Frequently Asked
Questions

Company

Globally b4dynamics has a team of more than 50 members of all ages and a wide variety in product knowledge in 3 countries that are both used to work in small teams and in global projects across big international teams. With more than 40 years of ERP experience b4dynamics is an “old hand” in the Microsoft partner business providing a wide network of partners and connections in the filed. To give our customers the deepest knowledge possible b4dynamics focused on 2 industries, namingly process manufacturing (pharma, chemical, life science) and discrete manufacturing (textile, machine manufacturing, plant engineering, medical devices).

Working at a Software consulting company the people at b4dynamics enjoy helping companies in the following areas:
  • Business Process Optimization
  • Industry 4.0  
  • Digital Transformation
  • Transition to the cloud  
  • Implementation
  • Customer Service
  • Training
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b4dynamics has 5 locations in 3 countries and can cover international projects and demanding support conditions with this team:

Huefingen: Roemerstraße 3978183 Huefingen | Germany | +49 (0)771 897 84 115info@b4dynamics.com 

Dortmund: b4dynamics GmbH | Joseph von Fraunhofer Straße 2044227 Dortmund  | Germany

Istanbul: b4dynamics ltd.Değirmen Sokak Ar Plaza A Blok No:101 Kozyatağı34742 IstanbulTurkey | +90 (0)216 355 09 09

info@b4dynamics.com 

Bursa: b4dynamics ltd.Yeni Yalova Yolu Buttim İş Merkezi D5 154516250 Osmangazi BursaTurkey 

Denver: b4dynamics ltd.2410 King StreetDenver | Colorado 80211USA 

b4dynamics has its industry focus in manufacturing, more precisely in discrete and process manufacturing. In the area of process manufacturing, we specialize in companies in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life sciences industries, and in discrete manufacturing, we specialize in machine & plant manufacturers, automotive suppliers, medical technology and textile companies. 

What is the basis of our expertise in these specific industries? 

Our consultants have industry specific knowledge, as most of them have worked in companies in the respective industry. In addition, we have a number of reference customers in these industries.  

 

We are a Microsoft Partner implementing Microsoft ERP and CRM Software systems at our customers. We also develop our own, industry specific software packages whenever we see there are gaps in Microsofts standard software. As we have focused on the process manufacturing (pharma, chemical & life sciences) and discrete manufacturing (textile, machine manufacturing and medical devices) industries, these software packages are suited to the needs of these industries. 

The history of b4dynamics begins with Heinz Bäurer deciding to start in the ERP business in 1980. In 2003 he enters the Microsoft community and finally founds b4dynamics GmbH in Germany in 2007, followed by b4dynamics Ltd. in 2008 in Turkey and b4dynamics ltd. 2013 in the US. Since 2016 b4dynamics is certified as Microsoft certified cloud solution provider (CSP) and cloud solution advisor (CSA) Partner, global Alliance Partner in the Pipol network and expanded its global Network further with IBM and Telekom. Furthermore, b4dynamics signed an exclusive distribution contract to North America and Turkey with Porini in 2020. 

Following many projects with previous ERP Software, our first go-life with Dynamics 365 took place in 2018 – the first global pharma project in the cloud followed in 2019.  

b4dynamics approach for a fast and successful implementation is through best practice, using our unique iteration implementation method and standard software based on Microsoft Dynamics 365; which includes Enterprise Resource Planning (Finance, Supply Chain Management, HR, Commerce & Project Operations) and Customer Engagement (Sales, Customer Service, Field Service & Marketing).  

b4dynamics meanwhile has a stock of numerous both national and international reference customers that use on-premises & cloud Microsoft ERP products. The combination of our profound industry-specific know-how, a dynamic team that combines expertise with innovation and our comprehensive network makes us an ideal partner for your global projects. 

ClickLearn: ClickLearn is the market leading solution for creating easy user instructions, e-learning and process videos for business software. ClickLearn will automate writing your business-critical walk-throughs, saving you 80% of the time you now spend creating them manually in Dynamics 365|BC|F&SCM|CE, Power Platform and most of your other business systems. The ClickLearn solution produces your walk-throughs in eight different formats from a single source, including written documentation, hands-on-labs, videos with automated effects and voice over. On top of that ClickLearn has a Virtual Assistant that guides the users within the live system. Simply record your work process in your business systems. With one click, ClickLearn produces your walk-throughs in all formats and in more than 45 languages and 135 dialects. It creates a complete e-learning portal with full tracking and scoring and upgrades your work instructions as you upgrade your business system with no manual effort on your part.

