What’s The Difference? Microsoft Business Central VS Dynamics NAV

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is Microsoft’s new enterprise business planning (ERP) solution for small to medium enterprises (SME’s). Dynamic 365 Business Central, however, contains essentially the same functionality that we’ve already become familiar with from Microsoft Dynamic NAV; there are of course a few new differences and that’s what we’re going to be looking at today.

Business Benefits With Microsoft Dynamics 365

With Business Central, you get almost the same functionality as you would with Dynamics NAV. Both of these programs are incredibly rich in standard functionality and direct integration into D365 Sales (Microsoft CRM) as well as Office 365, Power BI and more.

Microsoft itself has described Business Central as an all-in-one solution that helps you streamline your business processes while also enhancing your customer interactions, growth and development. Business Central has been built around the following three specific benefits:

  • No Silos – The integration between business applications in Dynamics 365 helps to ensure a business without data silos, where you can help share data while working smarter and more efficiently.
  • Development – It’s a flexible business platform that has the ability to be scaled to suit and meet your business needs, in both size and complexity.
  • Insight – With the integration to Power BI, as well as the ability to utilise the Azure Intelligence tools, you gain increased insight into your business.

The Differences Between D365 Business Central And Dynamics NAV

There are a handful of differences between the two as well as a few overlapping functionalities. Let’s break those down:

  • Functionality – The functionality with Dynamics 365 Business Central is split into two different packages. These are called Essentials and Premium. The functionality of Essentials corresponds with NAV’s starter pack while the functionality of Premium corresponds with NAV’s extended pack.
  • Accessing Solutions – When using a desktop, Business Central is accessed through a web client via a browser. On mobile devices, it’s accessed via an application that’s downloadable. Dynamic NAV, on the other hand, can be accessed both with a local client installed on the computer and also via a browser. It can also be accessed via applications on mobile and tablet too, making it more accessible.
  • Licensing – When it comes to licensing, Business Central is a monthly subscription. You only pay per named user. This means no simultaneous users, prior purchases etc. This new licensing model could become problematic for some of the NAV users who are used to a different payment model. Alternatively, 365 users will already be familiar with this type of licensing.
  • Hosting Options – Business Central is hosted on-premise, as a subscription model and in the cloud on Azure by Microsoft. You can utilise Business Central however you want it. The same can be said for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, allowing you to make use of Azure, a private data centre or alternatively, your own local server.
  • Changes – As we’ve said on more than one occasion, the two business management solutions are very similar however, Business Central has had some minor functionality changes. These were required as certain security considerations must be taken into account when running an application as a SaaS solution. The changes within this particular software imply that access to some files on the server, along with access to a few of the system tables, have been blocked for developers.
  • Extended Functionality – A fantastic bonus with Business Central allows you to install any extensions developed by independent software vendor partners directly from Microsoft. This means you could quite easily expand the functionality of the application, while also very quickly testing the new options and if needed, uninstalling the add-on should it not meet your needs or expectations. With Dynamics NAV, however, you aren’t able to do this. You are however able to customise the functionality of the solution so it’s essentially tailored to your individual company. You may even develop add-on-modules that help extend the functionality you do have. Current indications, however, imply these opportunities will at some point be transferred over to 365 Business Central.
  • Updates – Business Central is continually updated. This means that instead of waiting for the annual version you release, you could receive monthly updates.

Dynamics Nav vs Business Central Which Is The Right Solution For You?

Both offerings from Business Microsoft are great products, the question is, which is the best option for you? Dynamics Nav vs Business Central this is where it gets a little trickier. While both D365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV are aimed at medium-sized companies, it’s Business Central that makes itself more appealing.

It does so based on the fact that it’s more affordable for a start. By being more attractively priced, it’s instantly more appealing to those SME’s who’ve outgrown their current ERP system and are looking for the next best solution.

While it could be said that Dynamics 365 Business Central is the best-suited option to companies that are happy to work with standard software, the ability to install extensions developed by independent software vendors means virtually anyone can enjoy it.  

Yes, Dynamics NAV does at first appeal to small to medium-sized businesses that have slightly more complex needs however with the ability to extend the functionality of Business Central in virtually any direction thanks to adding one you choose, it once again comes out on top.

Contact the NAV Experts Today

If you’d like more information on both Microsoft Dynamics Business Central and Microsoft Dynamics NAV, simply contact our team today. They’ll be more than happy to advise you on the best solution for you and your business to ensure you enjoy the most efficient and cost-effective solution possible. Contact us today on talktous@navexperts.co.uk.

About the author

Sue Wright

Business Development Manager, Sue, has been part of the team since 2015, having previously worked in the technology sector for 7 years. Her role sees her running the Sales and Marketing teams as well as supporting the Account Managers on a daily basis.