manage from day one right uh so finance and operations for

4:24 example those of you have deployed a net new uh implementation before know that it comes empty i mean there’s

4:31 not even zip codes in it you got to go out and find your own zip code file even get your addresses started right um

4:38 so there’s nothing in there there’s no ways to kind of quick start it out of the box for microsoft of course some

4:43 partners offer um guides and templates and things like that

4:49 um it’s controlled by lifecycle services which is the kind of engine to deploy those environments and

4:54 manage them going forward um the tool itself is

5:01 highly customizable i’ve yet to see a customer who doesn’t customize something right so

5:07 your chance of customization and finance and operations is pretty much 100 um and then you’re forced to update

5:14 eight times a year with new functionality coming out in each release so all of that combined means that you

5:20 need a team of people if they can help manage your ip systems get your environment configured to

5:27 manage that flow of updates and testing uh to also do the deal with the

5:32 customizations and keep the code moving forward sean

5:38 how does that compare to business central yeah emptier than empty is that what you said and

5:44 emptier than empty uh maybe you will find something on mars i don’t know it it it’s interesting to hear that one

5:51 of the things marjorie threw this exercise to do in the session with you is i really don’t know anything um

5:57 useful about fno except those kind of really high level talking points so thanks for sharing that about about

6:05 getting up and running from day one so in business central there’s kind of several different paths

6:11 because as an individual very small organization maybe maybe um you know small mom and pop or

6:18 someone who’s living the life large on quickbooks and they want to get into business central

6:24 rightfully so we can take that experience and use

6:29 wizards within business central to migrate your quickbooks data over into an already kind of configured environment

6:36 for you which i think is pretty powerful from that easy entry point because you

6:41 do you the easy entry point doesn’t mean that you’re limited in scope it just means it’s an easy way to get in

6:48 the door and you still have all of the remaining erp functions available to you and we’ll talk more about those

6:54 down the road and then there’s kind of this middle of the road you can take a minimum value product or an mvp

7:02 approach where you just you need it customized a little bit or you need it configured specifically to your organization a

7:08 little bit more than a migration tool would and then you could take that and

7:13 build on it usually with consultants help but hey it’s an erp at least in my mind if i know it and

7:19 i’ve learned it somebody else can do that but often there’s not the time available for for the

7:26 learning curve when you’re running a real business so we kind of block those up into smaller sections um

7:31 and then lastly there’s the um full supported implementation which is something that

7:37 most i see at least in my experience i’m seeing most organizations who are tried and true businesses with

7:42 some good history and good tenure um they’re wanting a full scope of work they’re wanting to be you

7:48 know starting from scratch like you’re empty or an empty in fno and from a development perspective so you’re not

7:54 in any way expected to develop or customize business central but certainly you have

8:00 those options if you want to the the tool was generally i would say marjorie has it on the slide

8:06 there in my experience i’m seeing about a 50 50. about half of those full scope

8:13 implementations are looking for something custom and that’s doesn’t need to necessarily be anything

8:18 large right because customizations don’t need that doesn’t need to be a scary word it could be something very simple

8:24 and certainly if there’s modifications that need need a an extension if you will add it to the

8:30 application and also you know marjorie mentioned about how microsoft rolls out things for fno business central gets new releases

8:37 in waves so there’s a wave one which happens generally in april and a wave two which happens

8:43 generally in september october notice i said generally and all throughout the year if there are

8:49 hot fixes available you could get those as early as uh every as frequent as every month

8:55 uh those waves the wave one and wave two someone who is in business central as a customer

9:01 has the option to pause those for up to 90 days uh so that you don’t have to consume those updates right away whereas the hot

9:07 fixes every month those are pretty uh pretty much just rolled out into your environment while you’re sleeping

9:14 what do you think marjorie pretty similar with the updates the eight times per year updates you can delay those and get a

9:20 couple of versions behind uh before microsoft forces you to take that update um but wow sean you get a wizard you

9:28 just it literally pops up and says what do you want to use or what does that wizard look like

9:34 right so so clippy doesn’t pop up like uh back in the office days uh the wizards look pretty pretty

9:40 intuitive they’re built into the product i i call them like an easy entry because they’re not really going to get you in

9:46 the full-blown configuration necessarily but they’re a great way to start so i need chart of account codes i

9:52 need users i need permissions any roles pretty helpful that’s awesome well i know everybody in

9:59 the fnl world has been asking for some you know pre-templated version that they can select from

10:06 other than using the demo data and then copying kind of the settings over into your own

10:11 environment um which is kind of the inelegant way to do it and i know a lot of partners have offered

10:16 some templating approaches and quick starts of their own um it’s interesting that that microsoft

10:23 still hasn’t chosen to kind of provide a you know gap approved

10:29 uh template for fno seems crazy hey marjorie did you say that you can

10:35 pause your updates for a few conversions you can you can

10:40 get uh two versions behind essentially that third version you have to take

10:45 gotcha so on our major updates the wave one and wave two you can’t get one behind after 90 days

10:52 you have to take that one so that’s interesting yeah i mean with them coming out eight times a year it’s still

10:58 around the 90-day mark you know they skip a couple of updates so uh sometimes you can get a little bit

11:04 past that 90-day mark but that’s technically considered end-of-life uh which really just means

11:09 in my experience that you’re gonna if you have to reach out to microsoft support they’re going to tell you update and then tell us if it’s not fixed

11:16 already so very cool so what do you think i don’t know those in the in the

11:21 audience maybe put in the chat which one do you think should get the uh the rose for for this