dox42: dox42 is an innovative software product for document automation and data integration – flexible, powerful and intuitive. dox42 enables you to generate complex documents automatically and integrate data, images, tables, dynamic charts, QR-codes and text modules from various data sources, such as Office 365, SharePoint, MS Dynamics 365 F&SCM|AX, D365 BC|NAV, D365 CE|CRM, Databases, SAP, WebServices or Excel. Business users can design templates in up-to-date and uniform corporate design fast and flexibly using the dox42 Microsoft Office Add-Ins. The dox42 Server or the SaaS Version dox42 Online can be integrated into Office 365, Dynamics 365, SharePoint, websites, applications, CRM or ERP systems and workflows seamlessly.

Executive Automats: Executive Automats speeds up and improves the quality of any code change. Codeless functional, performance, and regression tests as well as automated process documentation.  Create, schedule, and execute end-to-end test cases across any web-based application at any time.  Over time, maintaining test cases throughout the numerous updates of Microsoft’s One Version is critical and Executive Automats makes it easy, resulting in a true reduction in manual workload.

Gromnitza: Since 1997 ikt Gromnitza GmbH & Co. KG has been a specialist in information and communication technologies and in the digitalization of business processes. As a system house, the company supports medium-sized companies with a holistic approach. The ikt system house was established by Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. Oliver Gromnitza and employs many skilled professionals, including IT specialists for system integration and application development.

LINK: Founded in 1984 by a group of young entrepreneurial engineers, Link Bilgisayar Sistemleri Yazilimi ve Donanimi Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. conducts sales, marketing, consulting and training activities through its Istanbul headquarters and network of authorized dealers. Link Bilgisayar uses the latest available technology to develop software packages that allow businesses to digitally integrate production, accounting and HR systems, thereby currently serving 64.000 companies in a variety of sectors. The Link Payroll package with 72% market share is currently the market leader in Turkey and is a source of pride for the Link family.

Microsoft: Microsoft is a multinational computer technology corporation. The history of Microsoft began on April 4, 1975, when it was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque.  Its current best-selling products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.

Orderbase: orderbase consulting GmbH is a medium-sized IT company. For more than 15 years the company supply and implement complete ERP systems as well as system extensions for order and production control and services for small and medium sized companies. The efficient software solutions and the extensive range of services focus on the needs and satisfaction of their customers from a wide variety of industries.

PIPOL: With Pipol you get global engagement with one contract, central management and local anchoring. With over 160 offices in more than +75 countries, Pipol is the largest international provider of consulting and implementation services based on Microsoft Dynamics. Our solutions, services, and organization are designed and set-up specifically for international implementations and support. Pipol provides a single point of contact to support you at every stage of your project whether you have a single office in one location or many offices around the world. This ensures a smooth, well-coordinated project from strategy and solution choice to implementation and follow-up. And it saves you time, money, resources – and worry. b4dynamics is a Global Partner in the Pipol Alliance.

PORINI: Established in Como in 1968 as a company specialized ERP solutions and consulting service specific to fashion, clothing, textiles and retail companies, over the years Porini expanded its expertise becoming a Microsoft ISV expanding its portfolio solutions with Social CRM, Business Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, machine Learning, IoT, Performance Management, Collaboration and Knowledge Management targeted to medium to large companies in many other industry sectors.

PrintVis: PrintVis is a complete ERP solution for the Graphic Arts Industry.  We are built and certified for ERP/MIS standard software, Microsoft Dynamics NAV.  JDF Certified by the Cip4 organization.  PrintVis is one standard system to handle all aspects of a complete workflow with a flexible and scalable setup.  It is an easy to use solution and the end users quickly adapt the system as their own.

SwissSalary: The specialists for innovative payroll software and time management. For almost 20 years, SwissSalary NAV® has been the industry-independent payroll software for Swiss companies from 10 to over 6,000 employees. Based on the established ERP solution Microsoft Dynamics NAV, SwissSalary NAV® has the latest swissdec certification 4.0 and with Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD) the highest accreditation that Microsoft has to award.

TARGIT: TARGIT was founded in 1986 and since 2000 has been a pure play BI provider. TARGIT Headquarter is located in Hjoerring, Denmark and with offices in Tampa, Florida and Boston, Massachusetts. According to Gartner, TARGIT is the world’s largest BI vendor for companies using Microsoft Dynamics NAV or AX. Additionally, DynamicsWorld ranks TARGIT as a top add-on for NAV and AX, while BARC’s BI Surveys gives high scores to TARGIT in user-friendliness, visualization and innovation. TARGIT has over 4,900 customers with more than 334,000 named users worldwide.

