Microsoft Dynamics AX vs. NAV: What’s the difference?

ms dynamics ax vs nav
  • Jan 05, 2021
  • Posted By: Robert Jordan
  • Category: Enterprise Resource Planning

Microsoft has different products in the market. Some of the highly-used products are the Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV. They both are the integrated ERP solutions or the enterprise resource planning functionalities. They both support different currencies and languages, but their similarity doesn’t mean they don’t differ and can be referred to interchangeably.

Just as two CRM solutions can’t be considered the same, two ERPs can’t also be clubbed together; this could confuse the users.

The major difference between the two functionalities is- Dynamics NAV is a well-known and used solution in SMBs, while the Dynamics AX finds popularity in large enterprises. Now this is the overview of the solution; the more you dig deep and understand the functionality the more you understand, it’s not necessary that NAV could only be used in SMBs or AX can only be used in large enterprises. The pros and cons of these solutions can have different impacts on various organizations. For example, if the con of any of these two products is a high priority for you, it can severely impact your process. In such a scenario, you should go for the other one.

Let’s, explain this in detail:

Solution A


Can serve 100-200 users 4
Flexibility 3
Implementation time 2


Solution B


Can serve >200 users 1
Flexibility 3
Implementation time 2


So, as we sift through these data, some of us would find Solution A suitable for their organizations while others would find Solution B suitable. It all depends on the priority level; if you are a large enterprise and need technology that can serve more than 200 users then your priority for this feature would be ‘1’ compared to SMBs who wouldn’t care if the solution can only serve below 200 users. So, their priority level for this feature would be ‘4.’ SMBs would go for the Solution A while giant companies would go for the Solution B, it’s just as simple!!!

The same goes for all the features, and the priority you as a user would give to that functionality.

You can use this tactic while selecting the right one between the Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics AX. Find out what pros would give you the maximum benefits and what con could have the least impact on your process. Thus, you could find the accurate one supporting your business needs.

microsoft dynamics nav

Here it shows the deployment of Microsoft Dynamics NAV on the Microsoft Azure. The development environment, internet information server, SQL server and others are a part of the effective deployment.

While this is the Dynamics AX on-premise deployment. It clearly shows the workflow between the My workspace deployment, that includes the on-premise operations, offline capable, local device connectivity, retail, factory, warehouse and the Microsoft Azure Cloud, that includes the full enterprise view, intelligence platform, high availability HA/DR and many more.

Now we would understand the technical juxtaposition between NAV and AX:

Handling the complex functionality in an organization:

The process in every organization is different. Some have a well-planned and simple one, while others have complex and really need the effective features to match the requirements of the organization. So, here if you are an organization that is growing rapidly and in dire need of a product that could align with the complex process structure, then Dynamics AX is the right for you. Large manufacturing organizations having complicated process could shortlist AX for their process. It would surely drive the desired results.

Dynamics NAV is more suitable for organizations that have a well-defined process. It gels well in the process of companies for handling the world-wide processes across different countries.

The number of users:

You should choose the solution as per the number of users. For example, if you have around 100-200 users in a single country then the right ERP to choose here is the Microsoft NAV. While if it exceeds the 200 users in multiple countries then you should go for the AX.

Most of the large enterprises such as the multinational companies and tech giants prefer the AX solution as they have a really good number of users.


Most of the users ignore the architecture of the ERP and don’t consider it crucial. You should understand that as a user if you couldn’t implement the solution the best way it wouldn’t give favorable results. Integration takes more time and needs more of the technical resources. Thus, it makes AX a costly solution as compared to the NAV.

Number of implementations across the globe:

The number of implementations of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV is significantly greater than the number of implementations of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

As per a finding, it is 120,000 implementations for NAV, while for Dynamics AX it is just 20,000. This shouldn’t surprise you, as there are greater number of SMBs across the world than large enterprises.

Investment on the solution and time taken for implementation:

Every organization needs to have a specific financial investment in a certain technology. So, when you compare Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV you would find that infrastructure investment cost on AX is higher than the NAV. Also, the time taken for implementing AX is significantly higher than the NAV.

In the current business scenario, where time is money you might know, such a scenario could really impact the performance of an organization.

Having a multi-country implementation:

Businesses that have a huge presence across the world could hugely benefit from the Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation. The solution helps in the right workflow, advance process, case management, advance system security, among others.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV can be used only for a single country. Stretching it to multiple regions wouldn’t work.

Mobile application:

This is an interesting feature- the mobile application. So, when you compare the both, it’s the NAV with the mobile application to be easily accessed from the mobile phone. The AX here doesn’t have the required functionality to be accessed from the phone.

This small but useful feature can have a significant impact on the process.

Diverse needs of the organization and moving to the cloud:

As the organization grows, so would its needs. Only some products can meet the diverse needs of organizations. Microsoft Dynamics AX has an advantage over NAV here as it could meet the diverse needs of the organization. And all of it could be managed from one system, which actually is a relief for the user.

Companies that have integrated NAV have the advantage of shifting rapidly to the cloud platform as compared to companies with AX.

Learnability factor:

As Microsoft Dynamics AX is complicated, it’s also difficult for the user to learn as compared to NAV. In an organization, where you need to grasp the complex process, technology, faster you need to adopt the NAV.

This would invariably improve the productivity.

Functionality richness:

Dynamics AX has more rich functionalities as compared to NAV. It thus can handle the big projects easily and lead to effective results.

Companies looking to have the technology that can have the right control over their difficult projects should definitely go for the Dynamics AX.

The overall benefits which a Microsoft Dynamic user can experience whether AX or NAV are:

  • Group reporting
  • Compliance with local legal requirements
  • Financial statements consolidation
  • Global chart of accounts
  • Local currencies and languages
  • Release management
  • Setup harmonization
  • Management of master data and structure
  • Business process standardization


The varied differences between the two products here, lets you know the suitable solution for meeting the needs of your organization.

Both Dynamics NAV and AX serve various industries such as manufacturing, retail, services, financial, and many more, but you can’t interchangeably use them as aforementioned. You need to note down your requirements and fill the checklist one by one by analyzing the features of each solution.