11:27 segment i know i mean i know john i think bc wins on this one i mean i hear this

11:33 all day long that you know why do you need to spend so much time configuring my environment what do you mean it

11:38 doesn’t even have zip codes um you know it seems crazy to me that we’re living in 2021 and

11:45 we still can’t get a quick starting fno so i think bc wins this one

11:52 what do you think sean you know quick starts are good to have

11:57 but they’re good to have but do they have a real place and that is kind of the shaky ground you

12:04 know um if you’re a brand new business you don’t have a way or you’re not maybe making something or tracking inventory

12:10 we have that kind of complexity so you know sometimes an easy entry is uh is great and sometimes if you

12:18 start that way i might get myself in trouble here it might cause you a little more trouble down the road because you’re not

12:24 really familiar with the kind of if this then that to the consequences of your decisions so

12:31 i was a good point i would consider it a toss-up yeah ethanol is definitely not a diy

12:37 project that’s for sure so you’re probably right a wizard may be

12:43 may cause more problems than it would help right all right so the other question uh that

12:49 we started thinking through was what functionality do you really need you know fno is a beast it is a big erp

12:57 uh it has extensive functionality in all sorts of different areas of the system and you’re getting it whether you’re

13:03 going to use it or not so you’re paying for the ip and the higher licensing cost uh and you may not need all of it um

13:10 sean it seems to me like business central is just a more core centralized tool

13:18 well i mean it did one way to look at it yeah i mean so it’s interesting marjorie like some people i talk to they’ll say

13:25 business central uh isn’t isn’t robust it’s not a fully baked erp when the

13:31 reality is that there are tens of thousands of customers have been using it for decades right so this

13:37 there’s one piece but but the other piece to your point is that there are even though it’s a full erp and very robust there are

13:44 limitations to what comes with the software out of the box specifically what i’ve learned from you

13:50 through this exercise of comparing the two are some of those kind of uh ancillary things or maybe not as

13:55 common like uh i don’t want to get ahead so um in our in our conversation but some of

14:01 those things are aren’t out of the box but we have a fairly comprehensive isv

14:08 um pool to pull from for those solutions so kind of like um although they were not

14:13 99 cents but kind of like an app for your phone if it doesn’t quite do exactly what you want you can kind of bolt something on

14:20 yeah i know i’ve learned through this process uh that you know to me uh the way business

14:26 central is today is sort of how ax or at finance and operations in its previous life as ax or

14:32 xacta was before you know i am old enough now to remember the exact as 3.0 days where

14:40 you know you had to buy the system module by module and you were only paying for the ip of

14:45 the modules that you needed it created some complications uh for sure about

14:50 you know rolling out new functionality and and everything’s very interconnected in erp as we all know

14:56 and sometimes be hard to pull on one thread without unraveling the sweater if you will but it’s interesting to me that

15:03 that was very much the concept of exacta and ax back in the

15:09 version 3.0 version 4.0 and ax 2009 days you were really looking to that large

15:15 isb market to help you out interestingly for fno most of the advanced functionality that

15:21 we’re going to cover today actually were isps that microsoft purchased and included in their core product now

15:28 going forward all right so what are some of the core functionality differences then you know

15:34 sean i think the biggest one that we landed on really had to do with pensions so

15:39 fno is an accountant’s dream you’ve got unlimited dimensions you’ve

15:45 got entity back dimensions and you can slice and dice by dimension until

15:51 you’re blue in the face i mean using accounting source explorer using financial reporter

15:56 um and then of course getting into power bi and power platform and you can just kill it to death right with every slice

16:03 and dice and dimensions that you need and the complexity that ethanol just has out of the box how does that compare

16:10 with business central so with business central we have you know the the nomenclature is we have two

16:17 global dimensions and those two global dimensions flow through the entire product so think in terms of like line

16:24 of business and maybe department or something like that and in addition to that we have other

16:32 dimensions called shortcut dimensions uh we have eight in total two usually get kind of co-assigned the

16:39 global so six additional um and there’s this thing called analysis view which helps kind of flex that data because it’s really

16:46 important to be able to see it you know but interestingly enough and i welcome folks to post some some feedback

16:51 in the comments here what i see is the more dimensions that are assigned to transactions

16:58 usually translates to sort of this overwhelming amount of of of activity that happens in the

17:05 system and i kind of wonder you know my my tenure in the product doesn’t go back two decades like many others but i kind

17:12 of wonder if that’s why the limitation exists um we the idea of dimensions is that you

17:18 can tag your data both um you know flexibly uh and optionally and required and

17:25 so you kind of get this idea that maybe i want to have a dimension for sort of you know five six seven ten things um

17:33 and then it almost feels like a little bit of a disappointment but then if you think from a performance perspective is

17:38 it really necessary or does it have a contra effect in that regard so that’s where analysis views

17:44 come in and maybe starting with the end game right you know how do you want to report so we think about that through the

17:49 implementation project which again is another reason why folks who use the wizard may ultimately

17:55 feel like they would have been served serving themselves better if they had someone coach them through

18:01 yeah that’s an interesting point so let’s talk through a specific scenario here then sean of how this might look

18:07 different into in the two different systems so let’s imagine a scenario where it’s a company that has six legal entities um

18:15 and they want to report against you know department uh site and

18:22 what else do you see most commonly those are very common in the fno space

18:27 a line of business you know um construction whatever sure yeah so let’s let’s use