UP SOLUTION: JUST MES by Up Solutions provides industry knowledge and best practices for textile and apparel manufacturers combined with the newest and most advanced international IT solutions. Today the JUST 2015 Suite includes four integrated solutions for managing the entire manufacturing supply chain: JUST Plm, JUST Planning, JUST Monitoring and JUST Quality Control.

Products

Under the name Dynamics 365, Microsoft has developed a set of intelligent business applications solutions that enable companies to get a comprehensive view of their business. The Dynamics software products combine data with AI and are supported by Power Platform products. Microsoft unified the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products within Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. This resulted in a unique, common technology building block that enables app creation and data sharing across all Dynamics 365 applications. Within this set of software applications, shared data and unified intelligence are available to connect front-office and back-office operations. Extensive analytics provide you with a comprehensive view of every functional area of their business. Model-Driven Apps

Dynamics 365 Sales Dynamics 365 Customer Service Dynamics 365 Field Service

Finance and Operations Apps

Dynamics 365 Commerce  Dynamics 365 Finance Dynamics 365 Human Resources  Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management  Business Central

Products that support the Dynamics 365 Business Applications:

Adobe Experience Cloud AI Builder Azure DevOps Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection Dynamics 365 Layout Dynamics 365 Remote Assist Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service Forms Pro LinkedIn Sales Navigator Power Apps Portals Power BI Power Automate

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Under the name Dynamics 365, Microsoft has developed a set of intelligent business applications solutions that enable companies to get a comprehensive view of their business. The Dynamics software products combine data with AI and are supported by Power Platform products.

Microsoft unified the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products within Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. This resulted in a unique, common technology building block that enables app creation and data sharing across all Dynamics 365 applications. Within this set of software applications, shared data and unified intelligence are available to connect front-office and back-office operations. Extensive analytics provide you with a comprehensive view of every functional area of their business.

Model-driven apps

These Dynamics 365 apps, derived from Customer Relationship Management (CRM), are model-driven apps built on the Common Data Service platform.

Dynamics 365 Sales enables you to build strong relationships with your customers, take action based on data, and close your sales faster. With Sales, you keep track of your customers and contacts, manage your sales from lead to order, create sales documents, lists for marketing and campaigns. You can even track customer support cases of your accounts or opportunities.

Dynamics 365 Customer Service enables you to build long-term customer loyalty. Build intense relationships with your customers by focusing on optimal customer satisfaction with the Customer Service app. Customer Service offers many features and tools to help you manage the services you provide to your customers in the best way possible.

Dynamics 365 Field Service provides support for your on-site customer appointments. The application combines workflow automation, scheduling algorithms, and mobility to help field workers succeed when they’re at the customer site to resolve issues.

Dynamics 365 Marketing helps convert prospects into customers with marketing automation. The app is easy to use, integrates seamlessly with Dynamics 365 Sales, and uses built-in business intelligence. With D365 Marketing, you can create professional emails, improve the flow of information between sales and marketing teams, etc.

Finance and Operations apps

These Dynamics 365 applications evolved from Microsoft’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business:

Dynamics 365 Commerce provides a comprehensive omnichannel solution that combines back-office, in-store, call center, and digital experiences. With Commerce, you can create brand loyalty with your customers through personalization, increase revenue through improved employee productivity, streamline operations, and sustainably reduce your company’s costs and increase supply chain efficiency.

Dynamics 365 Finance enables you to automate and modernize your global finance operations. Monitor your company’s performance in real time to forecast future results, make data-driven decisions, and drive business growth. Use Finance to make strategic financial decisions with artificial intelligence, unify and automate your finance processes, reduce operational costs, and reduce complexity and risk in global finance.

Dynamics 365 Human Resources streamlines many routine accounting tasks and automates all sorts of recruitment processes across your organization. These processes include employee retention, benefits administration, training, performance reviews and change management. Human Resources also provides HR staff with support for your supervisory role.

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management helps innovate your manufacturing and supply chain processes. Harness artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to anticipate developments in planning, production, inventory, warehousing, and transportation management. Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management thus improves operational efficiency, product quality and profitability. Use this software to innovate with smart manufacturing operations, modernize inventory management, optimize production performance, maximize asset life, and automate and streamline your supply chain.

