The differences between Dynamics AX and NAV. If you’ve been working in a Microsoft Dynamics job – regardless of in the US or UK – you’ll be familiar with both of Microsoft’s ERP solutions: Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV. What are the differences?
However, end-users and business owners new to Dynamics can often be unaware of the differences, which can be a bit of a problem if you’re supposed to be the one implementing a solution. It therefore falls to you, the consultant, to come to a conclusion about which would best be suited to the particular problem. Here’s how we’d break it down.
The Basic Difference: Size
While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, you can begin to build a picture of whether your client would be best served with an AX or NAV implementation based on their size.
If you’re working with or for an SME, your starting point should be Dynamics NAV. If you’re working with a larger business – a multinational organisation like an industrial company or a global bank, for example – AX is where you should begin looking. In other words, if your implementation is likely to be used by a thousand or so users, you’re probably going to be using AX, otherwise, stick to NAV.
Further, AX is multination and multicurrency, aiding large operations, as well as offering a reduction in license costs when the numbers are large.
Getting Functional: Complexity
While the size of the organisation can give you a decent starting point, size isn’t everything. Another factor is functionality. AX is a sophisticated platform that facilitates the management of complex processes such as production, offering the extra functionality that large companies need.
So, for example, big manufacturing companies might be best with AX because it allows them to access better insight into the different sections and layers of their business – from the amount of raw material used, to the transportation of the final product.
On the other hand, companies that are primarily concerned with quick data processing would be better served with NAV, as its user interface is much more streamlined, with faster access to valuable analytics and data.
As you can see, the size of an organisation shouldn’t be the sole factor when deciding which Dynamics ERP a business should be investing in. The complexity of the tasks required may require that AX is needed by an SME. A good example of this could be a start-up manufacturing business that requires a mobile barcode scanner for their warehouse. Only AX includes this functionality, despite AX’s general use in large business.
A final difference between these platforms is server power. This is actually a commonly overlooked factor, which is one of the reasons we think it’s such an important factor. As a platform, Dynamics AX can build more powerful systems than NAV. This means that the server power required to keep an AX system running will be likely much greater than a NAV one.
The more expensive a server, the more expensive its running and maintenance costs will be. This means that for an AX system, you’re probably going to have more expensive upkeep costs. This is an important factor for SMEs that might think they need the extra punch of AX – the question to ask then is whether the company has the money to afford that more powerful system.
Ultimately, even organisation size, complexity and budget aren’t the full set of factors you’ll need to use when weighing up whether an end user requires AX or NAV, however, they make a great place to start.
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