18:33 those three examples so across then um you know six legal entities

18:39 maybe there’s uh you know a legal entity in canada that needs a separate type of pension

18:44 right um that you want to report on up there how does that work when you have different dimensions defined for

18:50 different legal entities in business with that limitation of how many you can display when you’re consolidating your

18:57 reporting how do you do that yeah it gets cumbersome that’s for sure specifically across

19:02 entities there’s isv products out there to help kind of remove some of that complexity but the

19:08 ideal scenario no different from the chart of accounts is to have that streamlined across entity however if you

19:14 can’t there are definitely creative ways so one of the things i mentioned a few a few moments ago was that you’re

19:20 not that you don’t want to go into a business central implementation with the expectation

19:25 of customization or development because people kind of are typically taken back when they hear

19:30 that the reality is that the way it’s managed through uh the extension world in business

19:37 central’s it’s very controlled and very safe uh given that you’re using the right the right resources but

19:43 in addition to the existing setup you can leverage development to

19:49 make that crossover work for consolidation um interesting interesting

19:57 more than f is that is that sort of just an expectation that exists across

20:03 entities that they can be mapped maybe yeah yeah i think that you know again this might be

20:09 an example of a way that microsoft has sort of built ethanol to be the larger enterprise tool and that it

20:15 expects that you’re going to have you know a bunch of different legal entities with a bunch of specific

20:21 dimensional requirements that you’re going to be mapping and consolidating and combining and having unique

20:26 dimensions and dimension values by your different organization your different legal entities

20:33 that’s interesting that uh it’s just it’s it you know it’s a

20:40 i guess the the idea here is that an enterprise organization would have that

20:45 additional complexity i guess so maybe this really is the difference uh it’s not just user count and budget

20:51 maybe this is one of the real ways that it defines how complex your legal entity

20:57 invention reporting structure needs to be right for a smaller company versus a larger company

21:03 right so i can just i can just hear the comments in the chat right now firing away

21:10 what are they saying if we have to look into our crystal balls here it’s easy to solve through development

21:17 through custom development it is i know and the reason i say that’s sort of tongue-in-cheek

21:22 and all kidding aside is because this situation this entity multi-entity situation business

21:28 central handles very well validation hills very well so having an organization that’s got

21:35 subsidiaries and international entities with dementia requirements that are different is not something new

21:41 it’s not unheard of specifically with business central’s history right so um being born and raised in

21:49 europe and and and how how european organizations really do business internationally it’s

21:55 it wouldn’t be uncommon for that chat to be on fire right now and if it’s not i encourage you to do so let’s hear

22:01 let’s hear what you have to say about about dimensions and this type this kind of situation

22:06 yeah and please do share in your chat and sean and i are listening in now um and this has been a very interesting

22:13 conversation that i’ve actually pulled some of our other team members into because i’m like you’re not gonna believe this

22:19 you know we kind of talk through these differences it feels like ad nauseam sean um because it really is a fascinating

22:25 difference uh and you know who knows in a couple of years from now we’re probably going to be talking about how

22:30 none of this matters because you can do so much magic and power bi to get your reporting just the way you need it but

22:35 you know storing this even inside of the erps is not as important as it once was right so

22:42 interesting all right who gets the rose who do you think gets throws i think

22:49 evano does come on this seems like a real limitation of business central

22:54 limitation or customization limitation or control i mean i would i don’t want to be

23:00 devil’s advocate here just for a second and again just for a second

23:06 i mean maybe in the enterprise level because i don’t have that much exposure to though that size

23:11 of a company but when it comes to tracking and tracing of dimensions

23:16 how much is too much and is it really needed so i’ll leave it there well

23:22 i mean as an old timer again exactly used to have three dimensions and that was it

23:27 and people got real creative with how to use those and how to use different values

23:32 and things like that so um i would say you know if you if you’re an organization of five people maybe it’s

23:39 not as important and maybe you do need to have a little bit of a smaller scope for your reporting i think once you hit the 100 300 500

23:47 employee mark you’re probably going to look for more complexity and a little bit more complex structure

23:53 to your dimensions yeah i don’t want to i don’t want to beat this up but i’m going to so what’s interesting about what you just

23:59 said is it light bulb went off um you know if you’ve got the the team

24:04 who your your separation of responsibilities is such that that their responsibility is more

24:10 focused and drilled down and they’re not having to pick the values of many of these dimensions

24:16 that’s so that really makes a whole lot of sense to me to have as many as you can because it’s it’s not a thought or part of the data

24:23 input that has to occur versus an organization maybe that has uh someone responsible for a dimension

24:30 maybe five different values or 15 different values that they have to select each time because then you kind of get into is

24:37 even though there’s something there is it right um so i like that you mentioned that that adds a bit of insight as well

24:44 into into it being scalable for the organization with a larger and deeper separation of responsibilities and maybe

24:51 some of that is by sheer geographic location right you might have yeah you know 10 different locations versus a

24:59 centralized accounting and transaction department which we tend to see i think a bit more

25:04 yeah interesting all right sean you’re not giving a rose to me huh no f no roses for you i’ll get i’ll give

25:11 you the fno rose here but let’s let’s hear the chat on this one right for the final sally let’s hear the

25:16 chat this is going to be an interesting one for sure all right another key area that we noticed in

25:22 preparing for this is just user accessibility right so within fno it’s very work

25:28 space centered the assumption there again looking at scale of the scale and the size of enterprises

25:34 that are implementing it is that they’re a team of people who are doing the same job over and over and

