Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: A Condensed History

Even for those of us that work in the IT industry Microsoft’s branding and product name changes can cause some confusion so its common that end users struggle to understand which product they need and what is currently available.

As a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partner we provide Microsoft’s flagship finance solutions aimed and small and medium sized businesses.

This product was originally known as Navision (before Microsoft acquired it), then Microsoft Navision (post acquisition), then Dynamics NAV (in 2005) before finally being completely rebranded to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in 2018.

So, if you stop reading here… now you know!

If you want more detail about Microsoft’s 365 product family and the Dynamics products, keep reading…

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What is it called now?

As we’ve mentioned, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is the current name of the solution and has been since 2018.

The rebrand was part of a global rebrand which involved a number of other products adopting either the “365” or “Dynamics” (or both) naming structure.

In addition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, which is aimed at small and medium sized businesses, Microsoft also offer Dynamics 365 Finance which is aimed at enterprise level businesses.

Supporting both Business Central and Finance are several additional solutions such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Dynamics 365 Field Service which add further functionality to either package at an additional cost.

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The Microsoft 365 Family Branding

The “365” branded was first introduced in 2010 when Microsoft released Office 365 on a testing platform, before officially released it to the public in 2011. As the name suggests it was to show that Microsoft’s products were available 365 days a year with their new, cloud focused technology.

The branding of Office 365 was superseded by Microsoft 365 in 2017 which incorporated Microsoft’s operating system and hosting solutions alongside their Office applications.

This rebrand led the way for the name changes of the Dynamics products in 2018 when Dynamics NAV was renamed as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.


What Happened To Microsoft Navision, AX and GP?

Three products which you may be familiar with are Microsoft Navision, Microsoft AX and Microsoft GP (or Great Plains). But what has happened to them?

  • Microsoft Navision has been developed since its acquisition in 2002 and is now known as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. It is primarily used by small and medium sized businesses.
  • Microsoft AX was also purchased in 2002 and has continued to be developed until it’s rebrand in 2018 to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance. It is primarily used by larger, enterprise level, businesses.
  • Microsoft acquired Great Plains in 2001 and later renamed it to Microsoft GP. However, in 2021 Microsoft announced that support for GP would end in 2025 with existing customers encouraged to move to either 365 Business Central or 365 Finance depending on their requirements.
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