Can we still have an on-premise solution or is everything cloud based now?
Business Central is currently available in both cloud and on-premise deployments. Although the on-premise platform is fairly straightforward, there are actually a number of different variations of cloud deployment.
How do we get all the data we’re putting into the system back out again to analyze it?
Business Central features a number of out-of-the-box reports across all major business areas. bcFood supplements this with a full data warehouse module that can be used as a data source for other reporting tools. As a Microsoft product, Business Central integrates especially well with Power BI, and recently our customers have been utilizing this solution as way to build their own reports and dashboards. Another popular reporting tool that Business Central users have been working with for years is Jet Global (formerly Jet Reports).
What are the hardware requirements for on-premise solutions?
Microsoft publishes and maintains a complete list of requirements for all aspects of a Business Central installation.
However, it is important to distinguish between “requirements,” which represent the bare minimum necessary to run the software, and “recommendations,” which exceed the minimum and allow your solution to operate as it was truly intended. And when it comes to recommendations, there is no one size fits all answer, as every organization is different. For example, a company with 50 users will have very different needs than a company with 300 users.
Although we do not directly deal in hardware, we will be happy to talk to you regarding your hardware needs and provide some general hardware recommendations to your IT department/service provider. We strongly recommend that you work with your IT department/provider to identify your specific needs prior to making any hardware or software purchases.
How do you keep my data secure?
Which barcode scanners do you recommend?
bcFood’s mobile warehouse management module is available on both Android and Windows Mobile platforms. However, Microsoft has discontinued development efforts for Windows Mobile, and the only reason we continue to offer it as a platform is to support our customers using legacy systems. For any new implementation, the mobile solution is deployed on the Android platform.
One of the many advantages to utilizing Android is that you will have a wide range of hardware options available to you. bcFood’s mobile solution has been successfully deployed on mobile units from popular manufacturers such as Zebra, Honeywell, and Motorola. As with your general hardware needs, we recommend you review your mobile requirements with your IT department/service provider.
Questions about bcFood
What features does your product provide in relation to what Dynamics 365 Business Central provides?
bcFoodERP greatly expands upon Business Central’s out-of-the-box capabilities in areas such as sales, purchasing, inventory management, manufacturing, and warehouse management. In some instances, the bcFood functionality augments and extends the standard capabilities of Business Central. For example, the custom cues and enhanced workflow features expand upon existing Business Central tools. In other cases, bcFood introduces functionality that is completely unavailable in standard Business Central. Examples of these features include bcFood’s quality assurance module, nutrient and R&D tools, grower accounting solution, commodity receiving, and much more.
How do your additional features impact future upgrades of Business Central/NAV?
One of the greatest advantages to using a vertical solution such as bcFood is that many of the features which would traditionally need to be added to your database as customizations are instead included as part of a standard product, making upgrades much more straightforward.
As Microsoft continues to release new versions of Business Central, we maintain bcFood to be compatible with these latest versions. bcFood is fully tested with each new release to ensure that all functionality is working as it had in previous versions.
My company doesn’t focus on food. Can I still use your product?
While the functionality in bcFood was developed primarily in response to the needs of our food customers, many of the features in the product have general applicability to organizations outside of the food industry. A lot of our improvements center around lot traceability and warehouse management, and any company that needs to track and manage inventory can benefit from these tools. While our client base is undeniably comprised primarily of food companies, we do have a number of customers from other industries that get great value from bcFood.
Questions about Dynamics
What’s the difference between NAV, Dynamics 365, and Business Central?
Dynamics 365 is the latest evolution in what was initially Microsoft’s “Dynamics” line of ERP software solutions, which targets companies of different sizes. Business Central (or, more fully, “Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central”) is one of the offerings under the Dynamics 365 umbrella. The product began life as “Navision” many years ago before being acquired by Microsoft and re-branded “NAV.” The “Business Central” name merely represents a new re-branding of the NAV product.
What version of Dynamics am I using?
Should I upgrade to Business Central or do I need to re-implement?
A company that is purchasing bcFood for the first time will need to re-implement their ERP environment in order to utilize its capabilities.
What is a named user? How does it differ from a concurrent user?