25:39 over again and they’re using the tool to tackle the work together right so inside the finance and

25:44 operations um you know you can look at a workspace for example in credit and collections

25:50 you’ll see a list of your tasks open and the activities that your team members have followed up on and you

25:56 can work together to collaborate and take turns calling different you know problem children for collecting

26:01 and sending out letters um all of that is tracked within the system so you can be sure that susie didn’t send a letter

26:07 and now jane’s gonna follow up on it the next day um so it’s a very interesting to me

26:12 interesting to me that microsoft decided that that was the way to sort of make the system most

26:19 accessible and usable for for users is really to make it workspace

26:24 center again we’re talking about multiple people doing the same task now sean when we talked business central

26:31 is very different and there is some functionality there that i know is the dream of many a

26:36 national user so how does it look over there so the system the dream of many is that

26:42 what you said you have no idea i’m already preparing the rows for bc on this one then

26:48 uh so business central uses uh they’re called profiles loosely now but role centers um

26:56 it’s a predefined kind of uh layout of your navigation and

27:01 um your permission well not necessarily permissions but what’s surfaced on your home screen for example what’s readily

27:07 available at your fingertips uh so that’s been in many other products use that and nav had used that

27:13 for a while dynamics gp as well but some of the beauty of that is that you can

27:18 personalize it the individual user can personalize that quite well and not only that but you can really

27:25 stretch across different modules quite easily so for smaller organizations maybe in the

27:30 medium size where they are performing more than one typical stream of responsibility they

27:37 can cross over modules quite easily um and even interact with the the interaction with excel i’m

27:44 sure fno has it as well and i don’t know why we didn’t talk about that maybe we should call an audible at the end of this but

27:50 the interaction with excel and business central is pretty cool uh both you know dropping data into

27:55 excel but also editing appropriate data in excel but one of the great things that i love about business central

28:02 is the ability to interact with your customers and vendors and contacts

28:08 from right within outlook and i don’t mean using their email address and responding to them necessarily is court just true

28:14 email functionality but literally adding the business central add-in into outlook

28:20 adds a blade to the right-hand side of outlook which surfaces an interaction of

28:25 business central in real time where you can create a quote or an order or an invoice

28:30 or for a vendor you can see how much you owe them if they’re inquiring or when with last time we sent them a check

28:36 uh which is pretty cool if you haven’t seen that be sure to check it out i’m certain someone’s showing you the dynamics con

28:42 over the next couple days and if not check out my blog site i’ll be sure to put a video out up there uh i promise to have that out before the

28:49 conference so check that out too yeah that’s the thing i’m talking about sean is uh

28:54 you know it’s been on a wish list for a lot of people in finance and operations to have much more

29:00 um functionality that is in outlook really and and helping people drive again like

29:06 you said creating a quote straight from your email i mean that’s a dream for users of finance and operations or

29:12 checking on the status of of a production order or something directly from outlook i mean it’s

29:18 um it just sounds crazy to to fnl users that that’s available um and you

29:24 know in the times that you showed it to me as well i mean it’s not even just creating a quote it’s literally recommending you

29:31 products based on the text of the email right so it’s really taking the next step to help you work

29:37 faster and work more efficiently yeah it recognizes sorry yeah go ahead it recognizes

29:45 the email address that you’re interacting with and finds that in the system surfaces all that

29:51 information for you uses a little bit of ai if you love it as much as you say you do

29:56 i’ll take all the credit for it is a pretty cool tool i will tell you when it first came out a

30:02 couple years ago maybe two years ago three years ago you know sometimes sales people will

30:08 tell you something and then you you see it and it’s really not quite as shaney as you were told

30:14 this really hit the mark the microsoft did a fantastic job with this um i’m not sure if many people use it if

30:21 they quite realize um you know how much it could save them from distractions you know when you go

30:26 from one app to another if you’re like me you stop at twitter along the way or something like that you get distracted

30:32 but if you’re able to do this all in one application your desktop i think it becomes you just become a little bit more a little bit more

30:39 productive right absolutely i know you know i think for ethno microsoft’s line of thinking is that if

30:45 you’re using fno you’re probably using crm which has a pretty robust outlook add-in as well and you probably

30:53 are doing most of your sales activity through crm again we’re talking about the large

30:58 enterprise customer that microsoft envisions is not the same as what i see a lot in my work which is more medium-sized

31:05 enterprises 500 views or 500 employees that kind of range um and so for teams like that i think

31:11 the outlook add-in would be an incredible ad fnl so

31:16 i do think sean that this one is a rose to business central

31:22 no i’ll take it i’ll take it check it check out the ad and it’ll be

31:29 worth it um and if you’re an fno user you know the takeaway for me is if i were an fno user

31:35 i would be knocking on the ideas website voting for those suggestions out there to get that kind of interaction in the product

31:42 so leave a comment in in the chat there if you know of an idea site uh suggestion that people can go

31:48 vote for for evan oh to get that kind of interoperability with outlook in uh into ethanol

31:54 yep all right moving on then to the next area that’s a big difference and oh if i

32:00 go back actually sean you mentioned excel uh and it’s interoperator interoperability with

32:06 business central i think the reason why we didn’t choose to talk about that today was it’s pretty robust in finance and

32:12 operations as well an area where i was really surprised to see that both tools

32:17 worked quite well quite natively with excel in different ways so i think it was a

32:22 strength of both of the tools very cool you have to show me that all right

32:28 core functionality differences inside of finance and operations there is advanced warehousing right um

