What is AppSource and why do we need it?
ERP systems used to be among those of our IT systems that was not updated very frequently. The transition to cloud based solutions have changed that. Earlier a new main version of Navision or Microsoft Dynamics NAV was released every 2- 3 year and far from all customers actually moved to the new versions.
Now Microsoft launches two main versions of Business Central every year. Typically one in April and one in October. They are typically called release wave 1 and release wave 2. And in between there are one cumulative update launched every month. Customers that are running the online version of Business Central are automatically updated with out them having to take any actions to get updated.
One of the reasons why many customers did not upgrade to new versions as soon as they came out was due to customization done to their system. Navision, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and now Business Central are really made to be customized. And that is really one of the major strengths of the product.
With the introduction of AppSource for Business Central Microsoft wants to address some of the issues that often led to customized installation being left behind as new versions of the base application was launched.
Microsoft are trying to encourage partners to standardize their customization and launch them as apps on AppSource instead of having them as customer specific modifications or addons to the base Business Central application.
So this means that instead of time and resource consuming upgrades you now can update a Business Central app as easy as what we are used to do on our mobile phones.
How to find an app on AppSource?
The simplest way to find an app on AppSource is simply to use the “Tell me” search function within Business Central. The search result this function returns is not only result from the base Business Central application but it will also show relevant search result from what is available on AppSource.
You can also go directly to the AppSource website and search for Business Central apps there.
What are the prices for the apps on AppSource and how do i pay for them?
The listings you see on AppSource does not necessarily show any pricing information. Some off the apps are listen as free, some gives you a free trial and some are listed as “contact me”.
When a app is listed as free, you get a free license to use the app. And the partner who published the app should not charge you for the app.
The “Free trail” listings gives you the right to use the app for a limited time before you decide if you want to purchase it or not. During the trail period you should have a dialog with the publisher of the app to get an offer for the license and agree on the terms. If you do not want to continue to use the app after the free trail, you should uninstall it.
The “contact me” offerings means that the publisher for the app will contact you. They should then discuss the license term and pricing with you before they agree to let you install the app on your Business Central tenant.
The free and the free trail apps can be installed directly from AppSource onto your Business Central tenant. I strongly recommend that you install new apps in a Sandbox environment before you try it out in your production environment. You can easily create a new sandbox from the Business Central admin center.
What do i do if the app is published by another partner then what is my preferred Cloud Solution Partner?
Even though you are not obligated to inform your preferred partner that you try out apps that are not published by them, i think it is smart of you to do so. That makes it easier for them to manage your environment according to the agreement you have with them. Your partner can also probably help you out in testing and verifying that the app you found on AppSource is reliable.
Remember to chose apps from well know and trusted companies. This applies both on AppSource as in other aspects of life.
It is important to understand that if a partner that have published an app on AppSource stops maintaining the app – nor Microsoft or anyone else have any obligation to take over that responsibility.
How are my AppSource app updated?
For every major release, typically in April and October, Microsoft will check it any AppSource app you have in your tenant have a new version available. If that is the case the AppSource app will be automatically updated together with the base application. The same check is not done for minor updates. So for those you will have to update manually or have the AppSource publisher update the app for you.