What Should You Look For in a Business Central Partner?

For everyone looking at new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions, Microsoft’s full embrace of digital transformation has brought Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central into the spotlight.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (commonly shortened to “Business Central”) is a tremendous deal for multiple reasons. This solution boasts a cost-effective subscription pricing point and powerful functionality that effortlessly scales with your organization. While the software is great, it (unfortunately) won’t implement itself. Business Central is true ERP software, and as such it requires more knowledge and experience to get it implemented correctly than, say, a simple QuickBooks implementation.

Business Central’s Extensive Capabilities

The capabilities in Business Central are very broad and deep, encompassing:

  • General Ledger

  • Accounts Payable

  • Banking

  • Inventory

  • Sales

  • Receivables

  • Fixed Assets

  • Manufacturing

  • Job Costing

  • Warehouse Management

  • Service Management

  • ...And More

Some Business Central customers implement additional apps to extend the standard solution and provide extra functionality. These supplementary apps include things like EDI, document management solutions, or perhaps automated sales tax add-ons. There are many options out there and they all require specialized knowledge and experience.

When purchasing Business Central, it’s important to realize that the software must be purchased directly from a Business Central partner as it can’t be purchased directly from Microsoft. This is different than a product like Office 365, which can be purchased directly from Microsoft.

Not All Cloud Service Providers are Created Equal

Currently, you can purchase Business Central from a Microsoft Cloud Service provider (CSP). A word of caution: just because a CSP has been certified to sell Business Central, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re qualified to implement and support the solution. Many CSPs started out by selling Office 365 and Azure hosting, so they don’t necessarily have expertise in ERP software. They may not have accounting experience, and since accounting functionality is the cornerstone of an ERP system, this is a red flag. All of Business Central’s nifty capabilities feed into the financials! And accounting experience is just the beginning. Will they be knowledgeable about standard cost setup in manufacturing or workflows for a big warehouse? As you can see, it starts to get very involved, very quickly.

In order for a provider to sell Business Central, there are no mandatory education requirements. No test, no certifications, nothing. So, if you’re unlucky enough to purchase from a CSP that isn’t capable of properly implementing and supporting Business Central, you need to go find a qualified implementation partner.

Finding a Qualified Business Central Partner to Implement Your Solution

The first step you should take as you figure out who you want as a Business Central implementation partner is to make a list of your basic partner requirements. Have you thought about hiring a sole proprietor? Maybe the person that helped you with your installation of another product a couple of years ago? (You know...the one that now needs to be replaced). And if you do go the route of a sole proprietor and they do successfully install Business Central -- what about when you want support? Will they be available whenever you need them or will they be busy implementing someone else?

The Skinny on Business Central Implementation

Microsoft 365 Business Central is hands-down the best product out there for mid-sized businesses seeking success. That being said, it’s a comprehensive system that takes a team of experts to implement the various functionalities in the solution. One person can’t effectively cover all of its functionality.

Additionally, if you want to modify or improve your system, you’ll need your implementation team to have experienced developers available. It can’t just be any developer, since you’ll need someone with experience working with Business Central. You also need a support team for long-term effectiveness. Find one that is totally devoted to the product (and to making you and your company successful).

Providers can’t simply gain experience in Business Central overnight. It takes time. Business Central evolved from Microsoft Dynamics NAV (something Advanced Business Systems (ABS) has been implementing and supporting for over 20 years). But again, just because you know NAV doesn’t mean you necessarily know Business Central. The interface is different. As such, it would really help to be experienced in both.

We understand that this sounds like you’re asking a lot of your implementation partners. Don’t settle! There are great partners out there if you know where to look.

Advanced Business Systems is one of the very few companies uniquely positioned to make your Business Central installation a total success. We launched the first successful Business Central go-live in the world in the fall of 2016. We know all aspects of Business Central -- from both an implementation and support standpoint. Give us a call and let us help you and your company be successful with this wonderful solution.

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