Some successful online businesses are already developing a third or even fourth iteration of their ecommerce platform.
Each step they have taken has transformed aspects of their operations. To keep ahead of the competition, these businesses are always looking for new ways to expand their market and improve their performance.
If you want your business to keep pace with forward-looking competitors like these then integrating your ecommerce platform with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is something you should include in your strategy for growth. It will speed up your processes, improve consistency, customer service and efficiency.
One of the undoubted ERP market leaders is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC), so it’s well worth considering.
What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
BC is part of the Microsoft Dynamics family and is a cloud-based evolution of Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Microsoft Navision). Business Central is not only available in the cloud; it is also available for on-premises or hybrid deployment.
Microsoft acquired Navision in 2002 and launched MS Dynamics 365 in 2016, rebranding its suite of Dynamics ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) products as a new online solution. In September 2017 Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations business and enterprise editions were launched.
In 2018 the launch of BC positioned Microsoft as a leading ERP provider for small and medium-sized businesses, competing with other major players such as Oracle and NetSuite.
Here are the top 20 reasons to consider Dynamics 365 Business Central for your ecommerce business:
Many businesses prioritize the scalability of their ecommerce platform only to be held back by the capacity of their back-office systems. Making sure your ERP system can handle more users, more products, and more data as your business grows is essential. BC’s modular architecture gives you this flexibility. You can also be confident that it will provide stability and security, keeping systems running and protecting your data.
Reliable and accurate real-time exchange of data between your ecommerce platform and your business systems takes you to a new level of operational efficiency. You can go a step further with BC by integrating all your business processes into a single, unified system with familiar Office 365 interfaces.
BC provides a streamlined version of the popular functionality of Dynamics NAV. It includes new and optimized built-in features and extensions from Microsoft partners can be integrated easily. Microsoft Web Client provides easy remote access to apps and desktops (replacing Windows Client, which comes to an end this year). It works with Microsoft Power BI and Artificial Intelligence to create and visualise your data and analytics.
Developments, add-ons and modules once had to be written in the application language used by Dynamics NAV (C/AL) and added to the core system, which made upgrades time-consuming. You don’t have to do this anymore. Updates and additions are linked to the core system when needed, streamlining the whole process.
You can also use ecommerce solutions, available at AppSource, that can integrate directly with MS Dynamics 365.
You can choose from a range of options; BC is available on-premise, via dedicated hosting, as infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and on Microsoft’s Public Cloud.
Business Central doesn’t use the classic Dynamics NAV license files and generates permissions based on an ‘entitlements’ table. BC licenses are available for users who are:
- Team Member
- External Accountant.
Built-in privacy-by-design and privacy-by-default configurations help your business to maintain compliance with data privacy regulations. You can control access to personal data on various levels and enable audit trails.
BC tracks resources and their prices, helping you to optimize efficiency and minimize waste and delays. You can organize your resources into categories to suit your business and make sure they are correctly assigned.
Online sales can be completed more quickly when your ecommerce platform is integrated with BC. You can monitor your financial performance online and offline in real time and improve the accuracy of your forecasts, while remaining compliant and maintaining security.
Using connected data from reports, charts, and Power BI dashboards across your finance and accounting, sales, purchasing and stock control systems you can predict late payments and improve cashflow and forecasting.
The integrated sales ledger allows you to streamline your sales process. You can add approval workflows and use Microsoft Power Automate to manage administrative processes.
Using BC’s built-in intelligence you can create sales forecasts and predict stock shortages to automatically create purchase orders. BC makes it easy to move items between locations and to control the quantities you have in stock.
You can streamline your procurement processes cost-effectively. Once you have registered potential suppliers you can send multiple enquiries and convert the best offers to orders. Required approvals for orders can be managed to ensure processes meet your internal and external policies.
Your sales process can be managed easily within Outlook, with a connected view of customers and service operations, giving your customers a seamless experience.
When you have a clear view of customer interactions across your business you can identify opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, and renew contracts throughout your sales cycle.
With a single view of key information you can manage flexible pricing and discount structures for individual customers or customer groups that they can see every time they logon to their online account.
Your sales ordering processes can be simplified and customers can be given accurate information about prices, discounts, delivery dates, product availability, and fulfilment status online and by anyone with authorization in your organisation.
You will have an accurate and comprehensive view of all your customer service tasks, processes and workloads. You will be able to assign resources and keep track of service agreements to deliver reliable service to your customers.
With all the information in one place, the transition from sales to after-sales can be automated as soon as goods are shipped to your customers.
Work with an experienced partner
Williams Commerce is a Microsoft partner, uniquely experienced to meet your ecommerce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 needs.
With our talent and skill as an ecommerce system integrator and our Microsoft Dynamics 365 practise, we understand the needs of growing ecommerce businesses.
We offer a range of Dynamics 365 solutions specifically for ecommerce including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Our integration connectors include ecommerce platforms for both business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) ecommerce solutions. Our partnerships include Adobe Magento, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, ShopWare and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.