Opinion, by Mark Brummel
When Microsoft closes a door, they open a window. Sure I miss working with the classic client where I could make forms look however the customer wanted them to look. All the colors available withing the RGB pallette, a simple report designer and the database is one file.
If NAV, pardon me, Business Central, was still “that” we would have been out of business for sure even though someone told me 75% of NAV installs are still classic.
We live in a connected world with Web Services, Machine Learning & Serverless Computing. Windows is no longer the dominating operating system.
So Business Central is running cross platform and is a cloud first citizen. Microsoft invested millions of dollars/euro’s to make that happen.
Back to the title of the blog. Project Green… again.
Two weeks ago I managed to get the whole Great Plains community against me. Boy I can tell you these people are well organized. So in this blog I am not going to talk again about Great Plains and where they are in this stage.
Let’s talk about CRM and AX, oh, and Common Data Services.
Last year Michael Nielsen challenged me to co-present at NAVTechDays about PowerApps and Common Data Services. For me that was an eye opener. We agreed I would do PowerApps and he would do CDS.
A good thing from presenting something you know shit about is that unless you want to look like a fool you better learn it. Did not help me though, I stil looked like a fool.
I ended up connecting Navision 1.1 to PowerApps and Michael showed CDS 1.0. I was told, but this can be wrong, that CDS 1.0 was based on AX technology. I think the concept is great but if you watch the video you probably agree that it was not ready for prime time yet.
Word reached me that Microsoft was not happy with CDS 1.0 and was looking for something better. The concept is great.
The CRM people got a shot at it and last week I was reading on LinkedIN that the marriage between xRM and CDS is no longer a secret. Aparently the CRM experts also have different opinions about their new baby.
I did not have time to read it yet and don’t have an opinion. Last thing I want is the CRM community all over me.
What is Common Data Services Anyway?
In essence what I know about it, CDS comes together with Common Data Model. You get a pre-defined database with a service that runs transactions. CDS 1.0 did not have the latter. I’ve been told CDS2.0 supports transactions.
On top of CDS and CDM you can use PowerApps as a front end. PowerApps is a cross platform WYSIWYG UI tool.
Wait Mark, can you please repeat that?
No, that would be silly, you can read it again. But if you are smart enough you can guess that this is not that much different than the idea of Business Central. You get a pre-defined database, a service and a front end.
Isn’t it a bit silly? Why would Microsoft do the same thing twice? Well, you have to wait a minute, because we have not talked about AX just yet. Or Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.
D365FO is also a pre-defined database with a service and a front end. But than in the size of an elephant. Just like Business Central it uses extensions to be customized.
So what will Microsoft do next?
How would I know. It just sounds a bit silly that Microsoft spends millions of dollars maintaining similar platforms. I am not in the Microsoft Board but you can guess consolidation will continue right?
Sidenote to my Great Plains readers. You are still there, no worries. You are just not part of the consolidation. I am a bit jealous.
For now I guess everyone will just keep on rowing in the boat they know. If you are a NAV developer it is quite easy to learn how to make extensions and if you are a CRM developer you can now do CDS and CDM. It’s just ever more confusing for those poor recruiteters who can send their emails to even more candidates hoping they hit something.
It took “us” 15 years to get here. The first decade or so was spent making mistakes and trying stuff that technology wasn’t ready for yet. The last few years things are getting more serious.
Wat is the big break throug?
The Business Central team has to integrate with CDS and CDM. That is not a question, but an order. If you run BC, you will be able to access your data through the CDS API.
This means you can probably customize NAV, shoot, Business Central, also via more ways. You can build PowerApps.
You can probably also migrate back and forth from BC to FO or the other way around as they are both connected to CDM. If more stuff is connected to CDM your life will be easier.
CDM is probably something you will want to keep an eye on if you make a living doing EDI.
What about AppSource
If you build IP for Business Central it can only be used by BC users, not by AX users. If you build for FO it’s the same story.
But, if you build IP on top of CDM everyone can use your solution. Even a NetSuite customer because no-doubt someone will create a CDM connector to NetSuite.
Think about this for a moment… and then decide what your monday is going to look like. What are you going to learn tomorrow?
At this time not much information other than the links I’ve shared is available. Please share linked in the comments.
To be continued…