AL, BC14, BC15, BC16, BC17, BC18, Business Central, C/AL, Cumulative Updates, Dynamics 365, End of Mainstream, Extension, Information, NAV 2015, NAV 2016, NAV 2017, NAV 2018, Navision, on-premises, Online, Updates, upgrade

Comparison of BUSINESS CENTRAL AND NAV

First released in 1987, acquired by Microsoft in 2002, now called Business Central, Dynamics NAV is one of Microsoft’s most prolific software packages. 

After Dynamics NAV 2018, Microsoft discontinued their popular, but on-premises only, ERP solution Dynamics NAV and replaced it with Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC-13). But what is the difference between the two systems, and why should your business make the switch? Let’s take a look at Business Central vs Dynamics NAV.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV was rebranded in 2018 to Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for on-premises and private cloud versions, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for the cloud version.

At the time of writing this comparison, BC-21 is available in market.

Since 2018, Dynamics NAV is no longer available for purchase. The only businesses that can use the system are those that already held licenses. Even for those who do still hold licenses, the system no longer receives updates, meaning the software will quickly become outdated and harder to use.

Mainstream Support for Dynamics NAV versions from 2013 to 2017 has already ended, with the 2018 version losing support in January 2023. This deadline is fast approaching, so if you are currently using NAV 2018 you should begin to consider your optimal course of action going forward.

With very little time remaining before the end of Dynamics NAV Mainstream Support in January 2023, the sooner you decide on your course of action, the better.

Microsoft introduced Dynamics 365 Business Central. Business Central is a newer version of Dynamics NAV, offering the same standard functionality in a much more user-friendly way. It’s also SaaS (Software as a Service) meaning it’s accessible from anywhere, with the same security that drives Microsoft 365.

In addition to the functions carried over from Dynamics NAV, the Dynamics 365 Business Central system affords users with access to:

  • Integration with Microsoft 365 applications for increased productivity and streamlined data
  • Data connectivity and business intelligence through Microsoft Power Platform
  • Microsoft Azure architecture for cloud security, presence, and scale
  • Increased pool of third-party software integrations
  • Multiple deployment options for on-premises, private server, or cloud hosting

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central helps with day-to-day business processes and operations. Its capabilities include financials, stock management, purchasing and much more, all with real-time data and analytics through Power BI.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is relevant for businesses adopting flexible, hybrid, or remote working models thanks to the scalable, cloud-based architecture and integration with Microsoft 365 and Power BI tools.

It is an all-in-one solution that can be adapted for many industries including software developers, IT services, financial services, healthcare, and educational institutions.

The system also has large user bases in manufacturing, distribution, ecommerce, and retail. 

Features and functions are still the same as back in the NAV days, just with a more digital-focused platform. But still differ from old days Dynamics NAV.

Most of the base code of Business Central has been adapted from NAV, and it has enhanced the rich functionality its predecessor offered, with options to deploy as an on-premises or a SaaS cloud solution.

The Dynamics 365 Business Central web client, including its sisters, the tablet and phone clients (by the way, there is no longer a Windows client) has had a makeover!

Features include new and varied fonts to highlight important information such as a headline banner on the Role Centre, a fabulous teal Role Centre with easy navigation, and interestingly capitalised field names on lists!

They are curiously small differences but really nice touches.

Design Tool it’s as good as it used to be! In fact, it’s a very smart design tool. As a ‘non-developer’ you can amend pages, add new fields and save the result as an extension.

When comparing Dynamics NAV to Business Central, you must be aware of the substantial functional upgrades and new capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics NAV that offers several notable improvements.

You’ll see numerous benefits in your business, including agility, ability to scale quickly, mobility, lower cost of ownership, and more.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central have many similarities, but there are many differences too that make many users move from NAV to Business Central.

You can also choose to deploy Business Central as an on-premises solution if that is a better fit for your organization. However, you may then miss out on integration and cutting-edge features.

While the two systems are similar, there are key differences that make Business Central the preferred option for many businesses:

Business CentralDynamics Navision
 Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based ERP solution.  

With Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can access your data and applications anytime, anywhere, and on any device.  

D365 Business Central includes a comprehensive set of features and functionality.  

Business Central is licensed on a per-user basis.  

With Business Central, you only need to pay for the users who will be using the system.
Dynamics NAV is an on-premises ERP solution.  

Dynamics NAV requires some customization and third-party add-ons to achieve the same level of functionality.  

Dynamics NAV is licensed on a per-server basis.  

Dynamics NAV, you need to pay for the server regardless of how many users are accessing the system.
IntegrationFull (All Microsoft Products)Limited, Version Dependent 
Objects49,999 objects are free to use on cloudObjects need to be purchased for customizations 
Search Interface Advanced, with automatic categorization, smart search (search for misspellings or imprecise terms) Basic, possibility of data duplication 
Reporting Power BI Limited 
Deployment Cloud (No need to maintain servers and backups) although On-Premises option also available.On-Premises, Cost for Server maintenance and backup management.
USER INTERFACEWeb-based app
Improved design
Much easier to navigate.
More productive platform.
Desktop-based 
 Business Central interface uses AL language in the code.  

Offers more customization than before and helps to make extensions and upgrades much easier to manage in the long term.
Dynamics NAV using C/AL coding
 Better integration with other Microsoft products already used by many businesses, including all applications within the Microsoft Dynamics suite, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM) and Office 365 products, such as Outlook and Excel. 
 Offers more automated operations to improve productivity.  

