Dynamics NAV vs Dynamics 365 Business Central: Unveiling the Differences

Microsoft has introduced several advanced and robust ERP solutions, including Dynamics NAV (legacy version) and Dynamics 365 Business Central (cloud-based version), to facilitate seamless day-to-day business operations. These ERP solutions are designed to efficiently handle the routine activities of thousands of enterprises across various sizes and industries in a short span of time.

From Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central: Tracking the Evolution

Originally known as Navision, Microsoft acquired and rebranded it as Dynamics NAV in 2005. Leveraging Navision’s capabilities, Microsoft transformed it into an intelligent, cloud-hosted ERP called Business Central.

Designed specifically for modern businesses, this innovative solution is tailored primarily for Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). It enables companies to streamline processes and facilitates secure collection and sharing of critical data across various departments within the organization.

Let’s delve into the evolution of Dynamics NAV into Dynamics 365 Business Central:

Dynamics NAV (2002-2013):

  • Originally developed by a Danish software company called Navision.
  • Microsoft acquired Navision in 2002 and rebranded the software as Dynamics NAV.
  • Dynamics NAV began its journey as a notable on-premises ERP solution.

Dynamics NAV (2013-2017):

  • Microsoft initiated the development of a cloud-based version of Dynamics NAV, named “Project Madeira.”
  • In 2017, Project Madeira was introduced as Dynamics 365 Business Edition.

Dynamics NAV (2018-2019):

  • Dynamics 365 Business Edition was rebranded as Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  • Migration options were provided for existing Dynamics NAV users to transition to Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  • Microsoft continued to support existing Dynamics NAV users without introducing new features.

Dynamics NAV is now Business Central (2020-2023/Present):

  • Microsoft encouraged Dynamics NAV users to transition to Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  • In 2021, Microsoft announced the cessation of new features for Dynamics NAV.
  • Mainstream support for Dynamics NAV ended in January 2023.
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central was enhanced with innovative features, solidifying its position as a robust and next-generation tech-driven solution.

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The comparison

Dynamics 365 Business Central represents the next generation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, offering similar functionality with additional benefits. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, organizations can enjoy enhanced features and capabilities while leveraging the familiarity and reliability of Dynamics NAV. Both solutions boast rich functionality and seamlessly integrate with other Microsoft products such as Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM), Office 365, Power BI, JetReports, and more.

  • Warehouse Management
  • Business Central modules include:
  • Financial management
  • Sales and opportunity management
  • Supply chain and inventory management
  • Project management
  • Service order management
  • Invoicing

Dynamics NAV vs Dynamics 365 Business Central

Comparison Parameter Dynamics NAV
Dynamics Nav
Business Central
dynamics business central
Functionality The functionality in Dynamics NAV is divided into two packages: the Starter Pack and the Extended Pack. Essentials in Dynamics 365 Business Central aligns with NAV’s Starter Pack, while Premium corresponds with NAV’s Extended Pack in terms of functionality.
Accessibility Dynamics NAV can be accessed through various platforms including PC client, web browsers, and mobile devices. Top of Form   Can be accessed through a web client, such as a browser, as well as through mobile apps designed for smartphones and tablets.
Licensing Perpetual or subscription with additional hosting. All users for are concurrent only. Cloud, perpetual or subscription. All users are named users only.
Hosting Options Can be deployed on Azure, a private data center, or hosted by NAV Experts in a private cloud. Can be hosted in the cloud on Azure, in a private data center, or by NAV Experts in your private cloud.
Extended Functionality NAV can be enhanced through partner-approved “extensions” or bespoke development. Customers can manage their own development, customizing NAV to their needs Enhancements fare available through apps purchased via the Microsoft AppSource store. Custom development is not supported; all apps are approved and published by Microsoft. However, customization is possible through tenant/customer-specific extensions created and uploaded by partners.
User Interface The user interface is traditional and complex, often requiring training programs to master its functionalities. Business Central features a smooth and user-friendly interface, making it easy to learn and use. Top of Form  


Like numerous modern ERP solutions, Business Central is a SaaS solution hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, allowing you to specify the region for data storage and processing. SaaS solutions offer various benefits, including enhanced security, reduced risk of data loss, and improved accessibility for your team. Cloud hosting also simplifies upgrades and extensions with new coding.

For customers preferring on-site hosting, Microsoft still offers on-premises versions of Business Central in various license packages. The on-premises version is available as a one-time purchase or monthly subscription.

Migrate to Business Central without delay!

Business Central, as a new cloud-based solution, offers innovative functionalities and flexibility tailored to the evolving needs of businesses. It distinguishes itself from its predecessor by providing an all-in-one solution that streamlines business processes and improves customer interactions, growth, and development.

Considering Microsoft has discontinued mainstream support for versions preceding NAV 2009 and Dynamics NAV versions by Jan 2023, the optimal time to upgrade is now. By transitioning to Dynamics 365 Business Central, your organization can enjoy:

  • A streamlined and intuitive user interface
  • Enhanced integration with other Microsoft apps
  • Advanced analytics and reporting capabilities
  • Access the latest security features and leverage support from Microsoft.

Upgrade from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central with confidence.

As trusted and prominent Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solutions partners, we boast years of experience in implementing and customizing ERP solutions to deliver tangible results. Our seasoned professionals possess the expertise to facilitate a seamless transition and maximize the benefits of your new ERP solution.

Are you ready to make the switch to Business Central? Talk to a member of our team for more information

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