Microsoft Dynamics 365, the many long names, name changes, and change of strategy still cause some confusion. I can see that my older blog posts about Dynamics 365 are frequently read, and I often see questions regarding the Dynamics 365 offerings online.
In this blog post, I have gathered some of Microsoft's own information about Dynamics 365 from 2016 to 2018. I have used the information to make a timeline that makes it easy to see what was announced and when names were changed.
I also provide short answers to what lies behind some of the code names and the official names we use now. I have added links so you can see where I got the information from.
You can use these links to jump directly to the part you are interested in:
Dynamics 365 - 2016 to 2018 Timeline
The Portfolio of Products
In July 2016, Microsoft announced Dynamics 365 - a collection of purpose-built business applications that work seamlessly together and break down the silos of ERP and CRM.
The introduction of Dynamics 365 resulted in some changes to Microsoft's portfolio of products. In 2016, the roadmap looked like this:
- Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX: would come together and become Microsoft Dynamics 365, Enterprise edition.
- "Project Madeira": was a cloud project founded on the same code base as Dynamics NAV. It would become the Financials app in the Microsoft Dynamics 365, Business edition
- Dynamics GP (Great Plains)
- Dynamics SL (Solomon)
- Dynamics NAV
Here is a screenshot with text from a Microsoft page. It says that Project Madeira will become the app Dynamics 365 for Financials, Business edition:
Dynamics 365 Why & What?
With Dynamics 365, Microsoft wants to break down silos and unify the capabilities of their existing Dynamics CRM and ERP products together into a cloud service - in two editions with apps to chose from:
- Dynamics 365, Business edition - for organizations with 10-250 employees
- Dynamics 365, Enterprise edition - for organizations with 250+ employees
The Dynamics 365 apps are designed so they can be deployed independently. This way, companies can start small and pay only for what they need.
Below you can see screenshots from a 2016 Microsoft presentation. It shows the apps in the Dynamics 365, Business edition and Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition. Source (requires a MS Partner login): Pricing and Licensing Overview Deck (pdf)
Dynamics 365, Business edition 2016
Dynamics 365, Enterprise edition 2016
Dynamics 365 for Financials Clarification
Since Project Madeira/Dynamics 365 for Financials was based on the same code base as Dynamics NAV, there was a need to clarify the difference. I have added some information from a Microsoft Partner FAQ document updated in April 2017. This is the source (requires MS Partner login): Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials Partner FAQ (pdf)
- What is the difference between Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials?
Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for Financials will leverage the same code base, but:
Dynamics NAV is software, available via perpetual, subscription, and/or SPLA licensing, that can be deployed on-premises on in the cloud.
Dynamics 365 for Financials is a new SaaS (cloud-only) service, available only via CSP.
- How does Dynamics 365 for Financials relate to Dynamics 365?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials is an app in the Dynamics 365, Business edition, Additional apps within the Business edition (Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service) are currently planned to be available at a future date.
- How does Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials relate to the other Dynamics products (AX, NAV, GP, SL, CRM)?
Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Microsoft Dynamics SL continue to be enhanced, supported, and licensed to new customers. New versions of our Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM have come together to create the Dynamics 365, Enterprise edition.
From Financials, Business edition to Finance and Operations, Business edition
As of July 1, 2017 the app Dynamics 365 for Financials was renamed to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business edition.
From Operations, Enterprise edition to Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition
The app Dynamics 365 for Operations was renamed to Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, Enterprise edition according to Sri Srinivasan in a post by on Microsoft's cloud blogs: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Enterprise edition July 2017 Update
Enterprise edition and Business edition Before The New Strategy
At the end of 2017, you could find this overview of the two Dynamics 365 editions on the Microsoft Dynamics Learning Portal:
Source: Screenshot taken at the end of 2017 from the Microsoft Dynamics Learning Portal (requires a MS Partner login)
New Strategy - Simplifying Dynamics 365
In September 2017, Alysa Taylor, General Manager, Business Apps & Strategy, wrote in a blog post that Microsoft updated its Dynamics 365 strategy to further simplify the Dynamics 365 offerings and increase transparency.