32:36 which came in as many recall who’ve been around the space for a while as a isp solution that microsoft bought

32:42 and merged in with their core product the non-advanced warehouse functionality

32:48 inside of finance and operations is pretty close to what’s in business

32:53 central um so the things that it’s missing then uh are that ethanol has are license plating um

33:00 it has a warehouse application that has barcode scanning and it has sort of decent quality

33:05 control depending on exactly what you need to use it for um sean when we talked it seemed like

33:11 business central had most of that except for maybe the license plating and the barcode scanning

33:17 so that’s that’s about the quality control and the reality is is that there aren’t near as many business

33:24 central customers who have that extended requirement like an enterprise organization would

33:30 now if before you thrash me in the comments that’s what those isps exist for for

33:37 those cases where we do have that requirement and if you start with business central you may not need it right now

33:43 but down the road in a year two years if you need it you have to look to go to re-implement to something else you

33:48 can get an add-on for those things if you need them yeah that’s interesting i mean there’s

33:53 still quite the robust isb market in the fnl world too it just seems like

33:59 microsoft has acquired so many isps and continues to bake in more and more functionality

34:05 and i know the licensing split right between finance and supply chain i think they’re eventually gonna

34:10 go back to the module based pricing right um but it’s interesting to me how much

34:15 business central is just a much more simple product but the isvs you know provide

34:23 pretty much the same functionality that you get inside of finance and operations so interesting i don’t know who do you

34:30 think gets throws for that one i mean i think fnl has incredibly robust advanced warehousing

34:37 functionality yeah i would agree that that um that is true that it does yeah wait did you just give

34:45 it a rose i i was just gonna say

34:50 i was just gonna say you were just gonna say what with fno

34:57 you’re paying for everything you are you are not um so to that end if

35:04 it really depends on your situation but we’ll give the rose for this one fno yay right uh

35:12 other than that there’s some other core functionality difference there’s some whole modules right that are missing

35:17 or that you can get from an isv right that’s uh sean’s refrain today uh but retail is

35:25 one you know transportation management um heavy project management i know business central has some functionality

35:31 um even credit and collections you can sort of get there but it doesn’t have all the collection letter functionality

35:37 and tracking activity tracking that fno does it just it felt like looking at the two

35:43 systems sean it was just a much more paired down tool that really could be powerful for

35:49 some medium-sized businesses with the help of an isb

35:55 yeah definitely the isv market is is a huge help to go the extra step

36:00 i don’t want to confuse or or have someone think that business central isn’t going to meet their needs it requires some

36:07 requirements gathering to understand but if you know you need transportation management and

36:12 you’re evaluating these two that should be a directive to you to talk more uh on the fno side

36:18 um at least in my mind the same true for for some other things retail certainly we have solutions for that on

36:24 the business central side but if you especially if you’re in the fno space where you have experience with it

36:30 you know you have those those modules uh that you can light up if you will um

36:37 which is kind of pretty empowering as a business to know that it may not be a requirement right

36:44 now but if and when it is we have it uh so that’s i i find that pretty interesting from

36:50 from a from an individual like myself who’s accustomed to leveraging isvs and extensions the

36:56 way that i have in custom development uh the fno uh all kind of inclusive

37:01 approach is interesting yeah i think so i mean certainly you’re

37:06 getting a higher license cost right to carry the cost of all the ip that you’re just

37:12 getting baked into ethanol um i do think it’s interesting like you mentioned that that

37:17 process growth within an organization you’re not immediately up against buying another

37:23 license if you decide to leverage for example project management and accounting after you go live or you

37:30 decide that you’re going to start managing you know you’re going to buy a trucking line to transport your materials and you

37:35 need transportation management you already own the product already on the tool uh it’s kind of a no-brainer to continue to use it to its

37:42 fullest extent i get inquiries like that all the time of we’ve never considered using

37:47 fno for our fixed assets we’re using this other product but we’d really love to you know fully get the value from our

37:54 licensing that we’re spending every month what other modules can we bring in and really get you all in one system and i

38:01 think that’s a really powerful way to think of it for for a medium-sized organization particular

38:08 really get the bang for your buck for your for your monthly licensing agreed it’s interesting when if you use

38:13 those kind of extended modules in fno does it change your your approach to

38:18 what happens in the eight rollouts that happen or are those all included at the same time

38:24 they’re all included at the same time yeah so you’re getting fixes for project management whether you use it or

38:30 not um to my knowledge anyway if i’m wrong i’m sure you’ll let me know in the chat right

38:36 um yeah so you’re getting updates for things that you may or may not use um just kind of part and parcel i guess

38:44 of having such a big in you know threaded together kind of erp system

38:50 now interestingly for me sean i came into this session thinking for sure one of the big differences

38:56 between the two systems would be business central can’t handle multiple legal entities that was what i had

39:02 always been told was if you have an international company with multiple legal entities would require some localizations then you

39:09 can’t use business central is that true well it’s definitely not true

39:14 uh you certainly can in fact it’s kind of it’s kind of its entry point um years ago was it’s sort of its claim to

39:22 fame multi-currency and multi-entity and the way it handles it both from a consolidation and

39:28 communication perspective so if i’m communicating with a company in canada i can communicate exclusively

39:34 in a canadian dollar and somebody in europe with their currency as well so the other thing marjorie i wanted to

39:40 mention kind of a little bit more of a tipping of the hat to fno as well with business central as you may

