Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV are two enterprise accounting software solutions that appear similar at first glance. Yes, both solutions are from Microsoft, but they really are different. As a result, our sales team faces the same question almost daily from clients who don’t know which system to choose for their organization. To offer comprehensive information on this topic, I decided to talk with one of our senior ERP specialists, who have been working with both solutions since before they were acquired by Microsoft over 15 years ago.
AX vs. NAV – Are They Different?
While Dynamics AX is suitable for large, enterprise-level organizations and Dynamics NAV makes more sense for SMEs, there are many examples where both solutions have been successfully used in companies of all sizes. In addition, both systems provide industry-specific functionality, can be customized to meet particular business needs, are flexible enough to fit a wide variety of business scenarios and – what’s more – are highly scalable, being able to sustain business growth over a long period. However, there are some areas where one solution is indisputably more appropriate than the other. Let’s take a look at the solutions and how they differ, or view a side by side comparison here.
Designed for large organizations, Dynamics AX is functionally richer and more powerful than Dynamics NAV. Besides offering complex functionality for specific industries like manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), AX manages efficiently the multi-national activities of the global organizations operating in different countries, languages and currencies, and ensures data security in geographically dispersed data centers. Conversely, Dynamics NAV is more appropriate for smaller organizations that have a less complicated organizational structure and grow at a more moderate pace, regardless of whether they’re planning or not for international expansion. Unlike AX that can handle process, discrete and mixed-mode manufacturing, NAV can only manage discrete manufacturing operations. Since Dynamics AX is better equipped to support end-to-end global operations along with a fast growth rate, it’s more appropriate for companies dealing with complex business processes like the manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industries.
Compared to Dynamics NAV, which focuses more on decentralized operations, AX can handle fully-centralized processes, providing in-depth visibility into any area of a company and its subsidiaries, in any country. Since Dynamics AX is designed to manage interconnected processes and application protocols across different geographies, it’s more demanding than NAV. This means that AX requires a greater investment in server infrastructure, which must be configured in a way to ensure optimum performance even after several years.
In a “mobile-first, cloud-first world,” it’s imperative to talk about mobility. Quite surprisingly, over the years NAV has shown a more rapid shift toward the cloud than AX. While NAV is equipped with everything a company may need to perform a variety of operations in the cloud, AX is still lacking the Web and Tablet Clients. The good news is that Dynamics AX 7 will include a Web Client along with new capabilities that will allow users to utilize data on tablets and Smartphones.
Since Dynamics AX addresses 95 percent of the core business logic, it’s more complex – and implicitly more complicated and expensive to implement – than Dynamics NAV, which focuses only on 80 percent of the core business logic. Dynamics AX implementations also take longer and require more elaborate hardware along with a knowledgeable, experienced project manager and dedicated implementation specialists. In contrast, Dynamics NAV doesn’t require any of these things, except for a small implementation team. Since implementing and maintaining these two enterprise accounting software solutions can be quite expensive, Microsoft provides special offers, such as the already famous “Give Me 5,” of which new customers can benefit from.
Considering all these points, we can say that both of these enterprise accounting software solutions compete favorably with any ERP systems available out there, including those developed by Oracle and SAP, as confirmed by Gartner.
As Microsoft continues to enhance these two products by adding niche-specific functionality, it will become easier and easier to compare and choose the right enterprise accounting software solution for a company. At Clients First we too have added niche-specific functionality for the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) industry. Read a more detailed version of this blog written specifically for the MRO business on the differences between Dynamics AX and NAV.
At Clients First Business Solutions, we are a gold certified partner with specialists that have core competencies in implementation and support of Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV. To explore all the capabilities of these two solutions and find out how they can help your organization achieve its full potential, contact our sales team at 800.331.8382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Clients First
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