Business Central is an ERP software solution for small and medium-sized businesses. It too helps businesses manage themselves by automating and streamlining business processes. Highly customizable and feature-rich, Business Central allows you to manage your business processes, including finance, manufacturing, distribution, shipping, project management, services and more.

Products that support the Dynamics 365 Business Applications:

Adobe Experience Cloud delivers exceptional customer experiences. By combining Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Adobe Experience Cloud solutions, you redesign the customer journey and improve ROI for sales and marketing.

AI Builder enables every person in your organization to work with AI. Give your employees the ability to add AI capabilities to the apps they build and use – regardless of their technical expertise.

Azure DevOps is a marriage of development (Dev) and operations (Ops). DevOps creates a connection between people, processes and technology to deliver end-to-end value to customers. DevOps enables formerly separate groups of employees in development, IT, quality engineering and security to coordinate and collaborate to produce better and more reliable products. The DevOps culture, along with DevOps methods and tools, gives teams the ability to better respond to customer needs, improve confidence in the applications they build, and achieve business goals faster.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights uses an intuitive and flexible customer data platform (CDP) to extract insights from the data you collect and use them to design personalized customer experiences. Unify all your customer data across all sources to get an all-around view of your customers.

Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection helps you protect your e-commerce business – and your customers – from fraud to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve your customers’ shopping experience.

Dynamics 365 Layout helps you design spaces more efficiently. Create designs from concept to completion. Layout helps you make informed decisions before you build.

Dynamics 365 Remote Assist helps you collaborate from anywhere. With Remote Assist on HoloLens, Android, or iOS devices, technicians can be more efficient by collaborating from multiple locations.

Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service delivers exceptional customer service with intelligent, customizable virtual agents. Enable customer service professionals to easily create and enhance bots with an AI-driven database.

Use Forms Pro to create enterprise surveys to capture and analyze customer and employee feedback. This then gives you the ability to respond accordingly.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator unifies the sales experience for your customers. In Microsoft Relationship Sales, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has been connected to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales to give your sales reps a way to build personalized and meaningful connections with customers.

Power Apps Portals gives you the ability to create portals that can be used by groups of people inside or outside your organization, allowing you to access Common Data Service data.

Power BI makes it possible for anyone at any level of your organization to benefit from constantly updated analysis of your company’s data to make confident decisions.

With Power Automate Microsoft delivers a tool to automate your processes with safe, low-code or code-free workflows including RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and to replace repetitive tasks and enable paperless workflows.

When you choose to use Microsoft Dynamics 365 as your business management software solution, you will have to decide between three options how you want to host and access your software:

1.Dynamics 365 in the cloud

The most popular choice for new Dynamics 365 users, is deploying in the cloud – hosted on Azure, Microsoft’s web services platform. Azure relies on a network of managed data centers located across the globe. From here programs and services can be built, tested, deployed, and managed.

If you choose this option, everything from the program itself to your data, is stored online. You do not run the software from your own computer and do not physically own it. Instead of purchasing a copy of the software and installing it on individual devices, you access it through the internet. With a cloud-based instance of Dynamics 365, the software “lives” on Microsoft’s servers, so all you need to use it is an internet connection and a web browser.

As the software is hosted on its own servers, Microsoft is primarily responsible for maintaining all your software infrastructure from their end. This includes managing security measures, issuing updates, and performing data backups.

2.Dynamics 365 on-premises

Referred to as Local Business Data by Microsoft, on-premises is the “traditional” way to deploy software. This option allows users to host their Dynamics 365 software either on their own servers, or those of an IT partner.

Hosting on-premises means businesses keep all their data in-house; all communication with the cloud is switched off, and users are solely responsible for all upkeep and maintenance of the software.

3.Dynamics 365 hybrid deployment

Dynamics 365 can also be deployed hybrid meaning parts are hosted in the cloud, others on your own servers: Though fully integrated with the Microsoft cloud, transactions and data are stored locally on the users’ own data center. This means users gain access to cloud-based services such as machine learning, business intelligence, and development sandboxes, but their data remains separate.

PowerApps belongs to the Microsoft power platform and can therefore be integrated in any Microsoft Dynamics 365 application. The tool enables you to build low-code apps that cover your individual needs and processes in just a few days. The platform offers the possibility to develop mobile apps as well as web-based applications and so-called portals. All applications use standard Excel-like expressions to add logic, run on web browsers, iOS and Android devices and can be connected to other IT systems. With this solution, no significant IT or programming knowledge is required for development, as the applications can be assembled step by step in an editor using drag & drop. In addition, many templates are provided, which once again accelerates and simplifies development. The extension of the applications with different programming languages is also possible.  

