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The Central Way

Microsoft’s Business Central is an all-in-one mid-market Business application software built to empower UAE’s fast-growing SME segment, by streamlining their financials through comprehensive business processes, which allow them to ultimately improve customer experience at each and every interaction.

Microsoft has unveiled what it refers to as an all-in-one solution to help SMEs streamline their finances and business processes. The new SaaS solution Dynamics 365 Business Central, is according to Microsoft, is tailor made for the smaller and medium size Businesses that have outgrown their traditional accounting software and need to streamline their financials and business processes, improve customer interactions and make better decisions with integrated intelligence.

Built from the ground up with SMEs in mind, Business Central is part of the of Dynamics 365 suite of business solutions, that a business can grow into, as their needs further expand requiring them to use one system to manage their finances, inventory, sales, and operations.

Maureen Mansour-Khoury, Senior Product Manager, Dynamics 365, Microsoft MEA says, “Dynamics 365 Business Central, simply allows SMEs to get a holistic view of the business and chart financial performance in real time with built-in Power BI dashboards and protected by state-of-the-art security features. This is what makes it unique and useful for businesses that have outgrown their basic accounting software. Ultimately, businesses will benefit from having ‘one version of truth’ to monitor the health of their entire operation with live real-time data across all processes.”

Business Central is relevant to specific expectations and challenges in the SME segment vis-vis a regular ERP or an accounting software in terms of enhanced capabilities and as an all in one.

Maureen adds, “For a place like UAE, the SME community has proven to be a strategic driver of different industries in terms of growth, innovation, and most of all, job creation. Small businesses here, tend to easily grow out of their existing systems and processes, which eventually results in specific challenges like maintaining customer loyalty through exceptional service and at the same time being able to manage your cashflow, with critical business insights that allow you to make accurate decisions right away at any point in time. Therefore, SME entities are particularly keen on keeping everything together and streamlining operations in order to boost productivity, and thrive in an increasingly competitive market.”

With built-in intelligence and integration with Office 365, the solution is easy to use and meets the expectations of an SME by keeping its people, processes and data together - giving them a competitive edge while accelerating growth. It is also a cloud based solution that can help the Businesses in the mid-market segment accelerate to towards making more of their IT workflows cloud based.

Maureen elaborates, “The cloud is now viewed as a need rather than a choice. And it brings true agility with it as one of the key advantages. Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based solution that puts both agility and flexibility at the core of any small business, enabling them to start quickly, grow at their own pace and adapt in real time. It also gives businesses the power to easily tailor and extend the application to meet their unique business or industry-specific needs. And our strong ecosystem of Microsoft partners with deep knowledge of Microsoft NAV as the origin of Business Central, can easily help SMEs migrate from old processes and disparate systems to the modern workplace in no time.”

Even if a company is not currently using Office 365, it can still subscribe and make the most out of the features of Dynamics 365 Business Central. However, to give a seamless experience between both applications and enhance employee productivity in a modern workplace, Business Central is fully integrated with Office 365 even using single sign-on for both solutions, essentially saving time for employees on a daily basis.

“For example, in Business Central, you can open data in Excel and make edits there that can even be uploaded back into the core solution. Naturally, printing reports using Word with your company header templates can be used for all relevant outgoing documents while a number of, doing critical tasks with your Business Central data can be utilized right from in Outlook. One such example is that a Sales person can even create a quote for a customer based on the intelligence of the solution to pre-populate data from the customer email request and in just a few clicks, the quote is send it back to the customer This integration saves time and enhances customer experience harnessing the power of built-in A,” adds Maureen.

Further, Business Central can be easily integrated with the D365 Business Applications suite including all Apps D365 for Sales, Customer Service and Field Service using the Common Data Service, which shares data across all applications, making integration seamless and allowing Azure IoT components to connect devices for relevant organizations and harness the power of machine learning & Artificial intelligence.

Business Central extends options for payment functionalities and other processes using pre-built options from a wider partner ecosystem. To meet specific needs, businesses can use prebuilt solutions from Microsoft and its partners that extend the capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central when there are unique business processes or industry requirements.

Maureen adds, “SMEs can also take advantage of Microsoft’s rich partner ecosystem and leverage pre-built applications (available through the extensive AppSource marketplace) to easily and cost effectively extend Dynamics 365 Business Central to fit their industry or line of business needs. They can also use Power Apps to create an App for their organization easily by a citizen developer without even writing one line of code as well as Microsoft Flow to extend existing business processes.”

Business Central can bring systems and processes together to unify a business from finance and operations to sales and marketing with a comprehensive and modern solution because it can easily integrate and extend into applications like payroll, banking apps, or custom APIs. There are numerous advantages it offers. For instance, users get the same consistent and secure experience whether on a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone and they can access customer information, create sales orders, review and approve quotes and purchase orders—wherever business takes you. The solution helps shorten the time from quote to cash when there is a need to set up customers or vendors, create quotes, process orders, and submit invoices without leaving Outlook or send invoices as PDF attachments that include a link to expedite payments. It can also automate and secure processes to improve productivity and get more done with easy-to-create workflows, audit trails, and enterprise-level security that connects workflows across sales and accounting to automatically track cash flow. Secure purchasing, credit authorization, and vendor payment processes with pre-defined alerts and approval workflows.

Fine tuning supply chain deliverables and security

Dynamics 365 Business Central streamlines and optimizes operations to deliver products or services on-time while reducing costs. For example, it has a built-in intelligence capacity to predict when and what you need to replenish, ensuring accurate inventory levels are maintained. Leverage sales forecasts to automatically generate production plans and create purchase orders.

It helps operations teams avoid shortages and lost sales by automatically offering substitute items and services when the ones requested are not available. Businesses can also get built-in recommendations on when to pay vendors to take advantage of vendor discounts or avoid overdue penalties. And Finance teams can manage budgets and monitor progress with real-time data on Account receivables/payables, bank reconciliation and even fixed asset management. available resources.

From a security standpoint, Business Central helps SMEs secure their data and stay compliant to enterprise level industry standards such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Its has built-in privacy-by-default methodologies to help business administrators grant and restrict access to personal data on multiple levels, and enable audit trails to ensure advanced security and accountability.

Maureen says, “Regardless of size, Dynamics 365 Business Central delivers the depth of integrated business applications and analytics, productivity, and IoT solutions at cloud efficiency - giving SMEs the flexibility to scale as per their needs. Business Central is truly an all-in-one solution that allows SMEs to start with what they need and grow at their own pace to run the entire business in the cloud. They can also easily import data from other solutions using data migration wizards and assisted setup, get contextual guidance with in-product tutorials, and adapt in real time.”

The new solution offers a lot of promise to the mid-market in terms of functionalities and utility value.
With the advantages it offer, it is likely to appeal to a wide range of companies in the mid-market, from companies running single-user accounting or operations software or basic ERP to those looking to looking to reduce paper based processes and automate some functions.