Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – What’s The Difference?

In short, Dynamics 365 Business Central is simply the new name for Dynamics NAV – but with a few more updates and features since its name change.

Business Central is still a business management solution designed for small to medium-sized businesses with the same rich functionality that Dynamics NAV had, now with full flexibility to deploy in the cloud or on-premises.

 

What’s Changed >
Microsoft Dynamics NAV v Microsoft Dynamics 365

User Interface

One of the most significant differences between Dynamics NAV and Business Central for many businesses is the user interface.

In technical terms, the Business Central interface uses AL language in the code, whereas Dynamics NAV used C/AL coding. Because of the code change, Business Central offers much more flexibility when it comes to customisation and the web-based app is a lot easier for users to navigate due to the improved design.

Not only that, but the change in code meant it became much simpler to extend the useability of Business Central with upgrades and extensions. Integration with other Microsoft products already used by many businesses, such as Outlook and Excel or CRMs, means no need for duplicate data across several platforms and more automated processes to improve efficiency and transparency of information across teams.

The new user interface provides clear information in real-time with personalised dashboards, graphs and company data insights.

 

Hosting

Where NAV would be implemented and operated directly on site and installed onto local servers, Business Central is hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

This means greater security, less risk of data loss and better accessibility for your team. Cloud hosting also works alongside the new coding to make upgrades automated and extensions much easier to carry out.

With Business Central, you get access on any device, anywhere. If you’re not quite ready to make the move to the cloud, then Business Central is still available as on-premises and hybrid options alongside the cloud.

 

Upgrades

Another of the improved features from Business Central after the name change include the approach to upgrades.

Updates are made automatically to the solution, which eliminates the need for the user to do anything and means no expensive upgrades every few years. Major updates are typically made available twice a year, in April and in October and minor updates roll out every month – these include application and platform changes that are critical improvements to the service (including regulatory updates.)

When the update becomes available for the new environment, a notification email is sent to all notification recipients that you’ve registered in Business Central administration centre. At this point, you can use the Business Central administration centre to schedule the date when you prefer the update to happen. When the scheduled update date arrives, the update runs automatically within the update window that you’ve specified for the environment. By scheduling the day the update happens yourself, it means you can delay for a set period of time too.

You can always stay up-to-date on system upgrades and release plans online too.

 

Integrations

Integration has been made to be much simpler following the transition from NAV to Business Central.

You can extend Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to fit industry or business needs with a number of integrated add-on apps. As standard, you get full integration with Office 365, PowerApps, Flow, Power BI and AppSource.

Easily integrate with familiar Microsoft products such as Outlook, Excel and SharePoint for faster, more efficient work processes without the need to repeatedly swap between different apps.

There are three common ways to integrate with other platforms and extend the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, which include:

  • AppSource, which offers prebuilt solutions to extend the capability of Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  • PowerApps, Microsoft’s codeless application development solution which allows you to build custom applications and connect them to Dynamics 365 Business Central via the common data service.
  • Custom Applications.

Find out more about Business Central’s integration capabilities.

 

Customisation

A popular feature that was available in NAV was the ability to customise. Something that has been reintorduced and improved upon greatly in Business Central.

When you login to Business Central, you’ll see your own Role Centre. Business Central offers pre-configured Role Centres to choose from and each of them can be configured for each user to only show the data that is relevant to them.

Each user can customise their Role Centre with a drag and drop feature to move things, create extensions that are relevant to their role or personalise page layouts elsewhere on Business Central by editing lists (such as Customers, Suppliers, Items, Sales etc.)

 

Want to know more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central? Take a look at our FAQs and see how it can help transform your business.

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