The Reports of Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Recently, one of our longtime customers forwarded us the following e-mail. He received this from a partner that sells an ERP product (which will go unnamed) that competes for the same market space as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central:

“Correct me if I am wrong, but is your finance team currently using Microsoft Dynamics NAV?

MS Dynamics NAV 2018 is the final release of that product, meaning customers who now must decide whether to upgrade or wait for the replacement Business Central to be released and implemented.

As a result it’s a great time to evaluate other cloud based ERP solutions. Many companies have been making the switch to _____ so they can better manage their business and lower their total cost of ownership.”

While it was interesting to see how other organizations are using fear and uncertainty as a marketing tool, rather than focus on the benefits of their own product and their own happy customers, we do feel compelled to address such doubts. Let’s re-visit this marketing e-mail and refute each point:

“Dynamics NAV 2018 is the final release of that product, meaning customers who now must decide whether to upgrade or wait for the replacement Business Central to be released and implemented.”

This is incorrect. Business Central is the same product and platform as NAV; it is just another version with a name change. “Dynamics NAV” itself is not the original name of the product. The software began its life as “Navision,” and was re-branded to “Dynamics NAV” in 2005, shortly after it was acquired by Microsoft. This latest “Business Central” naming is the exact same type of re-branding initiative, nothing more.

While there are parts of Business Central that are different than NAV 2018, these changes represent the normal improvements and enhancements that are made with every release of a product, rather than the introduction of something entirely new. For example, Business Central’s Web Client is now the preferred user interface (although it should be noted that the RoleTailored Client is still available in Business Central, and it looks pretty much the same as the NAV 2018 RoleTailored Client). But this would be just as true if Microsoft had decided to call the product “NAV 2019.”

“As a result it’s a great time to evaluate other cloud based ERP solutions. Many companies have been making the switch to _____ so they can better manage their business and lower their total cost of ownership.”

Existing NAV users already have a standard upgrade path to Business Central, and their licensing investment remains protected. NAV has always been a stronger and more feature-rich ERP solution than its competitors, and this will continue with Business Central. This latest release, for example, gives us a solution that fully supports SaaS licensing and is 100% cloud-ready, illustrating Microsoft’s commitment to keeping the product current with the latest technologies and business standards.

Not only would making a change from a NAV solution to another product be (in our opinion) a downgrade in terms of features and functionality, but it would certainly be more expensive, since it would require re-implementation costs and new software license fees. Conversely, upgrading from NAV to Business Central would have minimal implementation costs and allows for the use of existing licenses.

In short, existing Dynamics NAV users have nothing to worry about when it comes to Business Central. The product is not being eliminated or ungraciously entered into the maintenance phase of its lifecycle. To the contrary, new and exciting improvements will continue to be introduced for years to come, regardless of whatever name Microsoft uses for marketing purposes. If the content of the original e-mail is any indication, the only area in which Business Central’s competitors possess a significant advantage is when it comes to creating confusion and uncertainty.