Dynamics NAV to Business Central

Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365 Business Central? In this article we discuss what has changed in Dynamics 365 Business Central from Dynamics NAV.

For users of Dynamics NAV, the logical upgrade path is Dynamics 365 Business Central. For non-users of Dynamics NAV, the decision between Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central is now an academic one as Dynamics NAV is now closed to new customers.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is a completely new product, built on the Dynamics 365 platform. You will recognise some of the underlying features and processes from Dynamics NAV as this is what Business Central is based on.

What are the differences between the two ERP solutions?

  1. Cloud first
    Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud first product, whereas Dynamics NAV was an on-premises solution. This enables Dynamics 365 Business Central to be more accessible and powerful than Dynamics NAV. With Business Central, you get access on any device anywhere and you get new features such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Of course, Business Central is available as cloud, on-premises and hybrid options if you are not ready for the move to the cloud.
  2. Configure not customise
    For existing users of Dynamics NAV, this will be the big change in terms of implementations. With Dynamics NAV, you would take the out-of-the-box product and completely customise the code to suit your requirements. This means almost every Dynamics NAV instance is different and by editing the code of the product you prohibit updates as any updates would overwrite your customisations.
    Microsoft has designed Dynamics 365 Business Central to be extremely configurable, to support organisations moulding it to their requirements. When doing anything custom, you do not actually edit the core product. Instead, you create new database tables that talk to the core system. This means you will always get updates and should facilitate a much simpler implementation, which saves time and cost.
  3. User interface
    The new user interface is much better for Dynamics 365 Business Central compared to Dynamics NAV. It is built using the new Microsoft interface, and it is all about clear information, real time and personalised insights using dashboards, tiles and graphs to provide you with a clear snapshot of everything you need to know. This saves time for users and provides you with confidence that you are doing the right thing. The desktop is also browser based so it provides a consistent experience across devices.
  4. Embedded intelligence
    Dynamics 365 Business Central comes with AI out-of-the-box. This works behind the scenes to provide better insights, recommendations and forecasts to aid your productivity and decision making. This is only possible because Dynamics 365 Business Central harnesses the power of Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure.
  5. Power Platform
    One of the emerging technologies on the Microsoft platform is the Power Platform. This is their platform for extending Dynamics 365 and providing improved insights. This will be one of the best ways organisations transform their internal processes, and drive productivity and decision making. The impact of this is not to be underestimated. Discover more about the Power Platform.
  6. Regular updates
    Dynamics 365 Business Central has a 6 monthly update cycle where Microsoft releases a range of updates to features, security and interfaces. This is mandatory, so you are always on the latest version. This does mean you will need to do testing every 6 months to make sure any customisations you have still work, but as they sit outside the core product this should be much smoother than Dynamics NAV. This avoids the situation where you end up on an out-of-support version and means you get new feature updates twice a year all included in your license.
  7. Extendibility
    Dynamics 365 Business Central is built with connectivity in mind, it has out-of-the-box connectivity with Dynamics 365 for Sales if you need more CRM capability (see article here). You can extend it via the Power Platform but there are now hundreds of third-party extension applications offering additional capability. You can also easily access and connect to Business Central via APIs and build custom connectivity.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is the next generation of ERP from Microsoft embedded with emerging technologies powered by the cloud. This focus has resulted in a more powerful solution, embedded with intelligence, designed to maximise productivity and provide full access anywhere in the world. Dynamics 365 Business Central builds on the strong base of Dynamics NAV to provide users with a great solution that should stand the test of time.

To learn more about upgrading Dynamics NAV download our guide, ‘Next Steps for Dynamics NAV, or visit our Dynamics 365 Business Central page for more information.