How Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is different from NAV

Microsoft Dynamics365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one business management solution which is specially designed to cater to small & medium scale businesses. Known by codename “Tenerife”, Business Central has also been dubbed as Dynamics NAV in the cloud as it brings full NAV functionality to a SaaS environment and sits as the future of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV roadmap.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is an end-to-end cloud ERP solution built for small and midsized businesses. Business Central runs on the same application code as Dynamics NAV with accounting and financial management capabilities alongside sales and service, project management, supply chain, and inventory and operations management. The familiar features of NAV like account schedules and dimensions, are available in Dynamics 365 Business Central, making it “NAV in the cloud”.

Comparing Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV


When it comes to features & functions, Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV are almost the same. Business Central includes all the apps that are available in NAV, but they have been redesigned to work fluidly and coherently on the cloud. However, there is a significant difference in terms of platform. Dynamics NAV is built for on-premise deployment. NAV can be implemented and operated directly on site, needs to be installed on local servers. Business Central is available as a cloud-based SaaS solution or perpetual/hosted solution.

When hosted on Azure cloud (Managed & Maintained by Microsoft) or as SaaS, Business Central provides you the capabilities of NAV along with the benefits of a true cloud solution. Furthermore, you can easily access Business Central anywhere from any device via the internet along with other benefits such as real-time information flow, seamless upgrades, easy integration building through web APIs, and reduced hardware costs.


Dynamics 365 Business Central is available in two packages that are Essentials and Premium. Business Central ‘Essentials’ corresponds to NAV’s ‘Starter Pack’ while Business Central ‘Premium’ corresponds to NAV’s ‘Extended Pack’.

  D365 Business Central Essentials /
Dynamics NAV Starter Pack
D365 Business Central Premium /
Dynamics NAV Extended
Financial Management General Ledger
Cash Management
Fixed Assets
Inter-Company (Essentials)
Cost Accounting (Essentials)
Supply Chain Management Sales Order processing
Purchase and procurement
Item management
Basic Warehousing
Advanced Warehousing (Essentials)
Jobs and Resources Job Planning, Budgets and Invoicing
Resource allocations
Contact Management Contacts
Opportunity Management
D365 Sales Integration
Assembly Assembly Bill of Materials  
Service Management   Service Contracts
Service Items
Service Order Management
Manufacturing   Production BOMs
Works order management
Capacity and Demand planning

Access the Solution

Business Central can be accessed via a web client through a browser, on mobile devices & tablets through mobile apps & via outlook client. To access Dynamics NAV, you can use “Local desktop client” installed on the computer or via a browser. If you are using a mobile or tablet, there are also apps for Dynamics NAV.


Dynamics NAV has had perpetual licenses based on the number of concurrent users. Business Central does not offer concurrent user licenses as NAV does. Instead, each license has a named user. D365 Business Central is available as a monthly subscription or perpetual. Also, instead of NAV’s Limited User license, Business Central has a Team Member license, which offers the same level of access and functionality.  

Hosting Options

Dynamics NAV offers both the options to implement, that are on Azure, in a private data center or locally on your own server. Business Central is available as SaaS, hosted on Azure, can also be deployed on-premise or on a private cloud.

Extended functionality

The functionality of Business Central can be extended by using extensions developed by ISV available on Microsoft AppSource. NAV can be customized to offer functionality to meet tailored requirements of an individual company. You can develop add-on modules to extend the functionality of NAV.


Business Central constantly updated on a monthly basis, however, NAV updates with annual version release.


We can conclude that Dynamics NAV is designed for companies with complex business processes that require customization and enhanced functionality. NAV is perfect business application for organizations interested in on-premise solution. However, D365 Business Central aims at small business with tight budget. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has received a powerful makeover. Some of the improvements we’ve noticed in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central include are:

Eliminate Silos:- With ability to have tighter integration with Microsoft Apps, Business Central streamlines workflows across your business and improves efficiency as redundant processes are eliminated.

Business Intelligence:- Machine learning along with powerful business intelligence offers predictive analytics to make informed decisions. With D365 Business Central, you will get useful insights with real-time analytics.

Easier Upgrading:- With constant stream of security upgrades, Business Central keeps your data safe while mitigating the risk of hacker encroachment.

Workflow Automation:- With new tool called Microsoft Flow for process efficiency D365 Business Central ensures process improvement. As a prototyping and iteration roadmap tool, workflow saves time by automating tasks.

Integration & Data Sharing with CRM:- Business Central offers seamless integration between data housed in the CRM platform and other tools, eliminating extra work to save time.

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