Where is the limit in Business Central CRM capability when integrating it with D365 Sales? (part 2)

So, after introduction to this topic, it is time to continue with it and say when you would need to consider extending your Business Central with a license for Sales Professional.

First, what I would like to introduce you to is a small dictionary. The reason is that we have a few of the same, but they have different names. The reason is that Business Central is a financial-focused system, and all data you see in it are focused on your financial transactions with your clients. On the other side, Sales Professional is a Customer-Centric system, and all data in it is focused so that you can have a better view of your clients and make better relationships with them.

Business CentralSales Professional
ContactsContacts (only person)
CustomerAccount
VendorAccount
ItemsProducts
Unit of MeasureUnit Group

After the dictionary, you probably already have a perspective of the focus of each system, as I have previously mentioned.

But why should we stay on a dictionary when we can split all of the things and dive deep into the actual capabilities of a Sales Professional? You will have a better perspective after seeing what is different and when it would be nice to consider extending your Business Central with a Sales Professional license.

Contacts

So, first of all, if we focus on a Contact table, we will see that Contact can be both Company and Person in Business Central, but in the Sales Professional, Contact is only based on a Person.

But besides this difference key difference is the data that we see in both solutions. Sales Professionals have all data which is essential for a salesperson, for example, all recent Opportunities, general information about clients (Name, Email, Preferred Method of Contact, Address, Marital Status, Contact Preferences, Marketing Information of origin of Contact… etc.) and Timeline which I will explain in a separate section because it is on of the main features which are focused to the Sales Professional users.

We have some of the same information on the Business Central side, but all focus on different users. All data in Business Central is focused on a client’s financial data. Still, of course, it is not only financial stuff, there is some of the information that a Sales Professional has, but the whole UI is different and makes users first see relevant data for one ERP system.

Accounts

If we look at the Accounts (Customers/Vendors) situation, it’s like the Contacts. But the main difference is in the gettering Customer and Vendors to the one record, which is the crucial difference from where we can understand the different focus of these two solutions. As previously mentioned, several times, besides UI focus difference whole solution is for another type of user, and each of the solutions makes you look to the specific data which is most important for key users of each of them.

To better understand the difference, you can see that Sales Professional focuses on the Annual Revenue of the whole company, how many employees the company has, what is the company’s industry of the company… etc. Regarding all of this data, you can see that a Sales Professional focuses on adjusting your sales team to make even better sales to this client.

Lead

Lead does not exist in the Business Central, and Lead is our introduction to the Business Process Flow.

Let’s first start with the actual usage of the Leads, specially Leads for Business Central users. Lead is the first contact with some Account or Contact. This means that the salesperson has just talked with somebody, but they are still unsure if they can make actual sales, so we are creating Leads for the starting status. One of the most important things with leads is that they can be used with existing clients and those you don’t have in the system. Suppose contact has been made with someone you don’t have in the system. In that case, another does not create a Contact or Account until you qualify them for the next stage of negotiations, not synchronized as a Contact/Vendor/Account. You will not have several useless clients from whom you have never sold or bought anything in your Business Central. But for the salespersons, this is most important because they will start to negotiate and negotiate sales from here. While salespersons are trying to make as many sales as possible, there is a graphical process that takes them through precisely defined steps to focus on essential communication with potential clients. This graphical leading is called Business Process Flow.

All salespersons can Qualify or Disqualify a Lead. Qualification takes us to the Opportunity, where Contact and Account will be created if they don’t exist in the system already. And important is that Business Process Flow will continue regardless we are getting on to a different table.

Opportunity

From Opportunity, we are returning to the familiar thing we have in Business Central. Still, from the side of a Sales Professional, it depends on how far we will go with the Opportunity. Would we go to the moment to create a Quote inside Sales Professional, or will we leave all financially focused data to the Business Central?

Sales Professional is fully capable of giving a quote, order, and invoice, but as recommended, we should provide a quote from Sales Professional or leave only on the Opportunity level and go to the Business Central and make a Quote from here.

