Master Data Management – 10 apps for Business Central
When it comes to master data you have two challenges which are typically solved with two separate apps:
- Data hierarchy: In the cloud-version of Business Central, you can’t just add new fields and design your own data hierarchy. You need an app to enable you to build your own data structure, preferably without producing customer extensions that are expensive to maintain.
- Synchronization: You also need and app to maintain master data and replicate data across companies. Some tools are manual, some are automated, and some are limited to specific tables. Keep your eyes open, and be sure about what you need.
We have reviewed 10 apps from Microsoft AppSource for Business Central which covers exactly these two challenges. Let’s begin with building the data hierarchy.
Apps for: Building a Data Hierarchy
Adding fields to Business Central is not as simple as it sounds. If you just get a developer to modify your solution, you may run into trouble, when you receive new version upgrades from Microsoft. We have explained this in more details here.
This is why you need an app that allows you to add fields and define a data structure – entirely as configuration.
If you only intend to use this for product information, you are actually looking for a PIM system (Product Information Management) inside Business Central. You will find some apps on AppSource that are designed for this purpose. Stand-alone PIM is out-of-scope in this context.
PIM-apps are build to manage items, and they offer additional features in that respect, but they also provide less flexibility when it comes to building your own structure and extending it beyond the item table.
Let’s look at the apps we have found – ranging from simple apps for adding fields to dedicated PIM-apps.
1. nHanced 365 Core
This is actually a bundle of different features for Business Central, and the one you need in this respect is the on called Fields and Tables. It adds a fact box in the right side of the cards, where you can define new custom fields. You can’t build a hierarchy of master data, but simple fields are easy to configure.
The supplier has a complex structure of bundling apps, so you will have to inquire them about pricing. Also, no app for synchronizing data across companies are available, so if you also need to synchronize master data, you must make sure that the synchronization app you select works with the nHanced 365 Core.
2. Master Data Information
This app has its strengh in flexibility. You can add fields to 12 different tables, an unlimited number of fields, and you can build your own multi-level hierarchy of master data. You have PIM-features available, but not just on the item card, but also on vendors, customers, bill of materials, batch/lot numbers, service items, serial numbers etc.
You can bulk update, put images and documents on items, configure extended text fields, configure item templates, create your own data views, and you get advanced search features, and an import/export tool that is actually used to migrate entire entire Business Central solutions, and to make changes to master data in Excel and submit the changes back into the system.
Pricing is based on named full users. It’s not the cheapest of the apps, but it’s the one with the most features.
If you also need to synchronize master data, you can select the Global Master Data Sync which is from the same supplier.
This app is a PIM-system. It consists of several separate modules with functionality for master data management, quality management and publication management. It also includes unstructured data like documents and text, you can manage language versioning, data integrity etc.
The features are focused on collecting product information from suppliers and other sources, and on the other hand publishing product information to sales and marketing channels. But it is also limited to managing master data about items.
There is a 30-days free trial, but to get a quote you must contact the supplier.
4. Custom Defined Fields
This app enables you to add 32 custom fields in specific cards. It’s simple and easy, but you are limited to 32 fields, and the available tables are limited to Customer, Vendor, Item, Sales, Purchases, Resources, Jobs, Employee, Transfers, Services, Returns.
The field have a predefined position in the user interface, and you can’t configure a data hierarchy.
The free version allows you to add and use one (1) custom field, and the paid version provides 32 fields. It’s priced as a flat rate per tenant no matter the number of users.
5. Easy Custom Field Extender
This is another simple app for adding up to 3 fields per table, and only Customer, Vendor, Item, Sales Header and Purchase Header. This is simple and limited, and perfect for small needs.
There is a free trial for 30 days, and the subscription is priced as a flat rate per month independant of the number of users.
Apps for: Synchronization of data
For synchronizing master data between parent and child companies, you want to make sure that your selected app works with any custom fields you have added with one of the apps mentioned above. That’s really important.
6. Global Master Data Sync
This is versatile data synchronization app for Business Central. You can configure data sets based on any table, and then select which companies should subscribe to the data. You can allow a company to be both a master source and a receiver of master data. So you will not meet any restrictions when it comes to configuration.
The replication is automated, and the app also support data exchange with external solutions and databases using data file exchange. User right are also managed, so you can restrict editing of fields that are owned by the parent company.
If you are looking for a complete master data replication app, it’s either this one or the Master Data Management System.
You get a 60-days free trial, and the price is based on the number of named users in Business Central. Each additional user is at a lower price, and you can get a discount if you use more apps from the same supplier.
7. Master Data Management System
This is a feature-rich app for synchronizing master data between tenants and companies in Business Central. You have many options for designing the data set in the parent company, but an important thing to notice is that you are limited to a single parent company only.
The replication is automated. In the replication process, the data set is linked to the selected child company, and the replication can be either full or incremental. The app also manages user rights, preventing users in child companies to edit data which is owned by the parent company. The app uses SOAP Web Services as data transport layer.
If you are looking for a complete master data replication app, it’s either this one or the Global Master Data Sync.
You can have a free trial for 30 days, and the price of the app is calculated as a rate per month per named user in all Business Central tenants involved, with a max price equivalent to 100 users.
8. Wormhole – Master Data Management
The Wormhole app is designed to replicate data between companies inside a single tenant of Business Central, but with web services you can also transfer data to additional tenants.
You are not designing data sets, and it’s not intended to be a classic master company and child company structure, but more like configuring a number of data rules. You can configure unlimited combinations of database, company, table or field replications, and synchronize one-way or two-ways.
You can have a 30 day trial, but pricing is unknown, since the app is not featured on the suppliers website.
9. cc|data integration suite
This is not really a dedicated master data replication app. It’s more accurately a collaboration tool to transfer data and documents between companies engaging in the same supply chain.
Of course, this also includes replication of master data, but it is not intended to be a classic parent/child company structure. Look into it, if you are actually looking for an app to support supply chain collaboration.
There is a 30-days free trial, but to get a quote you must contact the supplier.
10. Copy Master Data
This one is for when you create a new company or enter new master data records. It enables you to copy master data from one company to another. It’s manually triggered and probably intended to be used only when you create a new company or enter a large bulk of master data.
It’s not a replication service, and it doesn’t run automatically. It’s a copy/paste function that you can initiate manually on G/L Accounts, Vendors, Customers, Fixed Assets, Items and Dimensions.
There is a free trial, but the price of the app is not listed.
These were the apps for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central that we have looked at.
We hope it was helpful, and if you have suggestions or input, please let us know. Use the form to leave us a comment.