Microsoft did release a new roadmap together with the announcement of Dynamics 365 – Business Central. The roadmap unveils the future product development of Dynamics NAV.
The plan of Microsoft is to combine Dynamics 365 with Dynamics NAV finally later this year. Microsoft forces with this step the Cloud-approach further in their product-strategy. And to bring all ERP-products into one line, Microsoft plans to replace the name “Dynamics NAV” with “Dynamics 365 Business Central”.
Microsoft did the same two years ago with “Dynamics AX”, which is called “Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Enterprise Edition” now.
The future of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Microsoft intention is to provide a seamless transition between the Cloud and an on-premise solution. And to make this as friction less as possible, Microsoft transfers both solutions into one code base (the Dynamics NAV code base).
The offering of different Dynamics 365 versions will provide customers more options to choose from. At the moment, Microsoft offers versions for Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Talent, Finance and Operations, Retail, Project Service Automation, Marketing and Business Central. Additionally, Microsoft will keep the on-premise version to provide a solution for customers who are not able to utilize a Cloud-solution.
This on-premise/hosted version will additionally give access to the full code base as known of Dynamics NAV. But, when going this way, the code base will not be valid for the cloud. The cloud version does support Extensions only.
On-premise or cloud?
One of the major decisions in future will be, how much a customer wants to modify the code base. The cloud version is easy to maintain (and probably cheaper for the one or the other), but it will limit any modifications to the use of Extensions.
Compared to “standard development”, Extensions do have a limitation in possibilities of modifying the application itself. Due to the approach of seamless upgrades, the modification of existing “standard code” is not allowed. Additionally, Microsoft does not allow to use the .NET-framework in Extensions.
Therefor, the intended modifications of a new Dynamics 365 installation will influence the decision between Cloud and on-premise also.
Let’s see if Microsoft will go the path as described in the roadmap. From a technical point of view, it will definitely be the case. But the new name might cause trouble in the Partner-scene, because a lot of Partners and Products do have “NAV” in the name. On top of that, the brand name “NAV” is established and popular. So, let’s see!
(Btw. blogs… blogs do need new names too :-))