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Comparing Microsoft Dynamics ERP: NAV, AX and GP

Posted by Indusa Admin on October 26, 2015 6:03 am

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Within the Microsoft Dynamics family, there are several different branches of ERP systems – NAV, AX and GP.  All have unique functionalities, strengths, and weaknesses, but the efficacy of these ERP systems depend on the business size, industry, and what you hope to gain from the ERP software.

Some ERP systems offer simple and limited functionalities, making them better suited for small businesses. Other software is more complex, but also allows room for growth into midsize and large enterprises. There are numerous differences in the functionalities of these ERP systems, so finding the ERP system that is the best fit for your organization may be challenging – especially if you’re uncertain about the differences between options.


Difference Between Microsoft Dynamics NAV, AX and GP

To help you choose the right solution for your business and better understand the benefits of each solution, we have outlined the differences between Microsoft dynamics NAV, AX and GP below.

Dynamics NAV

Microsoft Dynamics NAV, formerly known as Navision, is a step up from GP and the most widely adopted Dynamics software. It is aimed at distribution, manufacturing, retail, and professional services organizations. NAV has increased functionalities and numerous add-ons created by independent software vendors, making it ideal for midmarket businesses and companies with rapidly changing and diverse needs. It also has numerous localizations, making it better suited for international businesses than GP.

The increased features make NAV slightly more complicated to implement, but still offers relatively easy adoption. One of the few drawbacks of NAV is its scalability. Similarly to GP, businesses can easily outgrow NAV as they expand operations and require additional functions. Having a properly scaled ERP software is essential to efficient business operations so many NAV users eventually upgrade to AX in order to facilitate organizational growth.

Dynamics AX

Formerly known as Axapta, Microsoft Dynamics AX is the most complex member of the Dynamics ERP family and offers the most scalability and functionalities. It is primarily used by midsize and larger businesses. While the complexity of this system makes it less ideal for small businesses, the opportunities for growth that AX provides allows organizations to continue using AX regardless of the size of their expansion. This is a key difference, as both GP and NAV can hinder growth once businesses outgrow their capabilities.

AX continues to expand on functions for international business and offers better management for global end-to-end processes. Another key feature of AX is the industry specific functionalities it offers, making it a leading contender in many industries, including manufacturing, retail, and distribution. AX offers the most comprehensive features and customizations, and as a result, takes the most time to implement. The numerous configurations add to the complexity of AX, but provide invaluable support for organizations who require more specific functions from their ERP.

Dynamics GP

Formerly known as Great Plains, Dynamics GP is primarily used by small to midsize businesses and is popular among distribution companies. It has a wide variety human resources and accounting features that make it a prime choice for companies with stringent financial reporting requirements.

The available features streamline numerous business tasks and increase efficiency; however, while numerous independent software vendors offer add-ons for GP, the software can be difficult to customize and lacks numerous features present in NAV and AX. GP also lacks localization and global consolidation features, which limits its use for international business.

If your organization is on the larger end of midsize businesses, or is looking to expand in the future, then this option may lack the scalability and functionalities required. Because of its simple functions, however, it is the easiest Dynamics ERP system for organizations to implement.

  Dynamics GP Dynamics NAV Dynamics AX
Customer profile Small to midsize businesses. Small to midsize businesses that are growing or require increased functionalities. Midsize to large enterprises with an international presence. Also serves growing businesses who require an ERP that can handle their expansions.
Key features Comprehensive accounting, human resources, and business intelligence functions. Financial, supply chain management, manufacturing, distribution, customer relationship management, sales, marketing, service, human resources, project and resource management, business intelligence, and global functions. Advanced and industry-specific functionalities. Offers general ledger, bank management, customer relationship management, accounts receivable and payable, inventory management, resource planning, manufacturing, production, human resources, accounting, administrative, sales, marketing, procurement and sourcing, and comprehensive global and consolidation capabilities.
Global capabilities Limited international features. Basic global capabilities and localizations. Comprehensive international functions, localizations, and consolidation features. Optimal for organizations with complex global operations.
Customizability Has several add-ons for more specific functions. Is highly customizable with numerous independent software vendors offering various add-ons. The most flexible of the Dynamics and advanced option. Offers numerous features and various customizations. AX also offers the most comprehensive features in terms of industry-specific functionalities.
Scalability Ideal for small businesses but lacks the scalability needed for most growing organizations. Offers more scalability for small and medium-sized businesses but cannot support larger organizations. Ideal for midsize to large organizations. Offers the most scalability and room for expansion, especially for organizations with multiple locations and numerous employees.
Primary industries Distribution, financial, and professional services. Discrete manufacturing, retail, professional services and distribution. Highly customizable to suit other industries and business needs. Offers complete solutions for a variety of manufacturing, retail, professional services, public sector, and distribution organizations. Highly customizable to suit other industries and business needs.
Implementation Offers numerous “out-of-the-box” features for easy implementation. Requires a longer deployment time due to more features and customizations. Offers the most robust customizations and industry-specific functions but also requires the most time to implement.

Which ERP Is Right for You?

While there are many considerations that need to be taken into account when deciding on an ERP software, a primary factor to consider is growth. While GP or NAV may be a practical solution for a small to midsize business, they can quickly be outgrown and become obsolete – which can hinder productivity and efficiency.

By using AX, businesses align their processes with powerful ERP software while simultaneously allowing themselves room to grow. This reduces the need for later upgrades, expansions, or additional implementation of ERP software. If your organization is looking to expand, conduct business globally, or requires industry-specific functionalities, then Microsoft Dynamics AX is the clear choice in ERP software.

transitioning from GP or NAV to AX

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Sarah Van Wambeke
About the Author – Sarah Van Wambeke

Sarah is an avid writer and digital media enthusiast. Here at Indusa, she primarily focuses on content creation and social media management.



Topics: ERP