Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV are both ERP solutions from Microsoft and are both robust, dependable solutions. However, there is a difference when it comes to who these solutions are intended for and the purpose they serve.Choosing a new ERP solution for a growing business is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make. Both Microsoft AX and NAV are robust systems that will perform the intended functions well, but knowing the difference between them will help you choose the right solution that will fit the needs of your business.

What are Dynamics AX and NAV and who is it for

Both Dynamics NAV and AX are ERP and CRM solutions that were developed independently to help businesses manage their back-end operations more efficiently. Over the years, the role and features of both the platforms have evolved, with thousands of companies around the world having implemented either of these solutions.

Microsoft NAV, previously known as Navision, is primarily seen as the ERP/CRM solution for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Dynamics AX, previously known as Axapta, on the other hand is a slightly more advanced solution that is primarily aimed at enterprise businesses.

This does not mean that SMEs cannot deploy Dynamics AX. The higher price point of the solution means that businesses that are rapidly expanding would be able to take full advantage of this system. However, this is just one of the many differences between the two solutions that you have to consider before making a decision.

Difference between Microsoft AX and NAV

Size and complexity of the business

As mentioned above, NAV has the reputation of being a good solution for SMEs and AX is a good fit for enterprise companies. However, size doesn’t necessarily have to mean the number of employees or the number of offices around the world.

While it is true that NAV is easier to use and deploy if you need an on-premise solution for a single office, what you also need to factor in is how complex is your business and data structure. NAV can handle many of the requirements for enterprise companies that have multi-country and multi-currency requirements if they have a simpler architecture. But, if you have multiple entities, multifaceted workflows, or complex data architecture, AX may be a better fit.

AX had a reputation of being the best fit ERP for manufacturing firms. That is because manufacturing companies have complex processes and multiple components to the process. But, you don’t have to be a manufacturing firm to use the AX solution. The system can be useful for professional services firms too if you have a complex architecture with different business focus, more than one business entity, etc.

Cost and time it takes to implement NAV and AX

When it comes to cost, there are two aspects for you to consider. First is the implementation cost and the second is the license cost.

Since AX is capable of handling higher number of users, large amounts of data, and complex architecture, the cost of implementation is higher and it takes longer to implement. NAV, on the other hand, is quicker to implement, especially if you have a single location, on-premise deployment.

Similarly, when it comes to license costs, AX is available at a higher price point than NAV. Over the long-term, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) will also be higher for AX.

Is there a better option?

NAV was originally designed as an on-premise system. With the world now moving to the cloud and with more companies realizing the benefits, including the option of remote work, businesses that are using this solution are moving to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business central, which is a nimble and yet efficient, cloud-first system.

Businesses are stepping up from NAV to Microsoft Dynamics Business Central

Businesses that are currently using AX will find that Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers improved features like scalability, enhanced business visibility, and improved integrations. The functionality you get by moving to the cloud makes many of your current customizations redundant, and you will also be able to save up to 30% on infrastructure costs every year by moving to the cloud.

Moving to the cloud from AX to Microsoft Dynamics 365 comes with multiple benefits