Is Business Central just NAV in the Cloud?
If you’re confused about the difference between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV, you are not alone! That’s why we are here – to clear up some of the confusion and share what we’ve learned through the transition. You might think Dynamics 365 Business Central is a brand new solution, but it’s essentially the next stage in the evolution of Dynamics NAV. While some functionality improved and there are many new enhancements, the core product is basically the same.
Different Name, Same Core Solution
Besides the obvious name change, the main difference between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV is that Business Central is designed for the cloud, while NAV is designed to be deployed on-premises. The cloud offers several advantages, including more flexible, subscription-based licensing and reduced maintenance and support costs over the long term.
But what if you want or need an on-premise deployment? Don’t worry, Business Central can still be purchased and deployed in an on-premise (or private cloud) environment. And you have the choice of using the traditional client interface or the modern web client interface. With the release of Business Central, Microsoft provides a cutting-edge ERP with maximum flexibility in how it is deployed (cloud SaaS or on-premise) and how it is purchased (subscription or perpetual license).
The Difference between Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV: Here are a Few Examples
Although some functionality and features are different in Business Central, the core solution is unchanged. Think of it as the cloud-based version of NAV, rather than a new product.
Here are a few examples of what remains the same in both Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central and some differences:
- From the user’s perspective, the startup process is the same.
- The overall functionality of the solution is very similar – including a continued strong emphasis on Inventory and Manufacturing.
- Overall format is the same, but the navigation is a little different visually.
- Many of the function keys used in Dynamics NAV (F8 for example) also work in Business Central and the list of function keys continues to improve with each upgrade of Business Central.
- Configuration packages and worksheets function the same in both Dynamics NAV and Business Central, which means the process of importing data is essentially unchanged. In Business Central, you also can use the ‘Edit in Excel’ feature, which allows you to use Excel to make changes to tables.
- Business Central users can add or remove columns in list pages and documents, similar to NAV.
So, what’s Different in Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Business Central is designed to be more tightly integrated with other Microsoft solutions, such as Office 365 and Power BI, and it’s easier to integrate with third-party applications as well. For example, Jet Reports can be set up with Business Central in minutes, and it functions just as it did in NAV. Additionally, it’s easy to purchase and install certified third-party solutions available on Microsoft AppSource.
The search capabilities within Business Central are cleaner and better organized compared to previous versions of Dynamics NAV. The search feature now automatically categorizes search results and eliminates duplicate results, so you have a simplified list of options. In addition, fuzzy search has been dramatically improved so you’re more likely to find the results you want even if you’ve misspelled words or used an imprecise term.
One thing that will never change and keeps getting better, is the ability to modify Business Central around your unique requirements. Like traditional NAV, developers can make changes to business processes and functionality in Business Central tailored around your business. But with Business Central’s new platform, modifications can be done in a way that allows a much easier move to the next release. Upgrades are now relatively seamless and less costly.
What’s Next for Business Central?
Business Central is still in the midst of rapid improvements from Microsoft. For example, users currently can’t configure the navigation ribbon for their exact needs, but Microsoft is actively working on developing this functionality. The April update of Business Central will offer the capability to view different levels of data – stay tuned.
The great thing about Business Central is that, as a cloud-based solution, it will be automatically upgraded twice a year by Microsoft as a part of the subscription fee. That means no more buying and implementing upgrades!
Want to Learn More?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a robust solution that combines decades of refinement from Dynamics NAV with the modern functionality of a cloud-based solution. If you’d like to learn more about Dynamics 365 Business Central or view a demonstration of its features, contact our Dynamics experts today.