Running a small business requires employees and owners to wear several hats during the course of their day. Small businesses tend to ask more of their employees, as the organization may not have the resources necessary to hire full-time staff to fill each required role. In addition to employees bleeding their roles into other areas of the company, small businesses can have several platforms cobbled together to fill their software needs.
Still, that appears to be changing -- especially as small businesses and IT service providers start to standardize on single-company SaaS services. Entrenched examples include Salesforce and Oracle NetSuite for CRM, ERP and perhaps even PSA capabilities.
What about emerging rivals? That's where Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, a new offering set to debut April 2, enters the picture. The Microsoft announcement comes only one day after Salesforce unveiled small business editions of its CRM and help desk platforms.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Explained
The blended cloud ERP and CRM platform claims to connect finances, sales, service, and operations data to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions, and enable growth. The new platform integrates with Office 365, and can be customized or extended for specific industry needs with PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Power BI.
Business Central, according to Microsoft, addresses:
- Business without silos. Unify your business, and boost efficiency with automated tasks and workflows—all integrated within familiar Office tools like Outlook, Word, and Excel.
- Actionable insights. Achieve greater outcomes and gain a complete view of your business with connected data, business analytics, and guidance delivered by Microsoft’s leading intelligent technologies.
- Solutions built to evolve. Start quickly, grow at your own pace and adapt in real time with a flexible platform that makes it easy to extend Business Central based on your changing business needs.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central will be sold through the company's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners. But we're curious to see if MSPs and IT service providers embrace the platform to run their businesses.
MSPs As Customers?
For MSPs already using Office 365 for themselves and for their clients, but have other solutions to help manage the businesses, it may be a good idea to at least test this new platform. When platform components truly work together seamlessly, it makes managing a business so much easier.
If MSPs end up adopting this solution for their own business, it will be interesting to see if they also start recommending the platform for their clients as well.
According to Microsoft, Dynamics 365 Business Central will be generally available on April 2, 2018 in 14 countries. The initial lineup includes the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, and Finland.
The service will active in Australia and New Zealand on July 1, 2018.
Additional reporting from Joe Panettieri.