Dynamics NAV vs Business Central: How are They Different?

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Dynamics NAV Overview

Microsoft Dynamics NAV, formerly known as Navision, has been a popular ERP solution for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) for over two decades. Known for its flexibility and extensive functionality, Dynamics NAV covers various business processes, including finance, manufacturing, supply chain, sales, and service management.

Key Features of Dynamics NAV:

  1. Financial Management: Comprehensive financial reporting, budgeting, and analysis.
  2. Manufacturing: Production planning, scheduling, and management.
  3. Supply Chain Management: Inventory control, warehouse management, and procurement.
  4. Sales and Service Management: Customer relationship management, sales order processing, and service management.
  5. Customization and Extensibility: Highly customizable with a range of third-party add-ons and integrations.

Dynamics NAV has been widely appreciated for its on-premises deployment, which provides businesses with greater control over their data and IT infrastructure. Additionally, NAV’s rich set of features and the ability to tailor the solution to specific business needs have made it a go-to choice for many SMBs worldwide.

Introducing Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics 365 Business Central is the evolution of Dynamics NAV, reimagined as a cloud-first solution. Launched in 2018, Business Central offers the core functionalities of NAV but with enhanced capabilities designed to meet the needs of modern businesses.

Key Features of Dynamics 365 Business Central:

  1. Cloud and On-Premises Deployment: Flexibility to choose between cloud, on-premises, or hybrid deployment.
  2. Financial Management: Real-time financial insights, automated workflows, and robust reporting.
  3. Supply Chain and Inventory Management: Advanced inventory optimization, automated procurement processes, and integrated warehouse management.
  4. Sales and Service Management: Improved customer relationship management, sales forecasting, and service order management.
  5. Project Management: Tools for planning, managing, and tracking projects with real-time updates.
  6. Integration with Microsoft Ecosystem: Seamless integration with other Microsoft products like Office 365, Power BI, and Azure.
  7. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Built-in AI capabilities for predictive insights and decision-making support.

Dynamics NAV vs Business Central: Key Differences

While Dynamics NAV and Business Central share a common foundation, several key differences set them apart:

  1. Deployment Options:
  • Dynamics NAV: Primarily an on-premises solution, though it can be hosted on private servers.
  • Business Central: Designed as a cloud-first solution with the flexibility of on-premises and hybrid deployments.
  1. Integration and Ecosystem:
  • Dynamics NAV: Integration requires more customization and often relies on third-party solutions.
  • Business Central: Seamlessly integrates with the broader Microsoft ecosystem, including Office 365, Power BI, and Azure, providing a unified platform for business operations.
  1. Updates and Maintenance:
  • Dynamics NAV: Updates are manual and require significant IT resources.
  • Business Central: Automatic updates and maintenance in the cloud, reducing the burden on IT teams and ensuring access to the latest features and security enhancements.
  1. User Experience:
  • Dynamics NAV: Traditional desktop interface.
  • Business Central: Modern, intuitive user interface accessible via web browsers and mobile apps, enhancing user experience and accessibility.
  1. Cost and Scalability:
  • Dynamics NAV: Higher initial costs due to on-premises infrastructure and customization needs.
  • Business Central: Subscription-based pricing model with lower upfront costs and the ability to scale as your business grows.
  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:
  • Dynamics NAV: Limited built-in AI capabilities.
  • Business Central: Advanced AI and machine learning features for predictive analytics and improved decision-making.

Benefits of Transitioning from Dynamics NAV to Business Central

For businesses currently using Dynamics NAV, transitioning to Business Central can offer numerous benefits:

  1. Enhanced Flexibility:

With Business Central, you can choose the deployment option that best suits your business needs, whether it’s cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid approach.

  1. Seamless Integration:

Business Central’s integration with other Dynamics 365 applications allows for a more connected and efficient business environment, leveraging tools you may already use.

  1. Improved User Experience:

The modern interface of Business Central is designed for ease of use, making it easier for employees to navigate and perform their tasks efficiently.

  1. Reduced IT Burden:

With automatic updates and cloud-based maintenance, your IT team can focus on strategic initiatives rather than routine maintenance tasks.

  1. Advanced Analytics:

Business Central’s AI capabilities provide valuable insights into your operations, helping you make data-driven decisions that drive growth and efficiency.

  1. Cost-Effective:

The subscription-based model of Business Central can be more cost-effective in the long run, with lower initial costs and the ability to scale your subscription as your business grows.

Considerations for Implementation

Implementing or transitioning to Dynamics 365 Business Central requires careful planning and execution. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Assess Business Needs:

Evaluate your current business processes and identify areas where Business Central can add value. This will help you tailor the implementation to meet your specific needs.

  1. Data Migration:

Plan for a smooth data migration from Dynamics NAV to Business Central. Ensure data integrity and completeness throughout the process.

  1. Training and Change Management:

Provide comprehensive training to your team to ensure they are comfortable with the new system. Implement change management strategies to facilitate user adoption and minimize resistance.

  1. Partner with Experts:

Consider partnering with experienced implementation partners like Dynamics Square to ensure a successful transition. Their expertise can help you navigate the complexities of the implementation process.

Why Upgrade to Business Central from Dynamics NAV?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a comprehensive business management solution packed with enhanced features, core business functionalities, add-ons, third-party software integrations, and increased flexibility.

Why Choose Dynamics Square for Your Implementation?

As a trusted Gold Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner in Canada, Dynamics Square has extensive experience in implementing Dynamics NAV and Business Central. Their team of experts understands the intricacies of both systems and can guide you through a seamless transition, ensuring that you maximise the benefits of your new ERP solution.


By understanding the key differences and benefits of each, you can make an informed decision that best suits your business needs. Whether you are considering upgrading from Dynamics NAV or implementing an ERP solution for the first time, Dynamics 365 Business Central, with the support of Dynamics Square, can help you achieve your business goals and stay ahead in today’s competitive market.
Contact Us today for Dynamics 365 Implementation, Customization, Upgrade & Maintenance.


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