SharePoint is a Microsoft web application that enables collaboration through project management or task coordination, social networks such as personal web pages, team web pages, discussion groups and blogs, content management through document management capabilities, content management, metadata and customized search capabilities and business applications.

SharePoint seamlessly integrates with Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft software to serve as a universal document management platform.

Two versions with different functionalities of SharePoint are available – SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online. SharePoint Server can be installed locally on your company’s IT infrastructure in Standard and Enterprise editions and receives updates less frequently, but is more flexible to adapt to your company’s needs.

The cloud version hosted by Microsoft is usually included in Microsoft 365 subscriptions, but can also be purchased separately. SharePoint Online has the advantage of providing redundancy to your company’s server system landscape, but lacks the customization options of a self-hosted installation of SharePoint. The two product versions are identical in the areas of collaboration, document and content management as well as hosting and the synchronization of files. However, as is typical with Microsoft’s cloud products, the SharePoint Online version receives updates and associated new features much more frequently.

SharePoint’s core features are:

Sites as customizable websites through which SharePoint’s features are accessed.

Communities allows your organization to set up and use personal websites (mySites) and social media (wikis, forums, websites / calendars for teams).

Content provides the ability to version control your documents and create viewing and approval processes – so it’s equivalent to a classic DMS.

Search is the search function in Sharepoint – search across folders, files, documents, etc. and then filter and sort results.

Composites offers the option of compiling SharePoint components on websites, seamlessly integrating Office and other applications there, visualizing them and working with them from SharePoint. Additional design options are available through SharePoint Designer and InfoPath.

Insights, again as known from the D365 software, titles the function of aggregating data from different sources, displaying it graphically and making it available for people in your organization to make data-based decisions.

System requirements The on-premises version of Dynamics 365 requires the following Software:
  • Microsoft Windows Server
  • A Microsoft Windows Server Active Directory infrastructure
  • An Internet Information Services (IIS) site
  • Claims-based security token service (required for deployments with Internet access)
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Microsoft Exchange Server or access to a POP3-compatible email server (required for email tracking)
  • SharePoint Server (required for document management)
  • Supported devices, Microsoft Dynamics 365 app, or web browsers such as later versions of Internet Explorer or the latest version of Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Office for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Outlook and other Office integration features.
Hardware requirements The following table lists both the minimum and the recommended hardware requirements for this version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Server, running in a full server configuration. These requirements assume that no additional components such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft SharePoint, or Microsoft Exchange Server are installed or in use.
Components *minimal requirements *recommended
Processor x64 architecture or compatible dual-core processor with 1.5 GHz quad-core processor with x64 architecture and at least 2 GHz (for example, system with AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon)
Memory 4 GB RAM minimum 8 GB RAM
Hard drive 10 GB free hard disk space minimum 40 GB free hard disk space
* Actual requirements and product features may vary depending on system configuration and operating system. For more information contact us or visit this website.

DMS stands for document management System and as the name indicates these sofware tools provide a system to receive, track, manage and store digital documents. This software tools are made to keep track of the various versions created by different employees and later modified by them (history tracking). Besides this it saves money while reducing paper.

DMS systems can be components of or have overlaps with an ECM System due to their relationship to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems.

ERP stands for Enterprise resource planning and refers in our context to an ERP software system. ERP software is developed to manage main business processes like finance and supply chain processes and many other business activities.

The software collects, stores, manages, and interprets data and provides an integrated and continuously updated view of core business processes using common databases maintained by a DMS.

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URS are user requirement specifications that document user requirements for the solution. For each requirement, a solution is shown in a FS (functional specification) document. Depending on the risk assessment, a successful solution is demonstrated for each requirement (OQ/ PQ tests), thus forming the need for a CSV based software deployment.

Unlike other business management software providers, Microsoft still offers its Dynamics 365 both as a cloud and on-premises version. It is therefore up to you as a customer, to assess the respective factors in your company and decide which option is the best for you, we gladly help you with it. One factor that contributes to the decision-making process is certainly the pricing model: 

In contrast to the conventional on-premises Software, where the licenses for your users and the corresponding hardware are purchased once, the cloud version is billed monthly as with a subscription. However, everything is included here – all costs for a server landscape and its operation (electricity and personnel costs) as well as for the SQL software are omitted for you. The costs for any releases and updates that may be due are also omitted or included in the monthly costs. 

