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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: What's in a name?

by AJ Ansari
March 14 2018

It's official: In a formal announcement yesterday, Microsoft confirmed that Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition, will be re-branded as Dynamics 365 Business Central as part of the Spring Update rolling out on April 2, 2018. Also significant in this announcement was that the Spring Update would add truckloads of new functionality to the cloud solution, "bringing the full power of Dynamics NAV to the cloud" as noted on Microsoft's official blog by Alysa Taylor, GM for Business Apps and Strategy.

Ordinarily, the focus of such an announcement would be the "truckloads of new functionality" part. And to be fair, it has gotten some attention. Existing users and prospective customers have been waiting for this, and it signals Microsoft's continued focus on improving the solution.

But as I scanned through my Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, I found that most of the conversation in the ecosystem was happening around the re-branding. It took center-stage over conversations about the upcoming new functionality, such as manufacturing, warehousing, and service management. If I had to use one word to summarize the prevailing sentiment of these conversations around re-branding, it would be "UNPOPULAR." And much of that sentiment has to do with how it impacts Dynamics NAV, although it was barely a footnote in yesterday's announcement.

See also: Microsoft to launch Dynamics 365 Business Central on April 2 in 14 countries.

The journey so far

If you don't already know the history, Microsoft's currently available SMB SaaS ERP ...

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About AJ Ansari

AJ is a 'recovering consultant' with 15 years of experience working with Business Central and its predecessor NAV and is a Microsoft MVP since 2018. He is a prolific public speaker and has been presenting sessions on Business Central, Power BI, sales and leadership topics at Partner and User-Group conferences since 2012.

Before joining DSWi as a Partner and COO in 2018, he served as a practice leader, presales specialist and product evangelist at well-known NAV partners in North America. AJ is a member of the Business Journals Leadership Trust and a recipient of multiple accolades, most notably the BCUG / NAVUG All-Star and the Directions North America Under 40 Excellence awards.

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Submitted by dbwiser on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 11:18 Permalink

AJ, thanks for the well thought out article. I, too, will miss the NAV name, but look forward to getting the rebranding noise behind us so that we can focus on the product, not its name. The only complaint on your article was the slight dig at curling. :) Dave

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by ianray on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 12:49 Permalink

I am afraid that Business Central will take a long time to be relevant in search as an alternate for "Navision" or "NAV." As it is, if I search for "business central (some ERP-related term)," there are millions of pages that happen to have those words in close proximity. I also worry that this new name won't work as well with an international audience as Navision did. I do hope the new name serves its intended purpose. It is much better than "Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Business Edition," in my opinion.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by ajansari on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 14:05 Permalink

Ianray, You make good points about "searchability" and how it will be received by an international audience, especially countries where English is neither the first language nor a commonly used business language. But here's something that you may find amusing (I've read it before on, and again on someone's blog post yesterday): When Navision first came to the US market, it was sold as Avista, because there were concerns about the NA/NO/NAY sound of the first syllable. In fact, initially, the Navision name was only used in a handful of European countries, while the mothership in DK called in Navigator locally. -AJ
Submitted by jsouthworth on Fri, 03/16/2018 - 14:28 Permalink

AJ, What's in a name? Everything! How can anyone possibly understand such a wholly incoherent product identification strategy? It makes no sense. 3 names in 18 months? Beyond ridiculous! Jeff

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by ajansari on Wed, 03/21/2018 - 11:52 Permalink

I get the frustration, and I have heard similarly from a few other peers. It's a difficult line to tread - on the one hand is the confusion caused by repeatedly renaming the product, and on the other hand is the risk of staying with a name that either poorly represents the product functionality (Dynamics 365 for Financials), or a long name that is easily confused with another product's name (Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition). No easy choices here.
Submitted by georgebaciu_marius on Fri, 03/23/2018 - 04:26 Permalink

Hello, This re-branding is a bad decision from my point of view. Why loose all the brand value, accumulated in more than 30 years for such a generic name? It is against all the laws of branding and will confuse both partners and customers. And from SEO perspective, it will be a nightmare. I have already optimized my website for both ”Navision” and ”Dynamics NAV” keyword. Do you know that the organic search for ”navision” is still five times higher than for ”Dynamics NAV”? And more than 12 years have passed since the old rebranding. Yes, it will be a messs. It's like you would want to rebrand "Coca-Cola" to "Juice". Good luck!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)