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Dynamics NAV on Azure vs. Dynamics 365

Microsoft's two ERP solutions, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition, resembles each other a lot and also have a lot in common, but what is the difference between the two applications and which solution should you choose?

Differences and similarities

The reason why two solutions in many ways look similar probably is, that when Microsoft developed Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition, at that time known under the work title 'Project Madeira', built it on Dynamics NAV. However, the difference between the two solutions is that Dynamics 365 is only a 'SaaS' solution, which means that it is only avalible through a cloud based application that, you can connect to via the Internet, whereas Dynamics NAV can be implemented locally on your own server.

Continued development

So basically, Dynamics 365 Financial Business Edition and Dynamics NAV are very much alike and much of the functionality from Dynamics NAV can be transferred directly to Dynamics 365. However, this does not mean that Dynamics NAV is phased out, Microsoft continues to release updates to both applications well into the future.

Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition

Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition is as known as the 'latest newcomer in the ERP family'. The solution is microsoft's take on a less expensive 'SaaS' ERP system, a cloud based economy application developed by Microsoft and hosted on their cloud service Azure. Dynamics 365 Finance provides basic functionality in finance, procurement, sales and inventory and is, according to Microsoft, designed for companies with up to 100 users.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Where Dynamics 365 is the 'latest newcomer in the ERP family, Dynamics NAV, which has a long history and a lot of versions behind it, is the well-known veteran in the ERP world. In addition to economic functionality, Dynamics NAV includes functionality for supply chain management, CRM and much more. Today, more than 100,000 companies use Dynamics NAV on a daily basis.

Infrastructure and implementation options

One of the major differences between the two financial applications are the way you are able to implement them. Dynamics 365 Finance is a cloud application and can only be purchased on subscription. With Dynamics 365 Finance, you don't have to worry about having to install the application on your computer, updating it, etc. It all happens and is delivered online after the 'SaaS' (Software-as-a-Service) model. For many companies, this is a really nice and clear model, but for other companies, the SaaS model involves some disadvantages, such as lack of flexibility and data autonomy.

In this regard, Microsoft Dynamics NAV somewhat more flexibility. With Dynamics NAV, you choose whether to install the solution on your own server or in a third party cloud, such as Microsoft Azure. Dynamics NAV works really well when the solution is placed in the cloud so the choice between the two solutions (NAV and 365) should not be based on whether you want an economy system in the cloud, but on whether if you want a 'SaaS' application or not.

Pricing and licensing

Dynamics NAV can be purchased either with a permanent license that entitles you to use the solution for as long as you want or you can purchase the solution on a subscription basis, where you pay your license on a regular basis as with a 'SaaS' solution. Once you have acquired the right to use Dynamics NAV, your users must of course also have access to the application. With the starter pack you get three full users. If you need more users, these can be purchased either as 'Full Users' that have access to everything in Dynamics NAV or as 'Limited Users' that can only look into Dynamics NAV and "write" in a limited number of databases.

In Dynamics 365, only 'named' users can be purchased and can only be licensed on subscription. This means that you pay for each person who needs access to Dynamics 365.

Functionality

As mentioned earlier, Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition and Dynamics NAV looks like each other and since there is still developed on Dynamics 365 it is most likely that all functionality in the Dynamics NAV starter pack shortly will be available in Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition, which it already almost also is. However, if you need more advanced functionality such as inventory management, production and advanced service out of the box, Dynamics NAV is almost certainly the right solution for you, as this functionality is included in the Dynamics NAV Extended Pack, but is not available in Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition.

Customization and configuration

For example, if you need expanded or modified functionality that goes beyond the standard functionality in Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365, in AppSource you might find an application that meets your needs and fits Dynamics 365 Financials, whereas with Dynamics NAV, you can develop an add-on module that meets exactly the needs you may have.

For example, if you need expanded or modified functionality in Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365, in AppSource, you might find an application that meets your needs and fits Dynamics 365 Financials, whereas, with Dynamics NAV, you can develop an add-on module that meets exactly the needs you may have.

So in spite of the immediate similarities of the two systems, Dynamics NAV is undoubtedly the most flexible solution when it comes to system customization. Dynamics NAV is one of the most "open" ERP systems when it comes to customization and the system can be modified to accommodate the exact business needs in your company.

In addition, and again despite the similarities, Dynamics 365 is a simpler product and has neither the configuration capabilities found in Dynamics NAV nor the vast knowledge and talent available to customers using Dynamics NAV.

NAV and 365 comparison

 

 

Dynamics 365 Finance Business Edition
Dynamics NAV

Has existed since

2016

1987

Number of users

Less than 1000

More than 100.000

Infrastructure

Restricted to 'SaaS'

Both local and cloud

Licensing

One type only

Flexibility

Price

Low

Average

Upgrades /
updates

Automatic

Project Demanding

Functionality
(Finans)

Included

Included

Functionality
(Manufacturing and inventory)

AppSource

Extended Pack

Potential for configuration

Limited

Extended

 

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