39:46 remember i had mentioned we get two roll outs wave one and wave two and if we solve the tms issue

39:54 with an isv your software is going to include that in the update

40:00 whereas for business central we have to manage that update separately so there’s uh you know the

40:06 isv has to repair their code with the new release it’s not a it’s not a large undertaking but it is

40:12 sort of a little administrative step that has to happen although when i say little still very

40:18 very important yeah absolutely i mean we have that same issue on the fno side if someone does

40:23 choose to use an isp um it it again like you said it’s not a lot of work but it’s still work you

40:30 know you still have to coordinate getting that updated model and things like that from isb vendor awesome

40:37 all right what’s the next question then what else are you going to use i mean how much do you want to integrate

40:42 to dataverse right so finance and operations uh has

40:48 seen a lot of investment around the use of dual right it’s synchronous it’s bi-directional it supports online and offline mode

40:56 and you can create your own custom connections and integrations into dataverse which is of course as we

41:02 all know where formerly known as the common data service where power platform crm all of that good stuff lives how

41:09 does that compare to business central so interesting um common data service or

41:16 dataverse has been on the roadmap for business central for some time we started to see some change

41:23 i don’t know about a year ago maybe a year and a half ago um and it really hasn’t changed all that

41:29 much at least in terms of the depth in the system or the width i suppose into the system

41:35 so we can get the contact the customer shipping method and agent as you see on the screen there and some other things

41:42 to sync between customer engagement so the data has surfaced in the cds i

41:49 know just from conversations with others that microsoft fully intends to keep

41:56 integrating business central into dataverse i feel like that’s been told for a while

42:03 i’m just being honest and i don’t know you know i’m not trying to pick that apart but i think i feel like that’s what we’ve been told for a while

42:09 haven’t seen a gigantic amount of traction um or change but that doesn’t mean it won’t change aggressively in a

42:15 short amount of time you can move uh your data into

42:20 dataverse you have to do it yourself so that it can be used and for other

42:27 things so we have an sort of out-of-the-box integration with

42:32 customer engagement which works pretty well i would consider it very limited though most organizations need a bit more than

42:40 those handful of things and i think only two or three of them are bi-directional

42:45 yeah i mean in my experience with dual right um for a simple i’d say simple for a basic

42:52 kind of crm implementation um with fno it usually covers most of what you need to pass

42:58 back and forth you know as far as quotes and contacts and things like that sales orders um it gets a little complex the bigger

43:04 and more heavily used the system is you know so using it for

43:10 field service things like that it’s it’s it’s a little dicier about whether or not the functionality

43:15 is fully there yet and we’ve built some custom integrations between some of the applications in the dataverse platform

43:23 um to talk to fnl because you know like you said it’s been on the roadmap for a long time

43:28 the dual right functionality every day it seems like they’re releasing something that’s better and more entities more more ways that it

43:35 can talk but it does still most of the time i find it does require a custom

43:41 integration level uh some level of custom custom integration creation um in order to get

43:49 fno truly connected into the data verbs

43:55 all right so sean in conclusion who do you think gets the

44:01 rose um i i don’t know who i think should get

44:06 the rose but i think what i love i’m excited for the for the q a session when we get finished

44:13 here i’m excited to see the comments and hear what everyone thinks i think typically one thing we do know

44:19 regardless of the rose is that it’s not an easy decision right this these are

44:24 very mature and robust erp systems with um a different uh

44:30 implementation strategy and available availability of functionality so it’s not like you can

44:35 just follow one simple path it probably is best to consult with an expert someone

44:41 with a lot of experience in both um you know for me based on the things

44:46 that we talked about today and the time that you and i spent exploring which one

44:52 what one can do versus the other i do think that it’s not an easy decision

44:57 and but it is one that should be really fully vetted and an organization if i were responsible for an organization i

45:03 would want to make sure that i do due diligence and make sure that i understand what are the pros and cons of each

45:09 in the end i’m certain that you’ll make the right choice knowing all the options available it’s

45:15 not just about licensing it’s not just about implementation budget is it what do you what do you think

45:20 right i mean i was really surprised and impressed i came in to this idea thinking surely ethanol

45:26 wins at damn near everything right but turns out it doesn’t

45:32 it you know business central is much more robust than i thought it was i think it would make good sense for

45:38 somebody even if you’re over that 20 person user minimum that fno requires i could see

45:44 several companies customers of mine that could live inside of business central and probably utilize it pretty well

45:50 um you know i’m i’m always surprised uh to learn more about other erp

45:56 softwares and and in this case i really expected fno to walk away with it

46:02 and to be honest i think for the like you mentioned the budget uh for implementation and the licensing

46:08 cost the ongoing cost i think business central is a real contender for some of these smaller

46:14 organizations again if you’re you know a 500 employee or you know you you’re probably

46:20 not going to want to use business central you need some more complex processing power and things like that

46:25 but i was very impressed with the functionality that’s in the business central today

46:31 and i definitely think that doing our homework in this way sean has has better preparedness to counsel our customers

46:36 and help them understand the differences and not just point them in a direction based on their budget

46:42 yeah i totally agree i mean i think i felt the same i felt just because i you know i really haven’t

46:48 had much exposure to fno marjorie um i really expected there to be a

46:54 large difference between the two when the reality is is they’re sort of complementary of one

47:00 another and they’re they’re not the same they definitely are different i do think there’s a better fit for each

47:06 organization uh one or the other um and it really just depends on the organization’s

