Microsoft Dynamics vendors provide comparisons and opinions to professionals in the ERP/Accounting software selection process

The Real Difference between Microsoft Dynamics NAV and AX

The Microsoft Dynamics product line includes several diverse ERP solutions.  Each is designed for specific industries and purposes, but the two that people often have the most trouble distinguishing between are  Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX.  So what’s the difference?

NAV and AX are described equally by Microsoft as end to end comprehensive ERP solutions with the ability to manage complex supply chains and inventory.

You won’t uncover the differences by comparing them feature to feature, and you can’t realistically define them by the number of users they can handle, though many have tried. The real determining factors are at a higher level, and are based on how well the solution aligns with the goals and growth plans for the organization it will support.

Scaling: Enterprise vs. Mid-size

Generally speaking, Dynamics NAV is geared toward small to midsize companies ($5M – $500M) with some international presence.  It provides powerful technology that smaller businesses otherwise may not be able to afford, allowing them to compete with organizations many times their size.  As the business grows, the ability to scale and keep pace with organizational goals is imperative, and NAV makes this very straightforward. Easy customization and the ability to scale make NAV an excellent choice for many companies.

In contrast, Dynamics AX is designed for large, enterprise class organizations with a broad international presence.  Organizations of this magnitude have unique challenges, especially when it comes to large deployments across multiple countries with each operating in their own language and currency.  Though both AX and NAV are designed to scale and grow along with a business, one of the main differences between these solutions is that AX is better equipped to address the specific size and scale challenges of enterprise organizations.

Complexity and Maintenance Costs

With that said, AX is much more complicated than NAV.  The implementations are more complex, take longer, require more decisions, and must have excellent project management if you hope to succeed.  Many NAV implementations require only a part-time project manager and a small implementation team.  AX often requires dedicated technical resources to manage the solution once it’s up and running, while NAV does not.  Because of these complexities, it costs more to implement and run AX than NAV, which is another reason it is a better fit for more established enterprise organizations.



Though their capabilities are similar, Dynamics AX and NAV were designed for different organizational types, structures and sizes.

One is not better than the other; they are simply intended to be matched with corresponding business complexities and size.