Dynamics 365 Business Central reaches 15K cloud customers with user count rising even faster

April 26 2021

Dynamics 365 Business Central now has over 15,000 customers on its SaaS platform and is seeing 200 percent annual growth in users. The updated numbers came from Microsoft general manager Mike Morton, who spoke to ERP partners at this week's Directions North America 2021 virtual event for Dynamics NAV and Business Central partners.

The rate of growth in users is surpassing growth in new customers for a few reasons, Morton told the audience. One explanation is that existing customers are adding users over time. But Microsoft is also seeing larger Business Central SaaS deals now, he said, with the average number of users per customer going up "significantly".

While some new customers still deploy with five to ten seats, as most did in the early days of the product, Microsoft is also adding customers this year with two hundred to five hundred seats or more.

The new growth numbers come as Microsoft is launching 2021 release wave 1 of Business Central, which includes three main areas of enhancement: the onboarding experience, improving core ERP capabilities, and working with other Microsoft applications and services.

The Business Central team plans to treat onboarding as an "end to end experience", Morton said. Onboarding features include the ability to show a welcome banner, checklists, and teaching tips that appear within the interface. Partners can use these mechanisms to create their own onboarding experiences for clients, either repeatable or custom, based on the standard extensions customization framework.

"We're very excited about this first big step," Morton said.

Morton also praised partners for their involvement in Microsoft's efforts to create an open Github repo for non-proprietary customizations. The Business Central R&D group has processed twenty-five pull requests from partners for this release. Rick Blom, owner of EasyStep2, showed off his company's submission, a 1D barcode printing extension. Blom told the event audience he chose to submit it to the AL extensions project because it was a commodified capability that would provide the most value as a shared resource.

Microsoft representatives also highlighted the introduction of report extensibility in the new wave, which had been a top item in the Ideas portal for several releases. This improvement allows lightweight customization of standard BC reports rather than  replacing reports in their entirety.

The product is also broadening its global availability in this release with added locales in Asia, South America, and Africa. Those updates include both language support and local regulatory updates, Morton said.

The Business Central roadmap extends to the next release wave, due in October 2021. It includes seven priorities:

  • Service fundamentals like security, privacy, and compliance
  • Seamless service, including resource governance
  • Onboarding that builds upon release wave 1
  • Microsoft service integrations including more Teams sharing and added synchronization with Dataverse
  • Developer tools, including performance profiling
  • Supportability
  • Geographic expansion

And Morton assured partners that, while the big news and updates are focused on Business Central in the cloud, both BC on-premises and Dynamics GP will continue to be supported.

"We're very committed to these products," he said. "Whether your on-premises on in the cloud, Microsoft is behind you."

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Prior to co-founding MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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