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Nathan Sinnott July 21st, 2018

Microsoft offer a variety of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions via their Dynamics product range. It’s reasonable to note that Microsoft have made a substantial effort toward creating a solution for every purpose and almost every industry. Two of the Dynamics offerings, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX (now part of Microsoft Dynamics 365) share some of the same features, hence we often find companies considering a new ERP solution wondering what are the differences between Microsoft Dynamics NAV & Microsoft Dynamics AX, and which is the right for their organization.

Both of these ERP solutions are highly customizable, available in, and adaptable to many languages and currencies. The two solutions can also be employed in a central location or across multiple remote office locations, and have been designed to grow as a business grows. Their industry-specific functionality assists with compliance at a local regional level. Both Microsoft Dynamic NAV & Dynamics AX can be appropriately described as comprehensive and well equipped to manage complex requirements of supply chain and inventory.

So, what is the difference? Is one better than the other for your particular organization?

It really comes down to a question of the size of your organization and how well the solution aligns with your needs, goals and projected growth.

Is your business small to mid-size or larger?

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is marketed toward small to mid-size companies, and able to support some international components.  As the business grows, the ability to scale and keep pace with its organizational goals is crucial, and NAV is designed to do just that. The ease of customization and ability to scale make Dynamics NAV an excellent choice for many small to mid-size organizations.

Dynamics AX (now called Dynamics 365 for Operations), on the other hand, is designed for larger, enterprise-class organizations with a broader international presence. The unique challenges of these larger organizations which may exist across continents, languages, and currencies can be well met by Dynamics AX (Dynamics 365). Again, both solutions are designed to scale and grow along with your organization, but one of the main differences between these solutions is that AX/365 is better equipped to address the specific size and scale challenges of large enterprise organizations.

AX requires a specialised level of expertise

Another consideration is that AX/365 is somewhat more complicated than NAV. Implementation will be more complex and time-consuming, requiring more decisions and demanding class leading project management in order to be successful. Dynamics NAV implementations whilst also demand experts to scope, implement and manage, are typically smaller, faster, and simpler projects to deploy. Post installation, Dynamics AX/365 will often require dedicated technical resources to manage the solution, while Dynamics NAV will not. Because of the increased complexity, Dynamics AX/365 costs more to implement and run than Dynamics NAV.

Do you have global operations?

Dynamics AX/365 is better for managing large-scale global operations. This will prove significant for large manufacturers who need to view inventory in various international locations and have visibility into all areas of a large organization. Dynamics NAV is a very popular, effective ERP solution for growing international businesses that don’t yet have such a complicated organizational structure.

Both Dynamics NAV and AX/365 provide your organization with excellent business agility, intelligence, and analytics. The two ERP solutions, Dynamics AX/Dynamics 365 as well as Dynamics NAV are designed specifically for the challenge of adapting quickly to changing business circumstances and growth.

Both solutions are available as hosted ERP solutions or a combination of hosted and on-premises solutions. Choosing the cloud-hosted model further increases the agility and breadth of both.

So which is best?

Although their capabilities are similar, Dynamics AX/365 and Dynamics NAV were designed for different organizational types, structures, and sizes. One is not better than the other; they are simply intended to be matched with corresponding business complexity and size.

Investing in an ERP system is a big decision, and the first step is having a clear vision of your company’s goals, strategies, and structure. Your Microsoft Dynamics partner should be able to help you determine which solution will best suit your organization.

Please contact Newpath Web to help you choose the Dynamics ERP solution that matches your company’s current and especially future needs best.

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