Business Central Online is a cloud-based version of the software that is designed to be fast and efficient. Since Business Central Online is hosted in the cloud, it can provide faster access to data and improved scalability compared to on-premise deployments.
However, both versions, online and on-prem can sometimes experience slowness.
We all experienced from time to time, messages “Working on it…” when searching for entities, or executing a process, or loading an external file. Some time ago I wrote about Performance Profiler, which is a tool that can be used equally by business users and consultants.
This blog post is about tips on how to measure or improve Business Central Online performance by analyzing factors like the ones below:
- the speed and stability of the internet connection being used,
- the browser being used,
- the size of the data being processed,
- the complexity of the business processes being carried out
- the controls on BC pages (factboxes, fields)
All these tips are explained in my video below:
It’s important to ensure that the internet connection being used is fast and reliable in order to achieve optimal performance when using Business Central Online and that the users are engaging with a supported bowser.
What should business users look for specifically?
For internet connection check your network latency and your network bandwidth.
Microsoft documentation specifies: “Business Central is designed for networks that have a latency of 250–300 milliseconds (ms) or less. This latency is the latency from a browser client to the Microsoft Azure datacenter that hosts the app. We recommend that you test network latency at AzureSpeed.com or similar services.”.
Let’s check the latency of my browser.
Navigate to AzureSpeed.com and check your location, for me is East US:
For my location, East US 2, the latency is 61 ms which is within parameters specified above.
According to latest Microsoft documentation, “Bandwidth requirements for Business Central depend on your scenario. Most typical scenarios require a bandwidth, which is 1 megabyte per second (MBps) or more. However, we recommend more bandwidth for scenarios that have high payload requirements, such as scenarios that involve rich media or client add-ins”.
Let’s check the network speed. Open Control Panel, search for “Network”:
Click on “View Network connections”:
Double-click on your active network, in my case my Wifi:
We can see that the speed is 1.2 Gbps (giga byte per second) which is way more than the minimum required of 1 Mbps.
Let’s move on to browser.
What browser are you using?
According to Microsoft documentation, “Business Central supports multiple browsers. Each browser offers various features and capabilities. The browser plays a significant role in the responsiveness and fluidity of the user interface.”
Are you using one of these browsers?
Microsoft Edge: Business Central is designed to work with the current version of Microsoft Edge.
Chrome for Windows and Firefox for Windows: Business Central is designed to work with the current version of these desktop browsers.
Safari: Business Central is designed to work with the current version of Safari on macOS.
Alternatively, if you prefer to work with the Business Central app, you can install it from here.
Is your browser up to date?
Check if your browser is the latest version. Click on the top right corner on the 3 dots, and choose Settings:
Take advantage of caching
Some browsers offer caching capabilities. Check the list below:
Caching is important as parts of the pages you visit are stored locally on your drive and not needed when you revisit the same page. Not downloading a large amount of data over the networks can improve the overall experience.
Cached pages are discarded when you work InPrivate. Pages brought in an InPrivate session are removed from the disk when you close the browser, thus next time you visit the same page, all components of the page will have to be downloaded from the web server which can give the appearance of a slower system.
Microsoft advises users relying on In Private or guest browsing to work across multiple identities and organizations to use browser profiles instead.
Are you downloading/uploading large files to Business Central?
Do you work with high resolution files? Consider uploading a smaller resolution/size files or consider splitting the files in smaller chunks. Instead of importing 1000000 rows excel file, consider splitting it in 3 or 4 files.
Do you really need all controls on your page?
When you are on a list pages the factboxes are recalculated every time you select a new record.
Do you really need the information in the factboxes?
If you don’t, you can actually collapse the factboxes, and the system won’t need to calculate the information in these controls and will save us a round-trip to the server and back to the browser.
By clicking on the top right button, the factboxes are collapsed:
By clicking again on the same button (with a different image though) we make the factboxes re-appear.
Remove page controls
With Personalize, users can remove completely factboxes, fields or parts of the Role Center:
See more on Personalization here.
Use field filtering instead of Search
One of my customers had hundreds of thousands of posted sales invoices. Using the top Search box to locate one posted sales invoice was always causing a “Working on it…” message. The Search button triggers the search of the text over all columns.
However, when users started to filter the page by using the column “No.” they had a better experience:
While most of the time, the slowness is due to inefficient code in one area of the system, there are factors that can affect the performance and are available for verification to business users. Make sure the browser and the network are meeting the minimum requirements and move onto studying the pages that are slow, by either removing temporarily or definitively parts of it, and ultimately adjust your processes to manipulate smaller files if possible. When searching, if the usage of page Search leads to slowness, use filters so the filtering is executed at the fields level, instead of all columns..
In the next blog will look at what business users can do to detect the culprit extensions responsible for slowing the system.