Skip to main content
Submitted by Greg Kaupp on 15 June 2011

What is the difference between Microsoft Dynamics NAV and AX?

Companies that are evaluating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software invariably short list Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) and Microsoft Dynamics AX (Axapta). While Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics AX collectively represent the largest install bases and fastest growing products in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP portfolio it can be confusing what Microsoft envisions for two products that at first glance appear similar but are quite different underneath.

Balancing apples and oranges Microsoft Dynamics NAV has been the dominant product globally for small to medium size business for the better part of the last decade, with over 86,000 companies worldwide and over 1,300,000 users. Microsoft Dynamics NAV not only has the largest install base of any Microsoft Dynamics ERP product but also has one of the largest install bases of any ERP product globally. While both products have experienced sustained double digit growth, Microsoft Dynamics AX has grown at a faster percentage on a much smaller install base. One of the major reasons for Microsoft Dynamics AX growth is that it has gained increasing traction with some of the largest multinational companies that are trying to get away from the SAP and Oracle stranglehold.

Historically Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics AX have competed directly with the majority of the small to medium size businesses selecting Microsoft Dynamics NAV and the largest enterprise customers selecting Microsoft Dynamics AX. It has not always been obvious which product was the right one for companies in the upper mid-market segment,however with the next release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics AX it is finally becoming clearer.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV was always intended to serve small to medium size companies that want an ERP platform that they can customize without breaking the upgrade path. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has always had its greatest success in companies that are aggressively growing and require that their business management systems are flexible enough that they can change and grow with them. Microsoft also continues to make investments in the underlying technology of Microsoft Dynamics NAV which extend its value as both an ERP solution and its ability to connect all aspects of a business. One common characteristic of a company running Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an ability to grow without adding headcount.

Microsoft Dynamics AX on the other hand makes more sense for the largest enterprise customers who are escaping SAP and Oracle. Most large enterprise customers are not seeking flexibility and adaptability but uniformity across a distributed organization. What Microsoft Dynamics AX sacrifices in flexibility it makes up in scalability. While a very large Microsoft Dynamics NAV installation might represent 400 - 500 concurrent users this would be the type of company that Microsoft Dynamics AX was designed to handle.

As Microsoft continues to make investments in Microsoft Dynamics NAV to serve small to medium size companies and Microsoft Dynamics AX to serve the largest enterprises it will become easier and easier to differentiate and position these two great products from Microsoft for prospective customers.

Learn more about the features, benefits, and costs of  Microsoft Dynamics NAV and ArcherPoint can help you make the right decision on your next ERP project.

Blog tags

Blog comments


Wed, 11/30/2011 - 09:06

Nice, simple & cleary written! Posted @ Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:27 AM by Gareth Cahill

Obviously I meant clearly, not cleary - my apologies. Posted @ Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:28 AM by Gareth Cahill

Well stated! thanks for the clarification. Posted @ Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:30 AM by Suzanne

How do they compare from a functionality standpoint? I’ve heard one applications has better (greater) functionality than the other, and I’d be interested in another opinion on that point. Posted @ Wednesday, July 20, 2011 8:22 AM by Bradley Roberts