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From Business Central to Business Applications

Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Reading time: 3 minutes

How do I move from Business Central into Business Applications?

When thinking about the next steps in the evolution of the Microsoft Business Applications platform, there are two, key things that need to be understood and recognized by partners currently proficient in Business Central.

They are, specifically, the Microsoft Power Platform and the Microsoft Dataverse (formerly the Common Data Service.)

The Power Platform and in particular, Power Apps bring huge potential for partners to expand their services portfolio and therefore, generate increased annuity revenue per customer around Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Knowing that the future of Dynamics 365 Business Central is linked to the Dataverse is only the start of the journey; Understanding what can be achieved through seamless integration with the Power Platform and Power Apps is crucial to being successful along the way.

What is the technology platform and why should I care?

The Power Platform consists of many component parts, such as:

dataverse

Dataverse

BUSINESS DATA PLATFORM

The underlying data platform for structured data capture within the Power Platform and the majority of Dynamics 365 Business applications. Formerly known as the Common Data Service (CDS) and based on the Common Data Model (CDM.)

Power Apps

Power Apps

USER EXPERIENCE

This is where it gets particularly interesting because partners can leverage Business Central virtual entities directly as if they were native Dataverse entities or use data synchronization, meaning that Business Central data can be used outside of the application making this a genuine alternative to writing extensions in certain scenarios.

Power Automate

Power Automate

PROCESS AND WORKFLOW

The process automation engine is used to drive actions based on trigger points from events.  Power Automate is all about enabling the automation of business processes through workflows.

Power BI

Power BI

ANALYSE AND ACT

This is all about the creation of visual dashboards and making data-driven insights available to everyone.  It brings the ability to pull data from different sources together and display Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics in a visual and interactive format.

This new ability to build custom apps to solve common business challenges, with mobile device support by default is extremely powerful.  Consider a stock check app that a mobile device user can use to update data directly whilst only requiring lower cost Power Apps and Team Member licences to enable this.

When we start to think outside of the traditional Business Central box, other scenarios also become apparent.  The possibility of creating deal and pipeline management capabilities for customers, based on the exact same account and contact set of data that is already within Business Central and surfaced through the unified interface, which is already familiar to all other flavours of Dynamics 365 Business Applications is an obvious example that springs to mind.

Of course, once these apps are created, they can be sold and deployed multiple times over, on an annuity revenue model, per user, per month, just like the Microsoft technologies they have been created to support, hence the increased revenue opportunities previously mentioned.

What are the challenges through this evolution?

Managing Dynamics 365 and Power Apps implementations are easy enough when you have a handful of clients but when they start to grow in number, there’s a need to be able to manage these at scale without incurring additional costs that would reduce profitability.

Keeping custom or vertical solutions built on the Dataverse up to date across multiple client tenants, ensuring consistency of versions whilst also protecting any intellectual property that is licensed to customers can also cause headaches.

However, many organizations today have found a better, more cost-effective way to build a scalable business model without increasing direct costs. 

How can Companial help?

If you are looking for help in solving these common challenges and want a solution to manage all Dynamics 365 and PowerApps implementations in one place, the Cloud Partner Panel (CPP), available through Companial is perfectly placed to help.

The CPP is available for partners to use to manage their customer tenants and can enable:

There is also a range of architectural and development services available from Companial alongside technical training to really help partners go from concept to creation for their apps when evolving from Business Central to Business Applications.

Need more information? Contact us!

Chris Parkes
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