When Thomas Johanssen created iQ Fuel, a Swedish energy drink that’s non-caffeinated and sugar-free, he had no idea how popular the drink would become in just a short amount of time. In the beginning, Johanssen and his team knew driving this product onto the market would not be easy, but some of the obstacles could be removed by building their business on the right technology.
iQ Fuel is built around a fast-moving business model that relies heavily on a field sales team. This team travels throughout Sweden discussing the drink with stakeholders who may be interested in selling iQ Fuel. The rapid changes and scattered workforce meant that the company needed a scalable IT platform that included an ERP and CRM system to help keep everyone connected and provide valuable business insight.
That’s when they turned to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Business Central. By integrating these two systems, the company has access to data and insights across teams and is able to manage business processes such as finance and HR. Johanssen stated: “It allows us to harness data from multiple sources across the business. So we have insight into everything from the number of drinks we’ve sold through specific resellers to the number of customers that visit particular stores. We now have the full overview of our business. From activities of the sales team to the details of our resellers and stores--day by day, hour by hour. And we have control over it at every moment we need it.”
A simple integration between two Microsoft products produced immediate results. The company saw an increase in sales by 10 percent and an increase in orders by 15 percent.
The success of a Swedish company is just one of many organizations who have relied on the integration between Dynamics 365 and Business Central to create a better end-to-end process. Hundreds of companies rely on the tools and features within these products to manage their business processes, drive decisions, and improve strategies.
Below, we’ll review what you can do with this integration and how it will benefit your sales and accounting end-to-end processes.
Why are these Systems Separate?
One of the most common questions we at JourneyTEAM get asked about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Business Central is why are these two systems separate? Isn’t it better to integrate them?
The answer is that while these systems are separated, they’re integrated. They work in tandem with each other to provide precise data, greater flexibility, and centralized marketing and sales planning and operations. It’s also especially useful for small startups, mergers, or acquisitions. Let’s discuss this further.
Keeps Data Clean and Accurate
Consider this: the data gathered by a marketing system is simple--often just a name, phone number, or an email address. You may get duplicate information or false information, which is ok because you have processes in place to verify this information. However, in your operating system, you need clear, accurate information and data. You don’t want to have any duplicate or false information as it can provide unclear or incorrect insights. All this data needs to be verified and accurate before it enters your accounting system. This way, you can login and see real, accurate transaction data from each of your vendors and make decisions based on this information. This also helps to keep data clean as it moves down the sales funnel.
The cloud has changed the way we do business. Today, your CRM or ERP system is getting information from multiple different sources, including Amazon, Shopify, Magento, eBay, WooCommerce, etc. A CRM system like Dynamics 365 is really good at dealing with aggregating all that data from multiple sources, identifying similar data from different sources, and coordinating that communication and feeding it into the ERP.
Centalizes Marketing and Sales Planning and Operations
Centralizing your sales inventory and operations planning is incredibly beneficial as it allows you to facilitate across marketing and sales. This means that one sales organization can offer various product lines from all of the different related companies in the supply chain from a single interface.
For example, say you sold large industrial machinery to a specific company. With a centralized SIOP process, you’ll see an opportunity for another business unit to sell them a preventative maintenance and service contract. This business unit can quickly act on this, increasing your profits.
Additionally, this centralization supports an enterprise-wide marketing and sales visualization and analysis by bringing all that data into a single place.
Finally, this centralization helps to drive customer perception of a single enterprise which can mask the true complexity and dynamic nature of your organization.
Beneficial for Startups, Mergers, and Acquisitions
With a separate ERP and CRM system, you can easily bring new acquisitions, mergers, or startups into the enterprise sales fold without the severe interruption of an ERP system migration. You can easily take one of your new acquisitions and connect it directly to your ERP system.
Solutions that Benefit Your Company
If you’ve read the above information and thought: “My company is very small and low-volume. A lot of this sounds like overkill.” In some situations, this is true. However, one of the best parts about Dynamics 365 and Business Central is that they can be scaled to meet your specific requirements. Each of the tools featured within this solution are appropriate for both low-volume, simple companies all the way up the very complex high-volume businesses.
Next, we’ll take a deeper look into the features and capabilities within Dynamics 365 and Business Central that help you create a tighter, more secure end-to-end process.
