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Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV

Microsoft Dynamics product line includes a number of different ERP solutions. Each of the individual solutions are designed for specific industries and applications. However, people have often trouble distinguishing between Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX. So what's the difference really between the two ERP systems?

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Fully integrated ERP functionalities

Both Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics NAV offers fully integrated ERP functionalities and has industry specific functionality. The two solutions can both handle multiple languages and currencies and is therefore able to handle both local and regional needs. Both systems also allows that you can develop integrated add-on solutions that complement the existing ERP functionalities and adapts the system to a specific industry or business area.

Choosing between Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV?

Since the two systems support many of the same functionalities the fundamental difference is is not so much the functions they support, but rather the way they solve the tasks at. Therefore, a feature comparison does not reveal some glaring differences and it also does not make sense to compare Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV on the number of users they can handle even though many, including Microsoft itself, have tried to differentiate the two solutions in this way. The determining factors that separates the two solutions apart is based on how well they complement the objectives and growth plans for the individual organization or business.

Enterprise vs medium size

Basically, Dynamics NAV is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises with a certain degree of international presence. The solution includes powerful technology that small and medium-sized enterprises would not have the resources to buy, but allows them to compete with organizations that often surpasses their own size. As a company expands and an ERP system that is able to keep up with the organizational goals is a necessity Dynamics NAV comes into its own. The flexibility which makes the solution easy to customize and scale makes Dynamics NAV a really good choice for companies that plan to expand and grow the business.

Dynamics AX however, is designed for large enterprise organizations that has a broad international presence. For companies and organizations in that magnitude, it is important to be able to handle large deployments across national boundaries each of which work in their own language and having their own currency. Actually both Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX is designed to be scaled and adapted to the needs of an expanding company, but Dynamics AX is better equipped to meet the challenges of projects of a larger scale.

However, we must not forget that AX is a lot more complicated solution than NAV. Therefore, a successful Dynamics AX project will be more complex to implement than a Dynamics NAV project, more time consuming and require much more decisions. Dynamics AX will also often require a greater degree of technical resources when the system is up and running than Dynamics NAV. For these reasons Dynamics AX is both an expensive ERP solution to implement and operate than Dynamics NAV, but also more suitable for established enterprise organizations.

Complexity and maintenance costs

Both Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV is suitable to trade across borders, as they both support multiple languages and currencies. For enterprise companies in need of an ERP system which can handle global processes across multiple decentralized locations in different countries will Dynamics AX probably be the ideal solution. However, Dynamics NAV is more suitable for growing international companies with a less complicated corporate structure.


Although the two ERP solutions functionalities very much match each other Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV is designed for different organizational types, structures and sizes. One system is therefore not better than the other, but is simply designed to match companies of similar size and complexity. Having to invest in an ERP system is for all companies a large and extremely important decision. Before making a decision on which ERP solution to choose, you should be aware of the company's objectives, strategies and structure.

Please contact Active Business Solutions, we can help you choose the Dynamics ERP solution that matches your company's current and especially future needs best.

Please note

In 2018, Microsoft introduced their new business platform Dynamics 365, which was branded under the name Dynamics 365 and was supposed to replace Microsoft Dynamics Business Solutions. This meant, among other things, that all the business applications that previously made up Microsoft Dynamics Business Solutions were given new names. Dynamics CRM, for example, became Dynamics 365 Sales. The two ERP solutions Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX also changed names. Dynamics NAV became Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics AX first became Dynamics 365 for Operations, later Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Today, Finance and Operations consists of four business applications, Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management and Dynamics 365 Project Operations.

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