Dynamics 365 Business Central adoption is growing steadily among both small and large companies making the switch to the cloud.

A cloud-based ERP has lots of advantages over traditional on-premise architecture, and customers are beginning to understand this. Some advantages that I want to emphasize here are:

  • Access anywhere: you can access a cloud-based ERP from any browser or any enabled device with an internet connection.
  • Security: applications that run on Microsoft’s datacenter in the cloud offer state-of-the-art security software, intrusion detection, geographically distributed servers, and backup and failover capabilities that are typically beyond the resources of the standard small and mid-sized company.
  • Lower IT costs: with a SaaS-based ERP, you don’t have to buy, maintain or upgrade your hardware and software infrastructure for running your business.
  • Easy upgrade process: with a cloud-based ERP, all the software upgrades are managed automatically and released on a pre-defined schedule. You don’t need to worry about the upgrade process; just decide when you want it.
  • Scalability: a cloud-based ERP can adapt its resources according to business needs, giving you immediate access to more storage, more environments, more power as and when you require it

When talking about a cloud-based ERP, I always recommend checking out the solution provider behind the cloud platform. If you want a reliable business in the cloud, you need a reliable cloud platform, and Microsoft, with its Azure platform, is a leader in the cloud market.

With Microsoft and Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud you’re natively connected with a large set of services like Power Platform, BI, Artificial Intelligence, Microsoft 365 and more, meaning they don’t have to be manually integrated.

There are many reasons why Dynamics 365 Business Central is a leader in the cloud-based ERP space. Here are just a few:

  • Flexible and easy to customize for both end users and developers
  • Lots of add-on applications and verticalizations available, with many accessible through the AppSource marketplace
  • Natively integrated with other Microsoft products
  • Can be easily integrated with third-party applications
  • Large developer community to turn to for support and advice
  • State-of-the-art platform administration and security
  • Regular updates delivering new features and fixes every month

Start your Dynamics 365 Business Central journey.

If you’re new to ERP or are just kicking off your ERP project, Dynamics 365 Business Central’s SaaS edition is a great choice, and you can get started fast.

Just activate a cloud tenant with the localization you want (the service includes both the infrastructure, hosting, and the license to use the product, which usually comes in the form of a monthly subscription) and start working on your brand new ERP system.

Activation of an ERP system requires minutes instead of weeks now that the SaaS version is available.

Things can get more complicated if you want to migrate from a different ERP system to Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud. In this case, you’ll want to preserve data and sometimes customizations too.

Migrating from Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premise (with extensions)

If you’re currently using a supported on-premise version of Dynamics 365 Business Central, with extensions created with the AL language, you’re on the right path for a complete cloud migration.

Right now, you can migrate to Business Central online from on-premise versions 14, 15, 16, and 17. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the current version and then migrate to the cloud.

To verify that you’re running on a version that supports this migration, head to the Business Central administration center, open the environment you intend to migrate your data to, and then choose the Apps action. Make sure that these apps have the latest updates installed:

  • Intelligent Cloud Base
  • Business Central Intelligent Cloud

If you’re migrating from an earlier supported version, you must also make sure that the following apps are updated:

  • Business Central Cloud Migration – Previous Release
  • Business Central Cloud Migration – Previous Release [code for your country-specific version]

Microsoft’s Cloud Migration Tool replicates all the data you have in Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premise to the corresponding tables in the cloud instance. Table objects have a property called ReplicateData (default = Yes) that’s used to decide what tables must be migrated.

Suppose you don’t want to replicate data for some tables. In that case, you can set ReplicateData to No (if you own the extension that contains the tables in question), or you can uninstall the extension on the online tenant.

The migration process uses the Azure Data Factory (ADF) to migrate the data between databases directly, meaning it does not look at any permissions within the applications you are transferring data between, only SQL permissions.

Data is migrated table by table, and successes and failures are tracked for each table. If a table fails to migrate, the error will be flagged, and the migration moves on to the next table until completed.

Here’s a summary of all possible migration paths:

Data is migrated using an Azure service called Azure Data Factory (ADF). ADF is a service that is always running within the Business Central online service manager.

When you start the cloud migration, a data pipeline is created in the ADF service so that data can flow from your on-premises solution to your Business Central online tenant.