Microsoft’s ever-popular Dynamics 365 (D365) platform brings ERP, CRM and BI (Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management and Business Intelligence, respectively) into one system. This means your people, processes and systems can be unified, giving you the visibility needed to drive your business forward.
Now, there are two ERP solutions within the D365 family: D365 Business Central (formerly NAV) and D365 Finance & Supply Chain Management (rebranded from D365 Finance & Operations). But what are the differences between the two? And how can you decide which solution is right for your business?
Dynamics 365 Business Central vs Finance & Supply Chain Management
Truthfully, there’s nothing in D365BC that D365FSCM can’t do as well or better than D365BC. This doesn’t mean BC isn’t perfectly able to provide great value service to thousands of businesses around the world.
So, what are the big-ticket differentiators? In my experience, I’ve seen two main things - features and budget.
If your business requires the following, D365FSCM is likely the one for you…
- International inter-company trading
- Financial compliance (Country localisations available)
- Supply chain - functional differences involving:
- Product and vendor management
- Quality management
- Intercompany stock transfers
- Transportation management
- Manufacturing – process or mixed-mode manufacturing
- If you use words like formulas, potency, co-product, bi-products, yield management – you’ll definitely need D365FSCM
If you don’t have any of the above... you’re probably fine with D365BC. Happy days.
Let’s talk in terms of ‘vanilla’ product…
In general, D365BC is about 30% of the cost of the implementation in comparison to D365FSCM. So, if you implement D365BC in a manufacturing organisation and the estimate for BC is say, 250 man-days of Microsoft Partner resource, then D365FSCM is going to be about 750 man-days (rule of thumb).
That’s not all. You should also allow for your own internal resource effort (very important to take that into account!).
Like all ERPs, there’s at least 3-5 times more resource needed from the customer’s own resource pool to ensure success. Microsoft ERP is generally regarded, by the analyst companies (Gartner, Forrester etc), to need 3x where, by comparison, SAP is generally at the 5x multiplier end.
So, if BC needs 250 days from a partner, you need to allocate 750 man-days from your own internal resources and backfill some of those key roles. That maths also applies to D365FSCM and to all the other ERP vendors, so check on their ‘multiplier’.
Licensing is a different issue. Surprisingly, if you’re operating legal entities in, say, 10 countries requiring 10 localisations packs for financial and tax compliance, D365BC can actually be more expensive in licenses that D365FSCM!
I know… I was surprised too when I did the maths over five years!
There’s much less to choose between the costs of BC and FSCM SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) charges, as the major cost is sitting in the services and the cost of your internal resources. So, I wouldn’t worry too much on this line item as it’s not the real differentiator.
So, your short-term budget and ability to resource such a project is a key consideration. But, if you’re essentially trading in one country with some international sales and purchases, BC will be fine and is considerably cheaper than FSCM.
Your FAQs answered
Let’s look at some of the common questions we get asked when it comes to D365BC and D365FSCM…
Are both D365 solutions compliant in my country?
Yes, both are absolutely safe and legally compliant in all the countries for which they have published “localisation packs” and are currently providing tens of thousands of businesses with great service.
Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management (sometimes referred to within the industry as ‘D365FSCM’) has more localisations than D365 Business Central (‘D365BC’ or just ‘BC’). Here’s where you can find out more about D365FSCM’s localisation features and this is where to read about D365BC’s localisation features.
Is D365BC suitable for companies with more than 200 users?
Yes, D365BC is absolutely fine with more than 200 users. Businesses who use D365FSCM are perceived as larger, more complex businesses than those who use BC. But actually, it’s the type of business requirements (functionality) that are more important in making a decision – not the size of the business.
Can D365BC handle large volumes of data?
Yes, D365BC is more than capable of handing large amounts of data. However, if you’re a very high transaction volume organisation, it’s more likely that you’re also of a size that other business requirements will be needed long before D365BC gives up the ghost on volume grounds.
To conclude – your choice will depend on your business requirements
D365BC is generally perceived as more suitable to SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) and D365FSCM is more suited to ‘complex or larger’ organisations. This is because the two solutions have found their natural place evidenced by the profile of their respective installed bases which matches this perception.
In reality, the size of your business or number of users doesn’t really matter (there’s actually a large overlap in size of businesses using each product).
Instead, it’s about your unique business requirements. Take international trading, for example. If you’re trading internationally within a group of companies (no matter how small they are) and you need intercompany trading, stock transfers, eliminations, consolidation etc… then you’re almost certainly heading straight into D365FSCM territory.
Having the right technology is just one part of your transformational journey
Although choosing the right technology for your business is important, your focus shouldn’t just be on technology. A new solution will impact all areas of your organisation, so you’ll need all your stakeholders bought into the reasons for change to achieve success. And that hinges on value creation and management.
In our value first framework, we help you initiate, execute and realise your vision for transformation.
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