Microsoft's Business Central Universal Code Initiative: What It Is and What It Means to You

Microsoft's Business Central Universal Code Initiative: What It Is and What It Means to You

Recently, Microsoft introduced a new program, called the Business Central Universal Code Initiative, which replaced the Registered Solution Program (RSP) and the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD) programs.

In short, the initiative is aiming for better quality solutions that will be future proof by supporting Microsoft’s cloud-first strategy. It does this by requiring add-ons or anything developed for Business Central (including customer-developed code) to meet a minimum requirement to exist in the cloud. The term, “universal code” means that everyone must go to full extensions (no code customized in the base application), and code created must have the ability to work both on premises and in the cloud (hence, “universal”).

In addition to ensuring code is future-proofed, there are many benefits to the Business Central Universal Code Initiative, including:

  • The code be implemented anywhere (online, PTE, OnPrem, hosted environments, etc.)
  • Developers/publishers are encouraged to take advantage of the power of cloud services, which benefits customers

The new policy can actually be summed up rather quickly:

  • Licensed on Business Central before April 1st, 2022? No impact until you upgrade
  • Licensed on Business Central after April 1st, 2022? You will be impacted in Q1 2023

So, what is the impact? There will be an increase in the schedule of fees, per user:

YearCode Has Modified Base ObjectsCode is Not Cloud Optimized
Figure 1 – Schedule of fees for Microsoft’s Business Central Universal Code Initiative

This price is “per full user.” The more users you have, the more costly it is to run your legacy code. If you’re a large company with, say, a 100-user license, that means, in three short years, you could be paying more than $40,000 annually just to run outdated code.

For many customers, the Business Central Universal Code Initiative is an opportunity to shed what most would call “technical debt.” Much like deadlines, technical debt is a fact of life, and inherently it’s neither good nor bad. It happens because in our daily work we’re constantly making trade-offs to meet constraints – taking that shortcut to hit the date or hard-coding something for a specific use case, for example. I like to call this “complexity debt“– after all, these are not just technical problems, they’re business problems – and we don’t often realize just how much they can impact our future.

ArcherPoint Is – and Has Been – On Board with the Business Central Universal Code Initiative

At ArcherPoint, I’m proud to say that a number of years ago, we made an educated guess that something like this was coming. We took a stand then and said that we were done modifying base objects. We don’t even train our new developers how to do it. And while we do have some customers (less than 5 percent) who are not cloud optimized, all but one was inherited from another partner, and that one was done in consultation with the client purposefully choosing that path. It brings me joy that this is something our customers don’t have to worry about because we invested in making sure we were building for the future.

There are so many new options to explore that are available to help you build a modern workplace: Power Platform, Logic Apps, Cosmos DB, Application Insights, and others. Everything doesn’t have to live inside of NAV/Business Central anymore. In many cases these solutions can be managed in-house by someone who has limited technical knowledge and a passion for making things better. If you can’t tell, I love talking about these things, so, if you ever have a question about development, what’s on the horizon from a technical perspective, or even complexity debt, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the form on our contact page.

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