Native connectivity to Microsoft’s Power Platform (e.g., Power Automate) and powerful workflows and integrations can be created, by end-users without complex coding, sometimes almost no code.
 
HOSTINGBusiness Central is a SaaS solution – sitting on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, which enables you to specify the region where your data is stored and processed.  

There are many benefits to SaaS solutions,

*  Greater security
* Less risk of data loss and
* Better accessibility for your team.
* Cloud hosting also works alongside the new coding to make upgrades and extensions much easier to carry out.
Only On-Premises capability.

Need to invest in and manage your own in-house servers.
UPGRADESBi-annual release
Sequential upgrades,
Which happen automatically.
Your systems are always up to date.  

With the on-premises or private cloud version of Business Central, upgrades are not automatic but are still relatively simpler compared to NAV.  

Plus, any third-party apps or customizations you have are also designed to be compatible with each new Business Central update.
No Automatic Upgrades.
 Your business is always using the most optimised version of Business Central.Fuss and cost of manually updating the software.
 If you are apprehensive about an update, there is an option to delay its installation for up to 90 days.

However, it’s good idea to staying as up to date as possible. Updates are introduced to improve overall user experience and security.
Hotfixes & Cumulative updates to be handled on own cost.
 Business Central, the modifications are made using AL language that creates extensions – leaving the core system untouched and making upgrades a lot easier.NAV customization was written in C/AL language and was integral to the core system.

This meant upgrades were a major undertaking as the whole system needed to be reviewed and potentially redeveloped.
USER LICENSESDynamics 365 Business Central uses a monthly/annual subscription model and is available in either (‘Essentials’ or ‘Premium’).  

Charges per user, meaning fees are based on the number of simultaneous users each month.  

You also get an option to pay a perpetual license fee. That means you can now Business Central as an operational expense or a capital expense, whichever makes more sense for your business. It also moves from a concurrent user to a named user licensing model.
Perpetual with yearly AMC 16% in license cost.  

Dynamics NAV is available in Starter Pack & Extended Pack.
 Business Central users can also benefit from Single Sign On and usability across multiple devices, and across iOS, Android, and PC. 
 Remote working much easier, especially as the landscape of working life is becoming a blend of office-based and home working.  

Flexible and cost-effective for businesses.
 
 Now your staff can simply log into the web app from any device to get their job done. This makes the ERP solution much more cost-effective and flexible for your business. 

HOW TO TRANSITION TO BUSINESS CENTRAL

Many companies have been using Dynamics NAV for years, so Nav users may be a little wary about making the switch to Business Central. But with even more functionality than the NAV solution and with better usability, you won’t regret taking the first step.

While some Microsoft products, like Office 365, can be bought directly from Microsoft, this is not the case for Business Central. Due to the complexity of the product, Microsoft Business Central must be purchased through an approved Microsoft partner.

The Business Central trial takes a few minutes to load, and you can start using the app. 

Dynamics 365 Business Central Licensing

There are two main subscription licensing options:

  • Business Central Essentials
  • Business Central Premium.

To use this ERP software, you must license one of these plans. Both plans are licensed by user and are fast to implement as well as easy to configure. There’s also a ‘Team Members‘ licensing option to add on additional users.

The difference between a full user vs. an additional user:

A full user is someone who will be working heavily within Business Central on a daily basis. These will typically be your customer service employees, sales and marketing staff, finance employees, and supply chain managers.

An additional user or team member is a ‘light user’ or users who do not require the full capabilities of Business Central. For instance, they may need to view data reports, log their expenses or time, and other such activities.

Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials consists of several modules that are considered essential for any business.

Modules included within Essentials:

  • Financial Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Project Management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Human Resources Management

Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium

The Premium license has everything in the Essentials license plus service management and manufacturing.

Modules included within Premium:

  • Service Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Financial Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Project Management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Human Resources Management

API URL, BC18, Business Central, Data Source, Dynamics 365, Environment, HttpClient Request, Information, Instalation & Configuration, Jet Analytics, Jet Data Manager, Jet Reports, Nav Adapter, Tip & Tricks, Web Access Key

Jet Data Manager Connecting Data Source To Business Central – – Part-1

Jet Analytics delivers fast, flexible dashboards and reports in Excel, Power BI, and in the browser. Now you can bring all your data together in one place to enable everyone in the organization to easily perform sophisticated business analysis from anywhere, without technical expertise. Empower users to make better decisions, faster.

This blog shares information on the steps involved to connect Jet Analytics to the Business Central (Online Tenant)

Step 1: Find tenant and environment information

Step 2: Get web services access key

User which will be used to establish the connection to the Business Central data source ensure this user have permission set of either:

  • SUPER
  • D365 FULL ACCESS

Step 3: Install Jet Analytics Extension

On Extension Management page click Manage → Extension Marketplace And search for Jet Analytics App

Click -> Get it now to deploy the App

Step 4: Verify extension installation 

Click Manage and then Deployment Status

Verify that the status is completed.

Step 5: Allow http client requests

Step 6: Configure Business Central data source in Jet Analytics project

Ensure if your Environment Name is other than Production or Sandbox, you will need to manually enter your Environment name. Like in my case it was Test

Next, we will setup Accounts

You will get (0 selected) at first time in this case this task is already performed so showing count of selected Accounts (Companies in Business Central Database)

Select Template & all desired Companies from the List and hit OK.

Now you can see your table objects in Data Selection Pan.

That’s all for this post rest will discuss in other upcoming posts.

One news I want to share with all readers, now we are Jet Reports Partner, if you have any requirements you can reach to me for License, Deployment, Training or Support.