This is all up to you and your use case. It is important to know that all Items and Units of Measure are synced between both systems. All data is available on both sides, and you will receive it back to Sales Professional if you create Quotes in the Business Central. From the perspective of Business Process Flow, it is always there until you finish with this Opportunity and close it as Won or Lost.

Timeline

Timeline is one of the greatest strengths of Sales applications because you have it on all tables and can see all communication with a client. It doesn’t matter if it is regarding just Account or Contact communication or sales regarding the Opportunity or Lead. You can write it manually or make a Phone Call or Email Appointment. Still, more important, if you connect your Outlook with Sales, what can be created in just a setup connection, you can automatically generate all communication with clients and be informed about every and each communication that happens with a specific client.

And with the new release, you have Teams integration based on the table, which means that you can start the conversation which stays connected to the record, and everyone can see it and be informed of what you have to say about the Client or Sales Opportunity.

Conclusion of part 2.

We have passed key differences in some of the tables most used in collaborations for both systems. In the next blog post, I will explain to you how it is possible to make Data Synchronization and make basic integration of them both so that users can get full capabilities of both solutions and get the correct data in the right solution so that users of both solutions can have the best possible information’s which are related to them and that each company which has both of the solutions can make even usage of them both.

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Dynamics 365 Sales Professional Infographic

Recently I finished my session about using Dynamics 365 Sales professional with Business Central at Directions EMEA. But there were many questions about D365 Sales Professional capabilities… what is possible, where are limitations…

First, Sales Professional is a CRM solution for SMB companies targeting businesses with more straightforward sales needs with basic sales force automation and limited customizations. But it is still a powerful tool, and I wanted to show you what this app includes using an infographic model. You can see details here:

What more is essential to know? You cannot mix a Sales Professional license with Sales Enterprise (and other Sales licenses)… if you decide to use Sales Professional, you must use it for all Sales users. But if this is not enough for you (at some moment, your company has grown), you can upgrade this license to Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise.

If you like this infographic, I’ll add a similar one for Sales Enterprise.

Business Central Free of Charge

Directions EMEA has just been finished, and there was a lot of good news. One is access to the Business Central environment with the Microsoft 365 license. Now statement ‘free of charge” is partially correct.

What does it mean? You cannot get the Business Central environment free of charge as you must buy a minimum of one full user to get access (the whole article is about the cloud option). But when you have access to the environment, you can get free-of-charge access for all your users with Microsoft 365 license. This is huge news. As far as I know, there is no business solution (minimum, no global solution) to which you have free access. Of course, Microsoft will not cannibalize itself, and this access has some limitations, but this is a fantastic thing and can dramatically increase this solution’s use in the future.

You can find details in the following table about what you can use in Business Central with which license type. I hope it is helpful.

Dynamics 365 SMB Ecosystem Map – October 2022

You already know Microsoft publishes new releases two times per year (wave 1 in April and wave 2 in October). You can find all news in Microsoft’s release plans. There is also an amazing ecosystem map by Vadim Korepin about all solutions in Dynamics 365 family.

But as I’m most connected with SMB solutions inside Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, I wanted to share more details on what is available for SMB users and companies from Microsoft Dynamics 365 family. Three business applications (Dynamics 365 Business Central, Sales Professional, Customer Service Professional) covered ERP and CRM parts but with plenty of features. I’m sure no other vendor currently can offer more for SMB customers worldwide.

You can look at and download the Ecosystem map for Dynamics 365 SMB solutions I created (resolution is 3840×2160):

I hope this SMB ecosystem map will be helpful for you, and we will have more features and maybe even more solutions here in the future.

Business Central and D365 Sales

I know it has passed since I wrote the first part of this topic, ‘Where is a limit in Business Central CRM capability and when integrating it with D365 Sales (part 1),’ and people expect the second part. But as I’ll speak about this topic on Directions EMEA this year, I decided to postpone the following parts after this event. I would like to keep it interesting and show many of these topics in my session. Of course, as I cannot go so deep into details in 45 minutes, I’ll continue here with publishing my point of view related to this topic.