Another problem for some customers is that on-premises integration with LCS, SharePoint, Regulatory Configuration Services (RCS) is not possible and integration with PowerBI.com is only possible with significant additional effort. 

 Our experience shows that operating on-premises is on average 20-30% more expensive than in the cloud, depending on the company. 

Contact us so that we can provide you with a price comparison of the two variants according to your needs! 

Microsoft owns and operates data centers around the world. Users can use an interactive map to determine where their data will be stored depending on which services they’re using, and where their business is located.

For example, a business based in the United States using Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation would have their data stored in either Microsoft’s San Jose, CA, or Boydton, VA data centers.

Dynamics 365 users in Europe will have their data stored in data centers in Ireland, and the Netherlands. Microsoft’s data centers are regulated by EU data protection law.

If it becomes necessary for Microsoft to expand or relocate data outside of your geographical region, system administrators will be notified one month in advance of the move.

With Microsoft Azure, you remain the sole owner of your data. Your data will not be shared with any advertiser-supported services or used for marketing research or advertising. Microsoft only stores your data to provide you with the requested services. Microsoft also does not know what kind of data is stored in the cloud.

If you leave the Azure service or your subscription expires, Microsoft follows strict standards for removing data from its systems and ensures that your data is still available afterwards.

Power Automate is part of the Microsoft Power Platform, along with PowerApps and Power BI. These software tools are available in all applications based on this platform. Power Automate can thus be used to automate routine tasks in Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications. A variety of standard connectors also makes it possible to integrate third-party systems and thus automate their processes. Two types of automation – work processes of individual persons or business applications – are made possible by Power Automate:
  • Task management tool for automated tasks
  • Automated email and push notifications
  • Automated filing of emails and mail attachments
  • Automated publishing to various social media channels
  • Approval processes
  • Publishing workflows
  • Etc.

When looking at it for the first time it is confusing how many different ERP Products Microsoft offers. But as usually there is an easy explanation for this. These products got historically developed by other companies and later acquired by Microsoft and integrated into their Software products. 

Microsoft Dynamics SL previously called Solomon is a project-based ERP software initially developed in 1980 by TLB, Inc (The Lord’s Business) a Findlay, Ohio based company. It is an ERP with a connection to Microsoft Office Project Server for project-driven small- and medium-sized enterprises. The product got refocused on an all Microsoft technology strategy with Microsoft SQL Server as the database technology; Visual Basic as the software language; and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) as the customization language before Solomon was acquired by Great Plains Software in 2000. 

Microsoft Dynamics GP was initially developed as an ERP software for mid-market companies with several locations or with an international orientation by Great Plains Software based in Fargo, North Dakota. It uses Microsoft SQL-Server as the database technology and is written in the language Dexterity. The software now only is available in the English-speaking market, South America, the Middle East, and Singapore. In April 2001 Great Plains including Solomon was acquired by Microsoft.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV was acquired by Microsoft in 2002 by taking over the Danish-based company Navision Software A/S. Since then, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has been gradually merged with Microsoft’s other ERP solutions GP and SL. Therefore the 2017 version was named Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The software written in the programming language C/AL is suited to meet the requirements for small and medium-sized companies and offers a variety of industry solutions. From 2018 on the software was continued under the new name Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premises, which can now also be purchased as SaaS software – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central that both share a common source code.

Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta) is an object-oriented ERP Software that is mostly used in medium-sized and larger companies. Axapta was originally developed by the company Damgaard that firstly merged with Navision and then got acquired by Microsoft in 2002.

Axapta ERP was replaced by Microsoft Dynamics AX in 2006 and will be continued as Dynamics 365 within the Microsoft stack with many additions to the functionality, a revised client and an adaption to the MS Office 2003 interface, as well as profound changes in the system architecture (increased focus on security (trusted computing), with a three-tier architecture), a development environment (including the integration of .NET) based on the integrated Microsoft stack. The current version of Dynamics AX 2012 is on the market since the end of 2011 with a role-based interface that has been adapted even more to the interface of the Office product line. The web interface (Enterprise Portal) was also adapted to the Office environment via SharePoint 2010.

All four ERP products were developed quite industry-specific, so they differ in certain areas, but at the same time have large overlaps. Microsoft has condensed the skills of the four products to now 2 and thus created ERP systems that can be used universally and yet industry-specific. In the future, Microsoft’s ERP product family will be limited to Business central for small and medium businesses and Dynamics 365 for enterprise businesses. All other products will be discontinued, no longer supported, and will be phased out in the next few years.

