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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central vs Nav - what's the difference? Bam Boom Cloud


In 2018, Microsoft discontinued their popular, but on-premise ERP solution Dynamics NAV and replaced it with Dynamics 365 Business Central. We explain what the differences are, and why your business should make the switch.


Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software from tech giants Microsoft. Microsoft acquired the platform in 2002 to expand its offering to businesses by developing a financial operations system for small to medium businesses.

The Dynamics NAV solution was designed to help companies improve their back-end sales and operations processes through a user-friendly piece of software that made automation simple.

However, since 2018, Dynamics NAV is no longer available for purchase. The only businesses that can use the system are those that already held licenses. Even for those who do still hold licenses, the system no longer receives updates, meaning the software will quickly become outdated and harder to use.

Enter: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.


When Dynamics NAV was phased out, Microsoft brought in Dynamics 365 Business Central. Business Central is a newer version of Dynamics NAV, offering the same standard functionality in a much more user-friendly way. It’s also a cloud SaaS (Software as a Service) product, so you can access it anywhere, on any device, with the same industry leading security that powers Microsoft 365.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is an ERP solution that sits under the wider Dynamics 365 business suite. It has been designed to work alongside other products under the Dynamics umbrella (for example Dynamics 365 Sales Professional or ‘CRM’) for better user experience and more automation between products.

In short, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central helps with day-to-day business processes and operations. Its capabilities include financials, stock management, purchasing and much more, all with real-time data and analytics through Power BI.

The reason for the change from Dynamics NAV to Business Central is due to the digital transformation many small and medium-sized businesses have embraced in recent years. Hence why the features and functions are still the same as back in the NAV days, just with a more digital-focused platform.

So, if the platforms have similar functionality, how exactly does Dynamics 365 Business Central differ from Dynamics NAV?


While the two systems are similar, there are four key differences that make Business Central the preferred option for many businesses:


One of the most significant differences between Dynamics NAV and Business Central for many businesses is the user interface. Business Central is a web-based app with an improved design that’s much easier to navigate. This allows many businesses to work more productively within the platform.

The new Business Central interface used AL language in the code, compared to Dynamics NAV using C/AL coding. With this code change, Business Central offers more customisation than before and helps to make extensions and upgrades much easier to manage in the long term.

Additionally, the new ERP solution has better integration with other Microsoft products already used by many businesses, including all applications within the Microsoft Dynamics suite, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM) and Office 365 products, such as Outlook and Excel. This helps to prevent silos and allows for more automated operations to improve productivity. Combine this with native connectivity to Microsoft’s Power Platform (e.g., Power Automate) and powerful workflows and integrations can be created, by end-users without complex coding.


As with many modern ERP solutions, Business Central is a SaaS solution – sitting on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, which enables you to specify the region where your data is stored and processed.

There are many benefits to SaaS solutions, such as greater security, less risk of data loss and better accessibility for your team. Cloud hosting also works alongside the new coding to make upgrades and extensions much easier to carry out.


Another feature of Business Central that many users prefer over Dynamics NAV is the bi-annual release cadence for significant upgrades. These easy upgrades happen automatically, so your systems are never out of date. A roadmap of these releases can be found here.

This means your business is always using the most optimised version of Business Central without the fuss and cost of manually updating the software like on Dynamics NAV.

If you are apprehensive about an update, there is an option to delay its installation for up to 90 days, however, we recommend staying as up to date as possible as updates are introduced to improve overall user experience and security.


Dynamics 365 Business Central uses a monthly subscription model that charges per user, meaning fees are based on the number of simultaneous users each month. Business Central users can also benefit from Single Sign On and usability across multiple devices, and across iOS, Android, and PC.

But what does this mean for your business? It means better accessibility and makes remote working much easier, especially as the landscape of working life is becoming a blend of office-based and home working. Now your staff can simply log into the web app from any device to get their job done. This makes the ERP solution much more cost-effective and flexible for your business.

Microsoft currently offer licensing transition offers which make the move from NAV to Business Central as cheap and simple as possible.


We understand that many companies have been using Dynamics NAV for years, so Nav users may be a little wary about making the switch to Business Central. But with even more functionality than the NAV solution and with better usability, you won’t regret taking the first step.

While some Microsoft products, like Office 365, can be bought directly from Microsoft, this is not the case for Business Central. Due to the complexity of the product, Microsoft Business Central must be purchased through an approved Microsoft partner, like Bam Boom Cloud.

With our kickstart programme, new customers can be up and running on Business Central in as little as one week. In this time, we configure your Business Central account to suit your business, get all your data transferred onto the platform and provide comprehensive training for those who will be using it.

Or, if you’re not in a rush to make the change, we have a range of packages and licensing options that can be implemented on a timescale that suits you.


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

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