In the meantime, if you will attend Directions EMEA in Hamburg this year, I warmly invite you to come to my session and discuss this. My session will hold on November 10, 2022, from 11:15 to 12:00 in Room: Hall Y4 – Dynamics 365 Sales Professional for Business Central Users.

But I promise I’ll continue with this topic here in my blog.

Where is the limit in Business Central CRM capability and when integrating it with D365 Sales? (part 1)

We know that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (previously NAV) is primarily an ERP solution. But even so, this product has some customer relationship management capabilities. And name ‘Business Central’ probably comes because this solution can provide all business activities in one solution. But as this is primarily an ERP solution, the biggest strength comes in ERP, and in other areas, such as CRM or HRM, the level of functionalities is significantly lower. But let us make an overview of what is already in Business Central, but we can say it can be treated as CRM.

First, what we can find are a good customer and contact management. Still, as customers play an essential role in every ERP solution, we can emphasize more about contact management where we have some basic information about contacts and some segmentation.

You can also find some level of creating and tracking opportunities and sales quotes and interactions. You can also have some possibilities to make direct phone calls from BC or send an email. This is more or less what we have, but this is not a small number of functionalities.

Today I’ll not go into details about all these features. I just wanted to show some basic information about them and explain on a high level in which situation you should think about an additional and full CRM solution. As a full and independent CRM solution, I’ll focus on Dynamics 365 Sales Professional:

  • First, naturally, if you don’t have enough functionalities, you will take a specialized CRM solution, but let’s talk in detail on another occasion.
  • Second, the price can be an issue. If you have pure CRM users, they still need to pay $70 or even $100 for the license as they must pay a BC license even if they need only CRM capabilities. Sales Professional full license price is $65, and you can get full CRM. But with the new attach license for Dynamics 365 Sales Professional, BC clients can add a full CRM solution for an additional only $20.
  • Third, as I mentioned in the beginning, Business Central is still primarily an ERP solution, meaning its UI is built for ERP and not for CRM. Even if you have many CRM features, when we compare usage of these features, this is definitely not even close to being useable as in a regular CRM solution.
Dynamics 365 Sales Lead to Opportunity Business Proces Flow

Today I wanted just to make a high-level overview, but in future texts, I’ll try to be more accurate about when CRM in Business Central is enough for you and when you should think about integration with Dynamics 365 Sales.

What MB-800 exam can guarantee?

I wanted to write this article as I recently passed this exam and I wrote about how to prepare yourself. I already mentioned in this article that if you have an experience in BC or NAV, you generally don’t need to prepare for this exam (but it implies you know and understand BC on the cloud). Now I’m not planning to continue in this direction how to prepare for the exam, but I want to discuss about what we can expect as result of passing this exam.

Generally the most of questions as well as case of study will show your real knowledge, but to be honest you can learn it even if you are not experienced and it cannot prove some specific level of knowledge. Of course, there are some questions non related with real implementation process and as a person with 15+ years in implementation I don’t know why someone thins it is important to know some report by heart, but there is not so many such a questions.

What is more important by my opinion is related with this that I personally am not a fan of this new exam models where we have one exam from whole solution. OK, for F&O we have 4 functional exams and there are similar situation with CRM exams, but there much more topics there and personally I think we have a small number of exams even in F&O and CRM areas. But when we talk about BC, I really cannot believe that one who will pass just one common exam can prove some serious knowledge. Generally BC is implemented very often as a big project and you cannot expect universal consultant who can implement all areas.

Based on my experience, we need to have minimum three exams: one core (we can use MB-800 for this) and another for essential features and third one for premium features (+WMS). And OK, we need development exam. In this case if these exams are prepared on the level as this one, they can prove serial knowledge.

