What is Dynamics 365 Business Central and How is it Different from Dynamics NAV

What is Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC)?

Dynamics 365 Business Central is a complete business management solution catering to SMBs. It is designed to bring the full power of Dynamics NAV (an on-premise fully integrated ERP solution) to the cloud. Business Central streamlines the workflow of organisations and helps them manage finances, sales, operations, and customer service.

Following are the chief benefits of Dynamics 365 Business Central:

Enhances supply chain management

Complete view of your warehouse comes with advanced inventory intelligence, streamlines sales orders, helps you calculate the right time to purchase from, and pay your suppliers, and boosts profitability.

Creates transparency in financial management

Currency setup, VAT, invoicing, sales transactions, and various other financial activities are taken care of. You have real-time access to all your finances.

Speeds up project deliveries and keeps a check on budget and time

Streamlines project management tasks like resource planning, monitors project progress, pace up project deliveries, keep an eye on budgets, and calculates the amount of time invested with the help of timesheets.

Optimizes service and increases sales

Generates service estimates and invoices, assigns tasks to employees according to their strengths and occupancy, keeps a check on the spare parts, and enhances customer service. As far as sales management is concerned, Dynamics 365 Business Central helps you create sales opportunities, triggers the sales stage, assists in converting opportunities, generates sales quotes, and plays a key role in sending the quotes across to clients and customers.

Business Central and NAV are quite similar Microsoft offerings. Some developers state that NAV has evolved and become Business Central. How similar are they?

  • The overall functionality and format are the same
  • Worksheets and configuration packages share similar functionality
  • There is no difference in the startup process
  • The functionality of adding or deleting columns in list pages and documents bear complete resemblance
  • Majority of the function keys are similar
  • Data can be imported in the same way in Business Central like in NAV

If the two ERP solutions are so alike, how is Dynamics 365 BC different from Dynamics NAV?

Hosting and Platform

The major difference lies in the platforms on which the two ERP solutions are hosted. Dynamics NAV is hosted on-premise on your local server. On the other hand, Dynamics 365 Business Central can be hosted on the cloud and on-premise.

Functionality extension

In Dynamics NAV, you have the option of customising its functionality according to your company. What’s more, you can extend the functionality by developing add-on-modules. Speaking of Business Central, it surely has an edge over NAV in extended functionality. It provides you with the choice of installing extensions developed by software partners directly from Microsoft. Therefore, you can easily expand the application’s functionality, test it, and even get rid of unwanted add-ons.

User experience

Compared to the traditional NAV solution, Dynamics 365 Business Central has an improved user interface that offers a better user experience. BC flaunts more streamlined navigation with dynamic system commands that allow users to stay focused on their work. It has a modern design with refreshed lookup windows and grids. The novel user interface is dynamic, flexible, and customizable. Last but not least, Business Central enables users to search and access data faster than NAV and at any given time.

Access options

Dynamics NAV can be accessed through a browser and a local client on the desktop. It is more accessible than Business Central and is available on mobile and tablet applications. On the other hand, Dynamics 365 Business Central is accessed via a web client with the help of a browser when used on a desktop. Mobile users can download its application.

Search capabilities

As far as search capabilities are concerned, Business Central takes the gold. It is far more organized than Dynamics NAV. The search feature in Dynamics 365 Business Central classifies search results automatically and eradicates the duplicate ones. Furthermore, Dynamics NAV comprises an ambiguous search while Business Central is smart enough to help you find the exact product you are looking for even if you fail to punch in the correct spelling.

Customizations and integrations

For customizations and third-party product integrations, Dynamics 365 Business Central uses a development platform that is more cloud-compatible. This is the reason why NAV customizations or third-party integrations have to be re-developed before you can shift them to Business Central. In the process, many of the customizations and integrations are discarded either due to their reduced usability or on the grounds that they are costly.

Maintenance cost

The overall expenditure on Dynamics NAV is more than BC. The reason being the cost of systems and space required for NAV to operate. Dynamics 365 Business Central, alternatively, requires no physical infrastructure, equipment, or huge space. Thus, the setup and maintenance cost of Business Central is lower.



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