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Microsoft Dynamics NAV vs 365 Business Central: How do they differ?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is Microsoft's new ERP solution for medium-sized businesses. Since Business Central contains almost the same functionality we already know from Dynamics NAV, some have also called the new solution for "NAV in the cloud".

And here's how they differ:


As with Dynamics NAV, the functionality of the D365 Business Central is divided into two so-called 'packages', Essentials and Premium. The functionality of 'Essentials' corresponds to NAV's 'Starter Pack' and the functionality of 'Premium' corresponds to NAV's 'Extended Pack'.

Access the solution

On a computer, Business Central is accessed via a web client through a browser, on mobile devices, you acces the Business Central via an application you download. Therefore, you can only access and use Business Central on your computer via the browser you prefer and not, as you are used to from Dynamics NAV, via a local desktop client.

On the other hand, you can use Dynamics NAV both with a local client installed on the computer, but also access the solution online via a browser. If you are using a mobile or tablet, there are also apps for Dynamics NAV.


Business Central is licensed as a per month subscription, where you only pay per named user. This means, among other things, that there will be no opportunity for simultaneous users, prior purchases, annual maintenance agreements, etc.

This new licensing model will probably be problematic for some of the NAV users who are used to the payment model we know from there. On the other hand, Office 365 users who already know this licensing model, will probably find it easier to adapt.

Hosting options

Business Central is a SaaS solution and is therefore hosted exclusively in the cloud on Azure by Microsoft. With Dynamics NAV, you have both the options to implement the solution on Azure, in a private data center or locally on your own server.


As mentioned above, the two solutions are very similar, but Business Central has minor functionality changes, which have been required to take, as certain security considerations must be taken when running an application as a SaaS solution. The changes in Business Central imply, among other things, that access to some files on the servers as well as access to some of the system tables has been blocked for developers.

Extended functionality

Business Central allows you to install extensions developed by ISV (Independent software vendor) partners directly from Microsoft AppSource. That way you can expand the application's functionality and quickly test and try out the new options and then quickly uninstall the add-on if it does not meet the needs you expected.

This option is not available with Dynamics NAV. On the other hand, with NAV you can customize the solution's functionality so it is tailored to the individual company and develop add-on modules that extend the functionality of the solution. However, everything indicates that these opportunities will at some point be transferred to Business Central.


Business Central is constantly updated, so rather than waiting for the annual version release, as we know it from Dynamics NAV, Business Central is updated on a monthly basis.

So which solution is right for you?

Contact us and we will be glad to assist you!

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