Business Central operates under a “named” licensing model, meaning that every user that will be accessing Business Central under the license must be separately identified. For example, if your company has 50 people that will be accessing Business Central at any given time, you would need to purchase a 50 user license.
Older versions of NAV operated under a “concurrent” licensing model, meaning that it was only necessary to license the number of users that would be concurrently accessing the system. For example, if your company has 50 people, but only 30 will be accessing NAV at the same time, you would need to purchase a 30 user license.
It is important to note that the concurrent licensing model no longer exists; all new installations of Business Central will occur under the named licensing model. For existing users, Microsoft offers a 3 for 1 user transition ratio, meaning that every concurrent user on the old license can be converted to three named users on a new Business Central license.
What is the difference between an essential user and a premium user?
Under Business Central’s licensing model, users can be either “essential” or “premium.” Under a premium license, users have access to the full capability of the software. An essential license removes access to Business Central’s manufacturing and services modules.
Due to the heavy integration with manufacturing functionality such as bills of material, routings, work centers, and production orders, most users of bcFood would require a premium license.
Questions about Implementation
How long will the implementation take?
An ERP implementation is a significant undertaking, and the software component is just one aspect of it. Before we even get to the software, there will be an analysis and design phase where our implementation team works with your organization to learn your business requirements. We can then identify which areas of the software will address your needs as-is, and which areas will require enhancement. Once we establish the scope of the project, we start development work, followed by testing and training from both our team and yours.
Which is to say your project cannot take place over a weekend. You should expect an implementation period of nine to twelve months. In projects where there are additional levels of complexity, an eighteen month timeframe would not be uncommon.
Recently, there has been a trend of software providers attracting new business with promises of six or even three month ERP implementations. Although we do not promote such unrealistic timelines, we certainly are familiar with the practice, since we end up hearing from all the companies that believed the hype and ended up with software that fails to meet their needs and which they don’t know how to operate.
How much time from our staff will be needed to participate in the implementation?
One of the reasons for the longer timeframe of a proper ERP implementation is the amount of time that your team will need to devote to the project. This will of course have to be performed in conjunction with their day-to-day duties. Your users will be responsible for testing the project, as well as undergoing (and in some cases leading) training sessions to understand how it works.
As a general rule of thumb, we advise planning on spending three hours of your team’s time for every one hour of ours.
Do we need a dedicated project manager?
A dedicated project manager can be a tremendous help in ensuring your implementation is completed on time and within budget, although it is not a requirement. Quite simply: the more time an individual can devote to managing the implementation, the more effective they can be in this role.
As we mentioned in another response earlier on in this FAQ, your team will need to devote a good deal of time to the project, in conjunction with their day-to-day duties. This is especially true for someone tasked with the responsibility of managing the entire implementation. If you have an employee that is particularly well-suited to this task, but with a good deal of existing responsibilities, we recommend that you try to offload as many of these other responsibilities as possible. If this is not realistic (or you do not have a good candidate in-house to begin with), we recommend you invest in an external project manager.
Do we have to go live at our fiscal year end?
At one point, this was almost a given for any ERP implementation. However, while some businesses have certain requirements that still necessitate a go-live at the end of the fiscal year, as a general rule of thumb, this is no longer necessary. Typically, starting at the beginning of a new month is sufficient, although even this is not a requirement. Ultimately, as long you can have a clean cut-off between systems and easily reconcile the data, your go-live can take place at any time.
How can I prepare for my ERP implementation?
One of the best ways to prepare for an implementation is to start to take a look at your business and put some thought into how you would like to structure certain aspects of it, from a software perspective. Examples of this include the way you set up you warehouse locations, your financial reporting, and grouping/hierarchies for master records such as customers, vendors, and items.
Although we will discuss and review each of these areas with you during the implementation, in our experience the related decision-making activities can take some time, due to the meetings, dialogs, and discussions that need to occur internally within your organization. By starting this internal review prior to your implementation, you will have a better sense of what you want to do once your project gets underway.
Prior to your implementation kick-off, we will provide you with a “pre-implementation checklist” of items that you can review and begin to internally review. It is not necessary (or expected) that everything in this checklist be completed, but any thought or decisions that can be made in regard to these areas before the project commences will give your organization a head start.