Just to clarify, I like this exam, especially as it comes after a couple of years with no certification for NAV and BC. This is really well done job, but I think partners will need more. Currently, when you see that someone passed MB-800, it can guarantee that this person have basic understanding and knowledge of Business Central. It can be a case that this person is an expert, but this is definitely not necessary to pass this exam.

But as my conclusion, I would like to encourage all BC consultants (and developers as well) to try to pass this exam. Generally I think it is a good idea and especially I would like to recommend passing this exam for junior consultants. Preparing for this exam, they can learn something new and consolidate knowledge. Start with Learning Paths as now we have a lot of really good materials there.

Disclaimer: Everything I wrote in this article is my personal point of view and based on my personal experience and opinion. It doesn’t represent any official opinion companies I’m connected with.

Business Central & Power Platform Exams Experiences

Recently I’ve passed these two new exams: Business Central Functional Consultant Associate and Power Platform App Maker Associate and I would like to share some my experience about them. I’ll try to be brief and just to give you some basic directions.

First I need to admit that I’m not big fan of this kind of certification. Based on my previous experience 10+ year ago, it was more about getting certificate and less about proving a real knowledge. I had an opportunity to meet a lot highly certified persons, but they couldn’t implement even the easiest projects. But still, partners wanted to invest in certification as some kind of knowledge proof.

But with new exams in the last few years things are slightly changed and I had opportunity to check them. But with these two new exams I’m talking about, things improved drastically. And I can say I’m really positive surprised.

First what I want to say is that I didn’t prepare myself for these two exams. And when I say ‘I didn’t prepare’, I mean it for real. I wanted to see if it is possible to pass these exams with real experience and practical knowledge. And I succeed! From my perspective this is the most important fact – if you are waring with these technologies and have a real practical knowledge, you can pass them without any problem. It still means you should be focused on questions as they can sometimes be complicated, especially when it comes to the case studies. I didn’t want to say these exams are easy as they are not, but you don’t need to prepare yourself if you know topics. But to be honest, you can still find a couple of useless questions, you really don’t need in practice, but even if you fail on some of them you will still have big chance to pass exams.

What I want to mention about BC exam is to be prepared with SaaS topics as this is very important. It is not enough to know only features in system, as you need to understand cloud concept as well. On the other side, when we talk about Power Platform, you should know both Canvas and Model-driven Power Apps, Power Automate as well as other Power Platform features (AI, Chat Bots…) and CDS. But this is what we imply with the Power Platform knowledge.

If you are newbie, in this case you need to learn for these exams. But good thing is that if you want to start, you can find everything you will need on the Learning Path site. But one small note, when you start to learn from Learning Paths, I often hear that there are not enough information and some of people often fail on exams. This is because, you need to open every link you have in your learning path as often you can find basic information in this part of text, but when you click on some links, you will be redirected to Microsoft docs site with all necessary information with related topic.

On the end I want to say THANKS to all people involved in preparation these two new exams as they made a good result. And for all of you who didn’t register for these exams, do it… you will not make mistake.

Adding External Accountant to Your Business Central

If you use Business Central online, I’m sure that you need to connect your external accountant or your reseller partner to your tenant without buying new license. This is something you have included in your license. Never mind how many user you bought or if you have Essential or Premium users, you can invite up to 3 external users (External Accountants). These 3 licenses have the same use rights as your standard license except access to the user setup and admin tasks. What these users can do in your system, depends on you. But just to remind you… I’m talking about external accountant, not about internal accountant. This is important to remember as this license is not for internal stuff.

But let’s focus how you can add them. First open Users page and run Invite External Accountant.

When you run this action, new welcome page will appear. You should read it and if you agree, click I Accept (otherwise you need to stop and you cannot add user 🙂 ).

Click Next and fill in minimum mandatory fields. These fields are your external accountant contact details: Email, First and Last name. You will see there is a welcome message your accountant will get as email. You can change it or type in your language.

