Are you using Microsoft Dynamics NAV and considering upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC)? No doubt the word "Navision" has come up, especially when talking with those who have worked in the software industry for a number of years. What is Navision, and how did it become part of the Microsoft Dynamics landscape?
Navision is the precursor to Microsoft Dynamics NAV. It was initially an accounting system that became one of the early ERP solutions. After its acquisition by Microsoft, it became Dynamics NAV and, more recently, Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Navision was developed in 1987 by a Danish software firm. The company named itself Navision Software to reflect the product's success, and versions of it spread throughout Europe. Navision appealed to many companies because, unlike most systems at the time that were limited to a single PC, Navision could be run from a server and allow multiple users simultaneous access.
Navision was highly customizable and more sophisticated than its competitors. In the Innovia's Story blog series, Donavan Lane, founder and chairman of Innovia, relates that he was persuaded to switch to Navision after he pulled the battery from a PC mid-transaction, and it didn't break the data.
Navision's Clients: Small to Mid-Size Manufacturers or Distributors Became Dynamics 365 BC
Navision's flexible configuration appealed to small and mid-size manufacturers and distributors who had outgrown their basic single-PC ERP alternatives but were not large enough to pursue enterprise-level solutions.
Navision partnered with other independent resellers, like Innovia, who could take the basic solution and expertly configure it to fit their clients' needs precisely. This approach allowed customers to get a system they were pleased with, and the partners grew into a vibrant network with specialists focused on specific industries and sectors, helping businesses get the most value from their software solutions.
The breadth and diversity of Navision's market made it a phenomenal success. Microsoft liked what it saw and took notice.
How Navision Became Dynamics NAV and then Dynamics 365 BC
In 2002, Navision became Microsoft's first overseas billion-dollar acquisition. Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer said at the time,
"The combined vision, business strategy, and product offerings of Microsoft and Navision will provide great benefits to small and midmarket customers and create strong growth opportunities for Microsoft. Many small and mid-size companies are not yet benefiting from technology's efficiencies. Microsoft and the Navision team are committed to delivering compelling and powerful solutions and products to this important and large market segment through our partners, enabling those businesses to be more competitive, agile, and productive. 
Soon, Microsoft rebranded Navision as Microsoft Dynamics NAV. It was one of four major ERP systems acquired by Microsoft and rebranded. The others are Dynamics AX (Axapta), Dynamics GP (Great Plains), and Dynamics SL (Solomon). Many Navision partners became Microsoft partners and continued to work with the solution.
Although much has changed since Microsoft acquired Navision in 2002, the influence of Navision on NAV and, later, Dynamics 365 BC lives on.
Microsoft still sells Dynamics 365 Business Central through a partner network.
Partners like Innovia continue to keep current with the latest product updates, and with Microsoft's added resources, they can now offer Cloud Services (Azure, Microsoft 365, and the Power Platform) in addition to ERP solutions. This personal, customer-centric approach to implementing software has endured.
Dynamics 365 BC still attracts small and mid-size businesses.
Microsoft continues to ensure that pricing models and other features are tailored to companies of this size. The continuity of software built for the same market for over three decades brings genuine depth to its capabilities.
Business Central still has the functionality and flexibility to meet unique, industry-specific challenges.
In many ways, this fundamental distinction of the Navision software has grown and evolved to be more versatile and robust over time.
Although Navision's core principles endure, the software has not been static! So many exciting prospects are ahead for companies moving to the Cloud. Cloud technology ensures your data is accessible 24/7 from anywhere on any device while maintaining the highest security. Cutting-edge tools such as Microsoft Teams and Power BI enhance the possibilities with Dynamics 365 BC, and we are confident these innovations will continue!
If you like what you have learned, we suggest you investigate all that Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC has to offer. You'll find the latest, most up-to-date version of this same great product! Click the link below to learn more about upgrading NAV to Dynamics 365 BC.
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