The Latest in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Functionality: What’s New and What’s Coming
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is quickly establishing itself as the fastest-growing cloud-based ERP platform for growing small-to-midsized organizations. In fact, Mike Morton, general manager at Microsoft, announced earlier in 2021 that they are seeing a 200 percent annual growth rate in users, with over 1,000 companies a month adopting Business Central (and growing). This impressive adoption rate says a lot about the value and functionality Business Central delivers.
So, what are the latest features and capabilities of Business Central to earn it all the hype?
In this article, we’ll cover the Business Central functionality that is already available, what features were recently released, what capabilities will be available in 2022, what major business challenges users are facing and how Business Central is addressing these obstacles, and much more.
Whether you currently use Business Central and want to know what is new and what’s ahead, or you are considering this scalable cloud king ERP for your organization, this article is for you.
What Challenges is Business Central Addressing?
One of the biggest business challenges Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central addresses is lack of scalability. Many small organizations reach a point where they outgrow QuickBooks or Excel and need to move to a more comprehensive ERP system. However, because their business has grown, they may not have the staff or resources to manage and operate an enterprise-level ERP system.
Business Central provides the perfect solution for growing small-to-midsized companies by offering a cloud-based platform that is easy to use and doesn’t require significant IT resources to manage and maintain.
Another challenge Business Central addresses is budget constraints. Smaller businesses often have limited budgets, making it difficult to invest in an ERP system. But with Business Central’s subscription pricing model, small businesses can get all the functionality of an enterprise-level system without breaking the bank.
In addition to these, Business Central helps address the need for integration. As businesses grow, they often need to integrate systems, such as sales and CRM, HRM, or eCommerce. to manage different aspects of their operations. And this is where Business Central really shines, as it offers out-of-the-box functionality and integrations with some of the most trusted business applications on the market.
Business Functionality Offered Today
At its core, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central provides centralized operational and business management functionalities to enable growing companies to manage their processes across all areas of business operations. This includes:
- Financial management
- Inventory management
- Project management
- Fixed Assets
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Supply chain management
- Service management
- Human resources (HR)
- And more
In addition to these functional areas, Business Central is delivered with affordable monthly licensing on the secure and trusted Microsoft Dynamics Azure cloud platform. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365 (formerly Microsoft Office) applications and performs updates and releases automatically, so there are no disruptions to your business. All of this is a big evolution from the on-premise ERPs of yesteryear that required expensive servers, extensive IT maintenance and management, and costly, disruptive upgrades to stay current.
To dive into deeper detail on the different areas Business Central’s standard
functionality, download our free whitepaper:
Because Business Central is exceedingly flexible and scalable in licensing, tailoring, and functionality, it’s setting the standard for an ERP investment that can last the life of your business.
While Business Central does a fantastic job at providing all of the business functionality customers need to run their growing organizations, it must be acknowledged that every organization has unique requirements for how they manage their business processes. So even though Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central provides all of these functions out-of-the-box (OOTB), sometimes companies still require customizations (and this is true with any ERP solution).
To address customizations and tailoring, Business Central uses a groundbreaking approach called ‘extensions.’ Extensions can be built by domain experts, developers, or power users and allow business users to add-on functionality and processes to Business Central without requiring developer resources for installing them. In fact, many extensions are available for download directly inside Microsoft’s AppSource.
Because extensions don’t disrupt the automatic updates or underlying Business Central code, and because of how extensions are built and quickly and easily delivered, they add business value from day one while lowering IT costs and complexity involved with typical business software implementations.
Recently Released Business Central Functionality
As business users are always asking for more functionality, Microsoft was sure to develop compelling and useful new features for Business Central this year. Typically, Business Central has two major updates per calendar year, known as Wave 1 and Wave 2.
You can view the extensive and complete list of released features and enhancements in each release from Microsoft’s documentation here. It even includes the business case and value for each addition.
Let’s look at the highlights in 2021:
Navigation and usability improvements: A large variety of client interface and experience features were released, along with updates and improvements. Among these are easier Power BI setup, in-app help tools, printing support, and getting started functionality for faster onboarding.
Administration enhancements: These include delivery and setup features and updates that help partners administer and migrate customers to Business Central faster, with more flexibility, and ease how administrators manage licensing and permissions. In addition, Business Central development tools have now moved entirely to Visual Studio Code.
Application enhancements: Dozens of the most requested features and functions were added to the Business Central application. These include:
- Bank reconciliation improvements
- Auto creation of lot and serial number information cards
- Bin codes in jobs
- Dimension corrections (for G/L Entries)
- Inventory documents adjustment
- Default dimension control
- Account Schedule column layouts
- Get Receipt Lines and Get Ship Lines page inclusion updates
- Chart of Accounts overview page improvements
Microsoft 365 integration: As part of the larger Microsoft 365 business suite, Business Central gains even more powerful integrations with popular Office 365 applications such as Word, Outlook, Teams, and Excel.
Country and regional expansion: Business users in new countries and regions with different business requirements will be pleased to know that Business Central is available in even more places and languages.
Power BI and Power Platform integration: As dashboard and reporting needs continue to grow, Business Central users gain better insights and visuals through tighter integrations with Power BI and the Power Platform. This includes Virtual tables for Microsoft Dataverse and a Power BI connector to work with Business Central APIs instead of with web services only.
To see the Business Central Wave 1 2021 release in action, watch this video: What’s New in Business Central Wave 1 (Coffee with Chris)
To see the Business Central Wave 2 2021 release in action, watch this video: What’s New in Business Central Wave 2 (Coffee with Chris)
What’s Next For Business Central in 2022?
Now that we’ve seen the releases from the latest waves of updates to Business Central, it’s natural to wonder what features and functionality will be coming next year in 2022.
Unfortunately, Microsoft is not yet releasing much information about what will be included in the next wave of updates. Currently, the only published updates for Business Central in 2022 are still part of Wave 2, where a few feature releases are extended to February or March of next year. This includes some report-sharing functionality and extended job queuing user capabilities.
However, Microsoft has made it clear that they continue to invest heavily in the product and that business users can expect more great things to come.
We recommend bookmarking this page and checking back frequently for updates!
In addition, we have a very large (and very free) Business Central Training Center available on-demand. Access instructional videos, tips, tricks, and walkthroughs so you can become a BC expert today.