Dynamics NAV vs D365 Business Central
Dynamics NAV now called Business Central, Dynamics NAV is one of Microsoft‘s most prolific software packages with over 110,000 installations worldwide. Microsoft is now investing over 1 billion dollars annually in the research and product development on the platform.
What started as the on-premises application, designed for small to medium-sized businesses, now has several deployment options ranging from private to public cloud, all designed to work seamlessly with other Microsoft applications like the Dynamics 365 for Sales, Office 365 and Power BI.
In keeping with giving world-class software solutions, Microsoft’s goal with the transition to Business Central is to guide companies through their own digital transformations, retaining and growing a customer base now ready for the security and availability of the cloud applications.
New Recipe, Better Processes
Improving upon Dynamics NAV vs Business Central offers:
- Tighter integration with other Microsoft applications, without traditional silos that hinder efficiency
- A complete view of your business using real-time information and business analytics to generate actionable insights through embedded Power BI
- Easy upgrades with a bi-annual release cadence
- Creation and the automation of workflows, with Microsoft Flow, to improve efficiency
- Seamless information sharing with the Microsoft CRM platform, Dynamics 365 for Sales
How Does Business Central differ from Dynamics NAV?
Frankly, the new Dynamics 365 Business Central contains a lot of standard functionality we get from Dynamics NAV. So, if the functionality is almost similar, why upgrade?
The new version has several key features including:
- Licensing Options: You can license Business Central as a monthly subscription or perpetual, it’s up to you whether you want an operating expense or capital.
- Hosting Options: Business Central is available as both the cloud-based SaaS solution or perpetual/hosted solution, while Dynamics NAV offers the option to use the solution on a private data center or on your own server but not the pure cloud.
- Easy Upgrades: With Business Central, your environment will see automatic upgrades performed in the background on a bi-annual release cadence. Any third-party add-ons or the customizations made to your environment are now designed so they won’t interfere with this process. Compare this to upgrades for Dynamics NAV which can take months to complete depending upon the complexity of the environment.
Transitioning from NAV to Business Central
Existing Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers may be unclear whether they should upgrade their current ERP solution. They may be unsure about how much the upgrade will cost, who can upgrade and when they should make the change.
Microsoft is committed to delivering up-to-date solutions that support its users to streamline their business processes, enhance customer interactions, and stimulate growth.
Business benefits with Business Central
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 Business Central), you get the same standard functionality as you get with Dynamics NAV (Navision). Both solutions are rich in standard functionality as well as direct integration into D365 Sales (Microsoft CRM), Office 365, Power BI, etc.
Microsoft describes the D365 Business Central as the ‘all-in-one business solution’ that helps you streamline business processes in your company, enhance your customer interactions, and create development and growth.
Business Central is built around the following 3 business benefits:
- No silos
The close integration between the business applications in Dynamics 365 ensures a business without data silos where you can share updated information and not least work smarter and more efficiently.
- Built for development
Dynamics 365 is the flexible business platform that can be scaled to suit and meet your business needs in terms of size and complexity.
- Business insight
The integration to Power BI and the ability to utilize the Azure Intelligence tools (for example Cortana for forecasts) give increased insight into your company and business.
As with the Dynamics NAV, the functionality of the D365 Business Central is divided into two so-called ‘packages’, Essentials and Premium. The functionality of ‘Essentials’ corresponds to the NAV’s ‘Starter Pack’ and the functionality of ‘Premium’ corresponds to NAV’s ‘Extended Pack’.
The following table is an overview of high-level functional areas addressed in Dynamics NAV vs D365 Business Central.
D365 Business Central Essentials /
D365 Business Central Premium /
Supply Chain Management
Sales Order processing
Supply Chain Management
Advanced Warehousing (Essentials)
Jobs and Resources
Job Planning, Budgets and Invoicing
Assembly Bill of Materials
Access the solution
On a computer, Business Central is accessed via a web client through a browser, on mobile devices, you access the Business Central via an application you download. Therefore, you can only access and use the Business Central on your computer via the browser you prefer and not, as you are used to from Dynamics NAV, via a local desktop client.
On the other hand, you can use the Dynamics NAV both with a local client installed on the computer, but also access the solution online via a browser. If you are using the mobile or tablet, there are also apps for Dynamics NAV.
Business Central is licensed as per month subscription, where you only pay per named user. This means, among other things, that there will be no opportunity for simultaneous users, prior purchases, the annual maintenance agreements, etc.
This new licensing model will probably be problematic for some of the NAV users who are used to a payment model we know from there. On the other hand, the Office 365 users who already know this licensing model, will probably find it easier to adapt.
Business Central is a SaaS solution and is therefore hosted exclusively in a cloud on Azure by Microsoft.
With Dynamics NAV, you have both the options to implement the solution on Azure, in the private data center or locally on your own server.
As mentioned above, the 2 solutions are very similar, but Business Central has minor functionality changes, which have been required to take, as certain security considerations must be taken when running an application as a SaaS solution. The changes in the Business Central imply, among other things, that access to some files on the servers as well as access to some of the system tables has been blocked for developers.
Business Central allows you to install extensions developed by ISV (Independent software vendor) partners directly from the Microsoft AppSource. That way you can expand the app’s functionality and quickly test and try out the new options and then quickly uninstall the add-on if it does not meet the needs you expected.
This option is not available with Dynamics NAV. On the other hand, with NAV you can customize the solution’s functionality so it is tailored to the individual company and develop add-on modules that extend the functionality of the solution. However, everything indicates that these opportunities will at some point be transferred to the Business Central.
Business Central is constantly updated, so rather than waiting for annual version release, as we know it from Dynamics NAV, the Business Central is updated on a monthly basis.
So which solution is right for you?
Both Business Central and the Dynamics NAV are targeted at medium-sized companies.
However, the D365 Business Central is in terms of price especially attractive to small businesses that have outgrown their accounting system and need a true ERP system in which they can continue to grow. Until the AppSource has more and better solutions to offer, D365 Business Central must be said to be best suited for companies that can do with standard software.
Dynamics NAV, on the other hand, is aimed at companies with complex needs where customization and enhanced functionality is required, as well as those who insist on an on-premise solution.
In this Article, we discussed the Major difference between Dynamics NAV vs D365 Business central along with their Functionalities.