Microsoft's Universal Code Initiative

Martin Schlaman

Martin Schlaman

Head of product development and member of the management board at KUMAVISION

Even if the majority of ERP systems in medium-sized companies are still operated locally, the Cloud increasingly important. In the current IDG Research study “Cloud-ERP 2021" has the topic Cloud-ERP is now a high or very high priority for almost 60% of those surveyed.

Microsoft has been taking this megatrend into account with its product strategy for many years. With the Universal Code Initiative, Microsoft supports companies in the transformation to the Cloud. Because in the future, ERP solutions from Microsoft should be designed in such a way that they can be used both in the Cloud (SaaS), in hosted environments (PaaS) as well as locally (on premise). This gives companies future security for their investments and flexibility when choosing the operator model.

At a glance: What will change in the future?

  • Additional license fees for the ERP system are due if implementation partners do not comply with the specifications of the Universal Code Initiative
  • From 2023, individual adjustments that intervene in the Microsoft standard (Dynamics code basis) will be sanctioned, as well as from 2024 ERP solutions that do not Cloud-are capable
  • Additional license fees are due regardless of the selected operator model
  • Affected are companies that re-license Business Central after April 1, 2022 or switch to a current version if there are adjustments in these solutions that do not meet these Microsoft specifications
  • Existing customers who continue to work with the ERP version they are currently using face no additional costs.
  • Individual adjustments are still possible, these are technically implemented differently
  • KUMAVISION is based on Microsoft's specifications and schedule
  • Companies that switch to a new version of the KUMAVISION industry software therefore do not have to fear any additional license fees either

Problem case extensions

Whether private Cloud, SaaS offering, local installation or hybrid scenarios: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central - the successor to Dynamics NAV or Navision - supports all operator models. The lynchpin for the question of whether an ERP system Cloud-suitable are the individual adjustments and extensions incorporated into it. In the past, the core of the system, the Microsoft standard, was often accessed and its code base changed. The well-known result: with each update, these individually programmed adjustments had to be made or redesigned, which was time-consuming and costly.

One code for all platforms

Microsoft's Universal Code Initiative has set itself the goal of avoiding interference with the Microsoft standard and thus solving the challenges described above right from the start. Company-specific extensions in Microsoft Dynamics are to be implemented exclusively as extensions in the future. These are apps that communicate with Business Central via predefined connectors. Furthermore, each extension should in principle Cloud-capable – even if it is (still) used in a local installation.

In this way, Microsoft ensures that all ERP solutions based on Business Central can be operated on all platforms. The transition to the Cloud or the implementation of hybrid scenarios are thus considerably simplified. Companies that use Microsoft Dynamics no longer have to commit to an operator model, but always retain the freedom of choice.

Carrot and whip

However, Microsoft does not stop at recommendations with the Universal Code Initiative, but rather exerts more or less gentle coercion on the ERP implementation partners and their customers. Companies that have extensions made to their ERP software that involve interventions in the Microsoft standard and/or not Cloud-capable must be from 2023 (interventions in the standard) or 2024 (no Cloud-Ability) to license additional, chargeable modules. The license fees are charged annually for each full user and gradually increased. As of today, they can be up to 425 US dollars per user, Microsoft reserves the right to make changes. All companies that re-license Business Central after April 1, 2022 or switch to a current Business Central version and whose version contains corresponding non-compliant extensions are affected. For customers who licensed Business Central before this date, nothing will change for the time being. It may therefore make sense to bring forward a planned licensing of Business Central.

Ready when you are

On the topic Cloud KUMAVISION is pursuing the strategy of giving customers as much freedom of choice as possible. Because every company sets different priorities in its own digitization strategy and designs the transformation into the Cloud at your own pace.

Therefore, KUMAVISION supports the new Microsoft specifications for the development and customization of ERP software right from the start. Continuous training and further education sensitize the developers to the topic. By providing the ERP industry solutions as so-called full apps, which do not require any intervention in the Microsoft standard, customers receive maximum security for the future. You can decide for yourself when and how to use your ERP solution Cloud change, the ERP software supports all operator models. Even with local installations, the ability to update is significantly improved. Customers can import updates more easily than before and thus switch to a current version without large update projects. If Cloud or on-premises: companies are able to react to new challenges at any time with the latest technology and to use new functionalities.

All ERP industry solutions from KUMAVISION based on Business Central already meet the requirements of the Universal Code Initiative. They are suitable for local installation as well as for operation in the Cloud and do not interfere with the Microsoft standard. Customers who have already licensed these versions do not have to pay any additional license fees. Further ERP industry solutions from KUMAVISION that are created in the future will of course also meet the criteria of the Universal Code Initiative. Since KUMAVISION is based on Microsoft's schedule, customers who switch to a current version do not have to worry about any additional costs.

Your advantages with Universal Code at a glance

  • Free choice of operator model
  • Use of other functionalities that are only available in the Cloud Are available
  • Annual or ongoing updates of Business Central possible without high costs
  • No more time-consuming update projects
  • Individual company-specific customizations can be redesigned to meet Universal Code requirements

What to do?

Companies that opt ​​for new ERP software based on Business Central today should check carefully whether their implementation partner, like KUMAVISION, complies with the specifications of the Universal Code Initiative. The following applies: Even if the ERP software in the future Cloud-will be able, there is no compulsion to Cloud. In projects, regardless of the operator model, attention must be paid to how company-specific adjustments are implemented. If you don't follow Microsoft's guidelines, you risk additional license fees and technologically block your way into the future. You are dealing with the topic of ERP and Cloud on Agenda? Planning an update to Business Central? KUMAVISION will be happy to advise you on your individual Cloudand digitization strategy.