There would no longer the separate editions of Dynamics 365, instead companies would be able to choose from different price points. Furthermore, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business edition (previously Dynamics 365 for Financials) would become a new end-to-end business management cloud solution. The app would be expanded to encompass the full capabilities of Dynamics NAV.
Below you can see an illustration I made. It shows the updated strategy from 2017 - Finance and Operations, Business edition would be expanded to become an end-to-end business management cloud solution, and all the applications would be pooled together into one single collection:
Clarification of the New Business Management Solution
With the 2017 announcement of a new business management solution, which would be delivered as two distinct offerings:
- A Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud application
- A business application platform for ISVs
Partners among others had questions about what exactly that meant. What would happen to Dynamics NAV?
I have added some information from a Microsoft Partner FAQ last updated in March 2017. Source (requires MS Partner login): Simplifying Dynamics 365 Offerings FAQ (pdf)
- Will the new Dynamics 365 business management application be available on-premises?
We do intend for the Dynamics 365 business management application to be available on-premises in the future; however, it will not be available on-premises in Spring 2018.
- Will the Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud application and the business application platform for ISVs be based on the same Dynamics NAV code base?
Yes, the code base for both offerings will be the same - based on the current Dynamics NAV code base.
Presenting Dynamics NAV Tenerife
The new cloud-based business management solution mentioned by Alysa Taylor in September 2017 got the code name "Tenerife". The solution would encompass the full capabilities of Dynamics NAV, and the release of this extended version was planned for spring 2018. Below you can see the roadmap from 2017 with "Tenerife":
From Tenerife to Dynamics 365 Business Central
In March 2018, the name of the new business management solution code-named "Tenerife" was revealed. Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications & Industry, announced Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in a blog post. The solution would be generally available beginning April 2nd 2018
The Evolution - The Road to Business Central
Below is a roadmap from March 2018. It shows how Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business edition evolve side by side.
Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business edition became Dynamics 365 Business Central (cloud) in spring 2018, and Dynamics NAV became Dynamics 365 Business Central in fall 2018.
This concludes the timeline with the main changes in names and strategy.
What is Dynamics 365?
Dynamics 365 is a collection of business applications. It brings together the best of Microsoft's CRM and ERP offerings into a cloud service with specific, purpose built, apps for each of your key business processes.
When Dynamics 365 was first announced in 2016, two editions were available:
- Business edition
- Enterprise edition
However, a new simplified strategy was presented in 2017. There would be only one single collection of applications. No need to first select an edition.
See 2017 in the timeline for more information.
What is Project Madeira?
Project Madeira was a cloud project founded on the same code base as Dynamics NAV. It became the Financials app in Microsoft Dynamics 365, Business edition.
See 2016 in the timeline for more information.
What is Microsoft Dynamics NAV Tenerife?
The code name "Tenerife" was introduced in 2017. Microsoft Dynamics NAV Tenerife was the code name for the next generation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and the further development of the app Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business edition.
It was a new single software solution that would result in both a new cloud release and a new on-premises release. The name was revealed in 2018: Dynamics 365 Business Central.
See 2017 in the timeline for more information.
What is Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a flexible all-in-one business management solution.
Dynamics 365 Business Central can be deployed in the cloud, on premises, or in a hybrid environment.
2018 December: MS blog post Announcing the Dynamics 365 April ‘19 release timeline
2018 July: MS blog post Modernizing the way we update Dynamics 365
2017 September: MS blog post Simplifying Dynamics 365 Offerings
2017 March: (requires MS Partner login) MS Partner FAQ (pdf)
2016 April: Dynamics NAV Strategic Update from 2016 (pptx)
2016 November: (requires MS Partner login) Directions Events Recap video
2016 November: MS blog post Microsoft Dynamics 365 Now Generally Available
2016 November: MS blog post Helping Customers Accelerate Their Digital Transformation with Intelligent Business Applications
2016-18: Directions Webinars (requires MS Partner login): Webinars on Microsoft's Learning Portal