Microsoft Dynamics NAV is one of four products in Microsoft’s Dynamics family of business solutions. Originally founded in 1984 in Denmark as PC&C ApS, Navision Software A/S merged with fellow Danish firm Damgaard A/S to form NavisionDamgard A/S in 2000. The name was changed to Navision A/S. In 2002 Microsoft bought Navision A/S and, combined with the newly acquired Great Plains Software, formed Microsoft Business Solutions. In 2005 Microsoft rebranded the product and released it as Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
At various times and under various corporate ownership, the names "Navision Financials", "Navision Attain", "Microsoft Business Solutions Navision Edition", and the current (2007) "Microsoft Dynamics NAV" have all been used to refer to this product. In November 2008 Microsoft released Dynamics NAV 2009, with a new role-based user interface.
NAV represents a challenge for Microsoft’s product strategists, because it shares many of the strengths and weaknesses of its siblings. Like AX, it has strong internationalization and localization capabilities. It also has very strong multi-currency features. Also like AX, its Euro-centric nature has hampered adoption in North America and there are few strong channel partners with deep product experience. Microsoft’s push towards AX will further weaken North American partner penetration for the NAV product. NAV’s manufacturing and multi-site capabilities are stronger that GP but its core accounting and integration features are weaker. Priced between GP and AX, NAV offers more native “out-of-the-box” functionality than AX but perhaps less flexibility and is ultimately less powerful.
Several reviews have touted NAV’s speed and high throughput scores as differentiating characteristics. Most of those studies were based on the old proprietary database and not the newer SQL Server focused versions so any remaining performance differentiation is questionable.
Dynamics NAV is primarily an industry neutral accounting software system, however, has adapted the application for the below vertical markets.
Light manufacturing and assembly operations;
Multiple site companies;
Global and international companies;
Dynamics NAV accounting system strengths include the following:
Localization in select geographic markets;
Internationalization including multi-currency management and global taxing methods;
Multiple site integration and consolidation;
Packaged integration with Dynamics CRM (customer relationship management).
Dynamics NAV accounting system weaknesses include the following:
Euro-centric terminology and certain functionality is awkward for North American users;
Weak North American VAR channel;
Weak North American user base;
Unclear publisher strategy and commitment for product evolution.
Dynamics NAV primary competitors include Sage MAS 90, MAS 200 and Epicor. Dynamics NAV also competes with other Microsoft Dynamics lines.
Other traditional competitors include Epicor and Accpac as well as the on-demand accounting software products from NetSuite, Intacct and Aplicor.
Microsoft’s product strategy for its Dynamics accounting software lines has changed multiple times. The company originally stated the product plan was to merge the four ERP software products to a common code base (called project Green) with each product line maintaining its user interface and industry specific specialties. However, the scope, complexity and cost of that project proved daunting, and Microsoft has changed its strategy and commitment to each of the product lines with each missed milestone. Most analysts agree that it will not be cost effective to continue development in all four products and the discussion has turned to which products will survive.
Dynamics NAV Software Evaluation
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