47:12 vision for the future their their current requirements and their vision for the future but i don’t know let’s let’s let’s uh go see

47:20 what everyone thinks and and maybe we won’t get uh beat up too badly during the q a session what do you

47:25 think right i mean i think people are gonna have a lot of questions so i’m really curious to hear from the

47:31 audience about what their expectation was of of what the difference is between business central and ethanol what did

47:37 you guys think before this session you know what is a different functionality why do you why do we

47:42 choose to sell fno to customer a over business central i’d be curious to hear that if you’re a customer that’s in

47:48 the selection process i’d be really curious to hear if this presentation has altered your view of

47:53 either of the systems and pushed you in one direction over the other you know sean the other thing we didn’t talk about is kind of growth within the

48:00 system um and i do think that that’s a reason why a lot of people end up in fno is they have plans to grow pretty

48:08 intensely over the next year or two and don’t want to kind of double dip on an erp implementation

48:14 that said i think that a lot of the business central functionality does exist inside of fno

48:19 and i’m really looking forward to the day where we have a customer who wants to grow up and kind of move into a more complex erp

48:26 system and chooses fno to do that in so yeah we’ll see what the audience has to

48:31 say uh opening up for questions i guess now and comments um and hopefully you all can

48:38 provide us with some insight and some things that we overlooked some things that we missed in our research uh any examples

48:46 that you have from real world scenarios if you want to see how they might shake out differently in between the systems

48:51 or who you think which software we think would be the best fit for a particular scenario put in the comments let’s talk about it

48:59 totally agree marjorie excellent job what a fun session i learned a lot i hope you did too i

49:05 hope everyone else did we’ll we’ll we’ll see you over at the q a yeah thanks everybody

49:17 [Music] well hey there marjorie hey how’s it

49:24 going happy hats what’s that happy st patrick’s day patrick’s day happy seeing

49:31 patrick’s day to everyone who joined us for our session uh so i i everybody should know that we’re wearing

49:38 red for the rose steam not green for st pat’s day i guess uh we just took a different direction

49:43 so we hope everybody had a great time and and maybe learned a little bit here today marjorie i have a couple things

49:49 that i took um and now the chat is just going crazy over there so

49:54 we need to maybe need a little bit of help there but i have a couple questions that i pulled from the queue that i thought we could talk about if that’s

50:00 okay absolutely so one thing that analisa has asked is

50:06 uh is we and they mentioned we’re in the very early stages of switching between nav 2013

50:12 uh to fno and have you helped wants to know if you’ve helped customers on that journey and maybe you

50:18 have any advice uh or are there any kind of important gotchas to look out for

50:23 yeah i mean we haven’t yet sean we’ve had a few opportunities prospects come through that are doing that very move and we keep telling

50:31 people we want to use our superpowers together for good and and help a nav customer move into the fno space

50:37 um we haven’t done that yet i think in these conversations um you know we were focusing more on the

50:43 differences in functionality so annelise i don’t know if any of these areas of functionality resonated with you or

50:49 there’s something that your company focuses on and that you might want more advanced warehousing or something like that

50:55 as you move into the fno space um lucky for you a lot of the language is similar right

51:01 so that’s half the battle i think with moving to a new system is learning the the basic process flows and the

51:08 language and and how to navigate around there they look and feel very much like the process flows are also very

51:14 similar and and the language of course is very similar as well so i think you’re on a great path

51:20 to move to ethanol very exciting time um you know as fno is the enterprise tool

51:26 it kind of feels like growing up a little bit i hope into the the flagship erp of microsoft

51:31 um but yeah i can’t think of anything is there anybody who’s gone through this that’s in the chat today i’d be very

51:37 interested to hear about that experience and what processes to look for sean is there anything from our

51:42 conversations that that rang to you that somebody would want to watch out for interestingly enough um i don’t know

51:49 about anything that they would want to watch out for i guess uh you know coming from an isv to an end

51:54 the product i’ve worked with some of that kind of situation where we’re taking an isv maybe developing it into nav or business

52:01 central so it could be a little bit of an equatable experience and my only thought there is is to just it truly truly truly don’t

52:09 just hear user acceptance testing but live it breathe it um it is going to be what makes or

52:17 breaks every micro part of that project i myself have worked on a project in the past where

52:23 it was a customer coming from a from fno to an on-premise yes it was

52:30 it was surprising but what what happened in that situation was they felt like they were oversold

52:37 at fno and then they realized that you know their their ongoing costs really weren’t worth

52:43 the things that they thought they were going to be using because they were just on the shelf at the moment so they wound up regressing

52:49 i guess you could call that into uh navision on premises and a cup a few years back that probably

52:56 is a similar experience although i would suggest it might be a little easier right because you’re taking something that’s

53:03 very wide and putting into a narrower spot where it properly belongs so yeah joel thank you for that smart alec

53:10 comment that sean actually directly address moving from fno to business central uh sounds like it happened at one point

53:18 um and sean i agree with you i have spoken with a few prospects that say they’ve been pointed to fno and in

53:24 talking with them we’ve realized that they do not need fnos advanced functionality

53:29 and it is going to be more a more cumbersome and expensive tool and also i realize in that process that i am

53:35 the worst fno sales person because i’m literally taking customers who think they need fno and sending them

53:41 over to your practice yeah just and just because i have i have an experience moving evernote down to

53:48 to now does not mean that that there’s something wrong with that choice i think i saw in the comments earlier this is

53:54 really a case case-by-case decision that has to be made at every organization when they’re making the erp