Here are seven common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:
  • Cost – No upfront infrastructure costs, no need to purchase, manage, and maintain costly infrastructure that you may not use to its fullest – pay only for resources that are needed
  • Global – scale elastically – deliver the right amount of IT resources — more or less computing power, storage, or bandwidth — right when they’re needed, and from the right geographic location
  • Performance – The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale
  • Scalable, elastic, and flexible – Most cloud computing services are provided self-service and on demand – vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, Cloud computing gives your business a lot of flexibility and takes the pressure off capacity planning. Cloud computing supports both vertical and horizontal scaling, depending on your needs: Vertical scaling, also known as “scaling up”, is the process of adding resources to increase the power of an existing server. Some examples of vertical scaling are: adding more CPUs, or adding more memory to support increased data collection. Horizontal scaling, also known as “scaling out”, is the process of adding more servers that function together as one unit. For example, you have more than one server processing incoming requests.
  • Productivity – On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking” / hardware setup, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
  • Reliability – Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity is easier and less expensive – data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Key-Capabilities Microsoft Dynamics 365 – In Cloud Microsoft Dynamics 365 – On Premise
Cost Model Monthly subscription Huge initial capital investment (CapEx)
Information Storage Information stored in secured Microsoft data centre Complete ownership and control over the stored information
Data Access Access only through application program interface (API) or report connectors Full access
Storage Space 5-GB (additional 2.5-GB for every 20 licenses) Limited to available server storage
System Administration Minimal internal administration required Microsoft manages the system infrastructure Requires internal or vendor partner maintenance
Deployment Quick and seamless Time taking and complicated
Hardware Requirement No additional hardware required Executed either from existing hardware or might need additional servers
Maintenance Expenses None Involves huge spending on maintaining and upgrading servers
Connectivity Reliant connectivity with 99.9% financially supported by Microsoft No internet connectivity required to access applications or information
System Updates Updates (both minor and major) rolled out consistently Minor updates can be held back until the next major release
Mobility Applications available for offline access Applications available for offline access
Flexibility Higher flexibility through integrated redundancy capabilities Hardware dependent and its expensive to install redundant server for back-up
Power BI Integrated Not Available

Licensing

Yes, we do have questions first – many questions. Please understand that even an initial estimate is not possible without providing us with much information. Here is an attempt to explain why:

Cloud

1.Which functionalities do you need? When calculating the cloud variant, it first depends on the range of functions you require: A distinction is made here between Customer Engagement and Unified Operations, under which the individual modules – Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and Marketing or Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, Finance, Project Operations and Commerce – are grouped, some of which are priced very differently. If it is to be a pure ERP system, then licenses will probably only be required for the Finance and possibly the Supply Chain Management module. However, if other areas are added, the user licenses will have to be distributed to different modules or even overlapped. As soon as licenses from different modules are used, one module (for ERP implementations it must be from the Unified Operations area) is selected as the base module, all other modules can be licensed as discounted attach modules.

2.How many users should work with which functions in your company? Accordingly, the exact number of users in the respective areas is required as further information to determine a price.

3.Which range of functions do the employees need in the respective modules? In addition, there is the possibility to achieve savings by grading the functional scope of the respective users:

  • full user licenses – full range of functions
  • device user – licenses are assigned to the respective device
  • activity user – transactional use of applications & embedded business intelligence
  • team members – perform basic processes, share knowledge & use embedded business intelligence
  • For the allocation in this third point, we usually take empirical values from our previous projects. Buying the licenses will incur monthly costs for your company, but since the support of the standard software and the creation of updates and releases, as well as hardware costs and related operating costs are eliminated, even in the longer term the costs are usually 30-40% lower than with the on-premises variant.

    on-premises

    For an on-premises variant, your company will incur the following costs:

  • one-time license costs for the respective number of users per module
  • server costs
  • SQL software costs
  • Energy costs for your server
  • Update/release costs
  • Personnel costs for operation
  • Here, too, there is the possibility to acquire licenses with a limited scope of use on a pro-rata basis and thus to achieve savings in license costs. For a calculation here we usually take a percentage distribution according to our experience values. The focus here is therefore on questions regarding hardware resizing and functional scope. Experience shows that on-premises operation is on average 20-30% more expensive than in the cloud, depending on the company. Contact us so that we can calculate a price comparison of the two variants tailored to your needs!

