Tom Jenkins is the Managing Director at Dynamics Consultants. As well as having a strong product knowledge, his strategic knowledge of industry and the business landscape helps him to provide thought leadership to a range of vertical sectors.
Microsoft Interview – Supporting Dynamics NAV and Business Central
General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Mike Morton was interviewed about the future of the product and supporting on premise NAV. He talked about Microsoft’s direction with regard toSaaS and on premise Dynamics 365 Business Central and how new features and updates will be handled. Here, we look at some of the key points, with some thoughts on support and mindset moving forward.
Microsoft’s Mike Morton: “We’re committed to continue the ongoing support on Dynamics NAV”
A bit of background on SaaS vs On Premise
In 2016, Microsoft announced the successor of Navision or Dynamics NAV - their traditional, on-premise based ERP solution for the mid-market. After some changes with branding and positioning, Microsoft has a market leading cloud-based ERP solution for small and medium business: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Whilst Microsoft are leading with the SaaS offering, Dynamics NAV is still available as Business Central on-premises. But with new features such as Teams integration being released only on the SaaS version, the tens of thousands of organisations around the world that still use an on premise deployment are questioning what support they can expect in the near future. To give you insights in this topic, we’ve summarized a recent interview with Mike Morton, general manager for Dynamics NAV and D365 Business Central at Microsoft Corp.
The Interview with Mike Morton
To see the full interview, please watch the following video:
With this in mind, here are the most important messages that Mike Morton shared in that interview with QBS Group (the UK’s leading Dynamics master VAR) on March 4, 2021:
- “Microsoft is publishing an overview of the support and lifecycle policies on all their products including Dynamics NAV on an ongoing basis. You can find that information here: Microsoft Lifecycle Policy | Microsoft Docs
- “Microsoft is committed to continue the support on Dynamics NAV [on-prem Business Central], to continue with new releases and to keep these products on the roadmap for as long as we can foresee. There is no secret plan to stop releasing new on-premise versions”
- “We want to align our on-premise product and our cloud product as much as possible, but there will also be innovations that are cloud only. An example is the integration with Teams, that is only part of the cloud offering and not of the on-premise offering“
- “We expect that the vast majority of innovation and the new capabilities will be at the cloud product. So, we do want to encourage every Dynamics NAV customer to migrate to Business Central. We believe that the cloud product gives the best experience for our customers and is the most cost-effective scenario in the long term”
What does this mean for on-premise Dynamics?
So, the good news for all Dynamics NAV and Business Central on-premise customers is that the support will continue, as there will also be new versions available. However, the real innovation is expected in Business Central SaaS as the main product line in Microsoft’s strategic offering for the mid-market.
Spending budgets on business software typically qualifies as long-term investments. After all, companies don’t just buy and implement an ERP or CRM solution for just a few weeks or months. For exactly the same reason, you need to understand what the outlook is on future support, how long you can count on that support and what the best scenarios are for a transformation to Dynamics 365 Business Central in the near future.
With all of this in mind, the good news is that you don’t have to make a kneejerk reaction. However, it is important to have an understanding of what it means to your business in the long term with decisions on migrating to SaaS.
“I prefer on-premise to SaaS”
There are a wide range of reasons that companies would want to have an on-premise environment – it is not just legacy installs but new implementations of Business Central. These include:
- Poor internet connectivity
- Lack of control on critical systems
- Preference for up-front payment rather than recurring billing
- Greater control over development.
- Access to the back-end database
- Personal choice
Some of these reasons are likely to be resolved as a matter of time, especially with Microsoft stating that they are trying to resolve issues such as legislation. With the SaaS and on-premise options being on the same codebase, modifications written as extensions, and the comfort that Microsoft will be continuing an on-premise solution for the foreseeable future, you don’t have to compromise now for the sake of the future. At Dynamics Consultants, we believe in doing what is right for the customer, which means that we will implement on-premise or SaaS as appropriate. We also have extensive experience of migrating from one model to the other, so you can move to SaaS when you are good and ready.
I find their approach to our relationship very professional whilst being refreshingly realistic. We now consider them to be part of our teamTechnical Director, Bainbridge International