54:00 decision so uh there’s that um marjorie are you checking the chat there

54:05 while i go to the next question yeah i am yep great so the next question that

54:10 i have here is missing i can’t find my

54:16 sheet that’s okay um let’s see if we can find one here

54:23 from michael he said how long are bc projects on average even though it’s complex and difficult

54:28 you can still implement fno in a couple months good question so average is tricky what

54:35 does it mean to be you know what is an average we like to say the entry point is at minimum three months

54:41 um and usually they’re three to six months uh somewhere in there uh for an implementation if

54:48 you’re part of our team you’ll hear me say this a lot right not rushed we want to be quick we know everybody

54:53 has a full-time job to do in addition to the implementation but we want it to be

54:58 right because we want you to benefit and grow with the product not just have it right for right now but

55:04 in six months when you’re ready to make a change or a new report you’re prepared for that so we do all that and really um that

55:10 comes down to uh what the what the project requirements are but usually three to six months is a good budget how about

55:17 an fno i know in that case push come to shove it was quick what is it what is it typical there i

55:22 asked what is a typical fno implementation time frame like yeah i mean it depends on the level of

55:28 complexity and how much the customer wants to take on versus outsourcing all these things um but of course like always but usually

55:35 12 to 18 months for a full kind of end-to-end multiple modules being used um assuming you know manufacturing or

55:42 project management or you know some sort of product is being sold and managed items managed in the system

55:49 um you know depending on how much culture change they need depending on how um how much you know there’s a lot of

55:56 moving parts but i would say on average i usually say 12 to 18 months is a good expectation to

56:01 to set very good that’s not too bad for a large enterprise implementation i don’t think

56:06 anyway we’ve definitely had business central nav projects that are about a year long you know just depends on the

56:13 expectations damien mentions in the chat in my experience dealing with add-ons talking about

56:19 ethanol having it built in and maybe you’re not using it maybe you need to use it later but using the add-ons versus third

56:27 parties was a pain in the neck team one throat to choke uh is is the

56:32 comment there and you know there’s a lot of truth behind that the more vendors involved in any process the harder it is that’s

56:39 where your project management team is going to be key just a little bit of a tip there

56:44 one another question here is from brian i suppose it’s not you’re not a question

56:50 but a statement not much of a hot take it seems apparent that either you need the complexity

56:55 of ethanol or you don’t um and that’s a pretty fair statement i don’t i don’t disagree with that but i do

57:01 think that if you peel back the layers just a little bit you’ll start to feel like a decision is

57:08 making itself apparent when you’re going down this path you know whether that’s effino

57:14 and bc or or either those products to any other product i think um what do you think there marjorie

57:21 yeah i mean i think you know that was our our general uh assessment was if you’re a

57:26 five-person company business central obviously makes sense for you if you’re a 5 000 person company

57:32 fno obviously makes sense to you um but what about those 100 to 200 employee

57:37 size companies what what is the driving force in either direction for them um so yeah

57:42 it did surprise me that um a lot of the complexity that ethanol has is not needed when you’re a hundred

57:48 person company um and so business central um could be a much better fit for you

57:54 depending on those other areas of functionality that you may or may not need and again what your tolerance is for isvs and how

58:00 many throats you have to choke and things like that very good totally great and i’ll just

58:05 mention another question here i saw from damien sorry for asking silly questions we appreciate the questions

58:11 i accept the ones from joel those we’ll leave for later but i know ec used to have a dodgy

58:17 non-object-oriented programming language i assume that’s changed dramatically so i’m personally not familiar with the old

58:25 uh language it has changed over the past four three four years and from what i hear from folks who are

58:31 developers it is so much easier to program uh and to and to spin things up and i

58:36 see that not just in the turnaround time from our dev team but also just folks who i hear are doing

58:42 simple one-two lines of code that and they’re not really developers so it has changed dramatically in that

58:48 sense for sure all right um another question marjorie and sean

58:55 where would your rows go as regards administration of user permissions it’s my understanding that fno is basically

59:01 about permissions to use components of the user interface like menus forms and buttons whereas bc is mostly normally about

59:08 permissions to use data from the database tables fields create update delete

59:14 for example are both approaches good for segregation of responsibilities to avoid fraud and to prevent ordinary users from

59:19 seeing confidential financial numbers so i’ll answer from the bc side um

59:27 there’s there’s a lot in that question rightfully so but i’ll pick apart the one that stands out to me

59:33 separation and responsibilities so most certainly role based permissions

59:38 is part of business central i’m certain it is marjorie and ethanol as well designed specifically for separation of

59:46 responsibilities and and all sorts of mitigation of risk along the way

59:52 very in my opinion it’s not a pessimistic security approach it’s not nor optimistic i find it very

59:59 middle of the road when it comes to if you have access to this area you have access to everything on that

1:00:05 window it takes a little bit of tweaking and maybe an isv to control certain

1:00:10 fields on that window so i don’t know if i would give bc the

1:00:17 rose but it’s it does the job um looks like we’re getting the hook marjorie um i’ll let you close this

1:00:25 out who got the rose guys let’s head over to the forums to chat more about this i know we didn’t get to all your

1:00:30 questions but hopefully we can move these on over there and help you all out thank you so much for coming today we really appreciate we hope you learned a

1:00:36 lot thanks guys

1:00:45 [Music]

1:00:50 you

Thanks for reading!

Shawn Dorward

Microsoft MVP, Business Applications

LifeHacks365.com | LinkedIn | Twitter

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