When you finish with details, just click Next and wait a little while. How long? It depends on many things, but it is usually a few seconds up to minute until system invite your accountant. When system finish, you will get a message that person you added was successfully invited. Close the page and enjoy.

You accountant will get an email message with text you entered in invitation as well as URL where he/she needs to log in. And yes, when you finish with adding accountant as user, do not forget to add user permission sets you want. And if you check license for this user, you will see: Dynamics 365 Business Central External Accountant.

OK, everything I described is related if everything is OK, but what if you have some trouble. I have two common issues you can often meet in a practice. Both of them will be met on the first step when you run invitation action.

First you can have an issue with licensing. Event if these 3 users are free of charge, they are not automatically added to tenant. CSP partner have to do it and if partner forget it, you will get an error message No External Accountant license available. Contact your administrator.

In this case only what you can o is to contact your CSP and to require adding these 3 licenses to your tenant. When these licenses are added, they will appear in your Admin Portal.

Now we have another case when you are not a global administrator or a user administrator in you AAD. In this case you can give yourself proper rights or you can ask administrator to do this task.

Directions EMEA 2020 – Day 1

Directions EMEA and Asia has just started today. This is the first-time virtual Directions ever and I can just imagine how challenged it was to prepare everything in very short time. But based on what I saw today, everything is well organized. OK, this is not the same as live event and I would like to have an opportunity to meet all of you in person, but it is still the great option with not only sessions but with a lot of networking opportunities. And just to mention, this is the biggest Directions ever with 2775+ attendees. Great achievement!

Today we had the first day Keynote and after that I had my first session. Now I want to share my experience from these two parts of today’s event.

Christian Sega started with good news about numbers (2775+ attendees, 60+ countries, 147 sessions, 101 speaker…) and future of this event and finally we had an opportunity to see Mike Morton as a new GM on the Directions stage… unfortunately not in live, but again this is the first time on Directions stage.

Mike presented roughly the most important directions from this BC release and they are:

  • Deliver seamless service and performance
  • Design for compliance and security
  • Develop ISVs and globalization
  • Delight customers by exceeding expectations
  • Drive better together Microsoft experiences

Let’s talk about these directions in the next days. Now I want to talk more about numbers. First time we had an opportunity to see official numbers about BC SaaS customers – there are 10.000 BC online customers and by my opinion this is an amazing result. And only this, there are other impressive results…

I don’t want to forget great rest of the keynote with Claus, Jannik and other PM’s where they showed some new and really good features.

And finally, Mike announced roadmap and some new features ready for the next release. First let’s make a look at new roadmap:

Now make a look at some of the next release’s features:

  • Finally, we will get Report Extensibility as this is one of the highest voted idea from users and partners… this is something we are really missing.
  • We will get enhancement printing features in BC, improving complex hybrid setup, taking care about user access to printers, eliminating admin of print servers or printer drivers, printing from anywhere…
  • Easily onboard of new clients to BC using step-by-step guide how to configure and prepare your solution, and it will be possible to use for partner’s addons as well.
  • Better integration of BC with Teams as using BC directly from Teams.

What I wanted to emphasize… completely experience with the Directions4Partners platform was/is great (if I forget some minor technical issues… who knows, maybe only at my place😊 because of my connection). You could have a feeling you are really on a site. This is briefly my experience from my first session. After 30 minutes prerecorded session, we had additional 15 minutes for live Q&A. I have a lot of questions and I had an opportunity to have a live answering session and it was good experience. As we probably had more question, we needed to continue our chat somewhere. For this purpose, we could go out to the Q&A session room and continue with discussions about all specific topics. Really great experience. I had an opportunity to meet some of friends and big thanks to Arend JK who attended my session and who continue chat with me and few other attendees in the Q&A session room. He also helped me answering on some questions. Big thanks for you Arend as well as to Christian Sega who joined us in after session time.

I’m looking forward to see more sessions today and next two days and I really hope it will be great experience.