Comparing Dynamics 365: What It Is, What It Was, and What It Is Not

If you’re confused about what each of the Dynamics 365 products are and are not, you’re not alone – Microsoft has recently done a lot of rebranding, reorganizing, and renaming of their business management solutions. In this article, we’re going to explain the different Dynamics 365 solutions, how they relate to each other, what previous Dynamics solutions they correspond to, and who they’re intended for. 

The Current Dynamics 365 Product Line 

In a nutshell, Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s newest set of ERP and CRM solutions intended for small, medium, and large businesses. Each of these purpose-built applications is licensed separately on a subscription basis, so businesses subscribe to individual applications with the specific functionality they need. 

Although the names are similar, Dynamics 365 is NOT Microsoft 365. The solutions from each can integrate with each other, but they’re not part of the same product line. To put it as simply as possible, Microsoft 365 is the newest version of Microsoft Office, with some brand new tools as well. 

Dynamics 365 Finance vs. Business Central 

Unlike the other Dynamics 365 apps, Business Central is an all-in-one business management suite with core ERP and CRM functionality built into one solution. It’s available on-premises or in the cloud. The biggest difference Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV, or GP users should note with Dynamics 365 Finance is that it is more application-driven to allow flexibility in designing your system around the functionality you really need. Each application is subscription-based and all of them integrate seamlessly with one another to form a whole business management toolset.  

Dynamics 365 Business Central 

Business Central is an ideal ERP solution for small- and medium-sized businesses. This solution was evolved from the framework provided by Dynamics NAV, so it offers the maturity that comes with a legacy solution, but includes newer innovations like better mobile access, easier integrations, and built-in business intelligence through Power BI. Business Central is a particularly strong solution for distribution and manufacturing organizations.  

Core functionality includes: 

  • Financial Management
  • Sales Management 
  • Supply Chain Management 
  • Project Management 
  • Warehouse Management 
  • Service Management 
  • And more

Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management 

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is now two applications – Dynamics 365 Finance and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management. This suite of ERP applications is intended more for larger businesses (of >250 employees) or organizations with specialized needs. It is not an all-in-one solution like Business Central, but more of a modular design to build your ERP solutions specifically with the applications and functionality you need, such as: 

  • Finance 
  • Supply Chain Management 
  • Sales 
  • Customer Service 
  • Field Service 
  • Human Resources 
  • Commerce 
  • Project Operations
  • Marketing 
  • Mixed Reality 

What About the Older Dynamics Solutions? 

The Dynamics 365 product line wasn’t built from scratch. As the name implies, it’s an evolution of the older Microsoft Dynamics line, which includes Dynamics NAV, AX, GP, CRM, and SL. Here’s how the lineages work: 

  • Dynamics NAV became Dynamics 365 Business Central (Essentials and Premium versions available) 
  • Dynamics AX became Dynamics 365 Finance, which has since been divided and reorganized into individual apps including: 
  • Dynamics 365 Finance 
  • Dynamics 365 Project Operations 
  • Dynamics 365 Commerce 
  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, and others 
  • Dynamics CRM became Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, which has since been divided into individual apps including: 
  • Dynamics 365 Sales 
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service 
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service 
  • Dynamics 365 Marketing, and others 
  • Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL are still independent products being sold and supported by Microsoft partners around the world, and Microsoft has repeatedly confirmed they’re committed to continued development and support for these two solutions. 

For new customers, it’s no longer possible to purchase licenses for Dynamics NAV, AX, or CRM. However, existing customers currently using these products and still on an annual support plan can continue to add licenses and modules. Numerous businesses are still using these solutions, and they are still actively supported by many Microsoft partners. 

Want to learn more about Dynamics 365? 

Hopefully, this article has helped make the current evolution of Dynamics 365 more understandable. There is also a ton of great new functionality being introduced in Dynamics 365 that doesn’t correspond to older versions of the software solutions. If you’d like to learn more about moving your existing Microsoft Dynamics solutions to the cloud, migrating to Dynamics 365, or other Microsoft business management solutions like Power BI and industry add-onscontact us today to talk to a Microsoft solutions expert. Here at OTT, Inc., we specialize in helping customers get measurable results from their technology solutions.

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