    With the launch of the cloud version of Dynamics 365, Microsoft has modularized Operations (Finance, Supply Chain Management, HR, Project Operations) and CE products (Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing, Commerce). The advantage for companies is that they will only pay for the services they use, choosing the modules they really need.  If a user needs additional apps, these can be added as attach licenses, which are available at a discounted price. However, the base license will always be the higher-priced one. There is no limit to the number of attach licenses that can be added, and they do not differ in functionality from base licenses.

    To keep the prices of individual additional modules and functions for employees working in overlapping functions affordable, a distinction is made between basic and attached licenses – the basic product/module can be purchased at higher prices, but all other modules are available at greatly reduced prices. The scope of the attached licenses and basic licenses for each module is not different. Modules in the Operations and CE sections can also be combined with each other. There is a minimum number of users for the base module and the highest value module (usually from the Operations area) must always be purchased as a base module. 

    Only assigned user licenses can be purchased as attach licenses. Tenant – based licenses , additional access licenses, and capacity licenses do not qualify for attach licensing pricing but can be licensed separately. Some specific Dynamics 365 products are also not eligible.

    Implementation

    In our experience, the success of a project is ensured by both sides – cooperation, common goals and clear communication of expectation are crucial. From our side we contribute through:
    • Excellent expertise in relevant industry sector
    • International project management & implementation experience
    • Product knowledge of D365 and among the complete Microsoft Stack and Azure cloud
    • Knowledgeable in remote working styles – international project management/implementations
    • Availability of apps and certified ISV solutions to ensure standard implementation
    • Technical know-how in deployment, implementation and cloud enviroments
    • Experienced teams in Germany and Turkey with knowledge in large process industry projects
    • Flexibility and short decision-making paths
    • Close cooperation with project management of the customer
    • Early involvement and cooperation with key users
    • b4d vertical developments in process industry; i.e. sample management, stability studies
    • Experience in: GAMP5, GxP, FDA regulations
    • US location | strategic location
    In addition, the following circumstances on the customer side are key to the success of the project:
    • Availability of key users
    • Strong project manager on customer side
    • Short decision paths
    • Provision on the part of the customer
  • Master data (articles, prices, chart of accounts, etc.)
  • Calculation schemes
  • Forms + text modules
  • Workflow processes
  • Authorization plan individual + team
  • Support

    Right at the beginning we provide you with any information that you need to make the right decisions. Already during the pre sales process our well trained sales team members help you navigate though the function, product and licencing jungle and give you answers to all your initial questions. Workshops with our expert consultants help you figure out the details and schedules of the project and set up a plan.

    During the project not only the people from all in the imlementation process involved departments are in close contact with employees of b4dynamics but als key user training is taking place. At b4dynami we think it is key to involve the people that actually use the system later early in the process and train them.

    After the go-life we calculate with a period of some month with intensive post go-life support. When we see that thinks work out well we switch to an annual check-ins with you.

    For support cases we have a ticket systema upa nd running to help you contact us at any time from anywhere. Also hotline support via phone is possible and of course FAQs on our website are a place to go.

    Furthermore Microsoft offers a huge ammount of in-app support, Docs, Learn, Communities, etc.

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/

    https://community.dynamics.com/

    After the go-life of a software implementation, we offer intensive post-go-life support for a period of several months. As soon as this is no longer necessary, b4dynamics offers 2nd level support in the sense of application support – by phone within our regular business hours, or at any time via a ticket system. 1st level support is provided by the customer and 3rd level support is provided by Microsoft.

    Updates

    After go-live, the production environment must be updated at regular intervals. For this purpose, Microsoft provides its customers with up to 8 service updates per year, of which you must use at least 2 service updates per year and can skip a maximum of 3 updates in a row. The downtime for a successful update is usually 30 minutes to 1 hour. However, a downtime of 3 hours is always expected in case of problems.

    System maintenance

    Microsoft informs its customers about planned maintenance work at least five working days before the start of the patching window. A standard patching window is defined according to geographical region, which usually takes place on a weekend so as not to conflict with ongoing business.

    Most maintenance work does not require customer intervention. If there is a critical security update that requires an upgrade, you will be notified.

    Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 08:00 – 17:00h (MEZ/CET), excluding holidays.

    Extended English-speaking support is available from 9:00-18:00h (EET) and 06:00 – 18:00h (MST) from our locations in Turkey and/or the US.