Inside the Microsoft stack is a tool called Power BI. This tool pulls together data from a variety of sources into reports that present the data in a simple, clear way for better insight and faster decision making. You can also create dashboards around these reports which can be connected to your Business Central CRM. These dashboards feature different tabs you can use for different views of your business, such as a sales or inventory manager.
For example, let’s say you regularly work with a currency feed service. The Power BI tool allows you to pull all the data from this system and create a data visualization of all your inventory parts. You’d be able to click on a warehouse and select an item, which would then show you your on-hand balance of the item by location. Or you could select a location and show you the on-hand balance of your entire inventory.
The Power BI tool also allows you to drill down into the data in the CRM without leaving the ERP system. Users can easily look at data from various systems without having to build an integration, helping to save time and money.
Built-In Connection with Business Central
These built-in connectors allow you to quickly set up the integrations between the CRM and Business Central. Once they’re powered on, they begin working with your CRM system immediately.
This feature also allows you to synchronize your items and your units of measure, enabling you to see all your inventory items as well as your on-hand balance as a flat single number.
These pre-built connections are especially useful for smaller companies as it’s more cost-effective and supports standard tables and fields. However, if you’ve customized your CRM or Business Central system, this integration may not be the right choice for you. There’s little customization available between the two systems, which can create more work down the road. For companies who are looking for a simple, low-volume integration, it’s a good fit and a great way to get started with Dynamics 365 and Business Central.
File Export/Import Method
This is one of the most popular tools available with Dynamics 365. It’s used to migrate data into the system initially to load your master data. It’s based on an Excel or CSV file and also features:
Support for multi-table reports.
Sales invoice header and lines.
Customizable columns, so you can pick and choose which are included or excluded.
Supports custom fields on both the source and target side.
Supports automation of some tasks.
You can also use the file export/import method to build out an integration in conjunction with the other tools. It’s a great way to get your initial design for your table mapping and field mapping completed. You can then export data from your source system into the spreadsheet, drop this spreadsheet in, and import it.
Power Automate is Microsoft’s workflow management tool that allows you to build and create workflows between Business Central, your CRM, and other external systems. It can easily connect to items or tasks within Microsoft Stack, Trello, Dropbox, Facebook, and Instagram.
Using Power Automate, you can:
Perform simple integrations with a low code/no code workflow automation tool.
Create custom connectors to connect to over 300 data sources or public APIs.
Create workflow automations from within the same flow (i.e. alert the production manager of a large order with an aggressive lead time when an exceedingly large order comes in).
Automate business processes, including tasks on your personal computer like calculating data in Excel.
For example, with Power Automate, you can capture specific Facebook or Instagram posts (using a connector) to gather insight about your customers. You could also use it to prioritize tasks for your employees by alerting them whenever an important email ends up in their inbox or task management system.
Direct API Integration
Written by a developer, the direct API integration within Dynamics 365 allows you to connect to various applications and gather data from each. While this integration can be done very quickly, it can be a little more expensive to develop and maintain; yet, the efficiency often makes up for the initial development costs.
Why Go with Microsoft?
One of the biggest benefits of implementing Dynamics 365 and Business Central as your CRM or ERP system is its flexibility. Each tool can be configured to meet the specific needs of your business, no matter how specific or complex your processes or requirements. Additionally, the tools featured inside both systems will allow you to improve your business processes which can also improve your sales, marketing, and customer service approach.
Additional benefits of Dynamics 365 and Business Central include:
Search tools, ‘advanced find’, and smart reporting tools allow you to drill deeper into data, enabling you to make smarter, more informed business decisions.
Business increases as the two systems work together to more efficiently and accurately track leads and opportunities.
Eliminates silos as all information is stored in one place that everyone has easy access to.
The case management allows your teams to more quickly respond and resolve customer questions or complaints which boosts overall customer satisfaction and retention.
With Microsoft, the benefits of their products are endless. A few months of using one will yield numerous results which may lead to using additional Microsoft products in other areas of your business for further business development and advancement.
Contact JourneyTEAM for Integration Support
While integrating these two systems is fairly straightforward, you may run into issues down the road. That’s where JourneyTEAM can help. We have a talented team of professionals who have extensive knowledge about Dynamics 365 and Business Central. We’re happy to provide whatever level of support you need, whether it’s handling the entire integration process and providing training on how to maintain your system or answering a few general questions about integration. Contact us today to get started.