Dynamics 365 and Dynamics NAV - What is the Difference?

Written on May 18, 2017 by Caterina Lyng

At TRIMIT, our solutions are all based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and lately we have been getting questions about the difference between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. This blog post has been written in order to help you better understand the difference.


Dynamics 365 is a SaaS (cloud-only) service that comes with a selection of apps.

Dynamics 365 for Financials is an app in the Dynamics 365, Business edition. It is similar to Dynamics NAV but currently, not all functionality available for Dynamics NAV is available in Dynamics 365 for Financials.

Dynamics NAV is business software solution, available via perpetual, subscription, and/or SPLA licensing, that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.

Dynamics 365 in the Dynamics Portfolio

Dynamics 365 was announced in July 2016. It is a cloud service that comes in two editions with a selection of apps for each of your key business processes.

In this image, you can see the introduction of Dynamics 365 in the Microsoft Dynamics portfolio which currently includes CRM, AX, GP, NAV and SL.

Dynamics 365 Editions

Dynamics 365 is available in these editions:

Dynamics 365, Business edition:

  • Founded on "Project Madeira" (same code base as Dynamics NAV)
  • Optimized for organizations with 10-250 employees

Dynamics 365, Enterprise edition

  • Made up of Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX
  • Optimized for organizations with 250+ employees

Both editions leverage capabilities from across Microsoft’s wider portfolio of products and services. In addition, they come with connectors that let you integrate with applications and services from Microsoft and their partners. Many of these applications and services will be found in the application store Microsoft AppSource.

Since the Dynamics 365, Business edition is founded on the same code base as Dynamics NAV - the foundation of TRIMIT's industry solutions - this blog post will focus only on this edition.

Dynamics NAV vs "Project Madeira"

Here you can see an overview of how Dynamics NAV compares to "Project Madeira", the foundation of Dynamics 365, Business edition.

 Dynamics NAV"Project Madeira"
Deployment OptionsIaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

PaaS: Platform as a Service

SaaS: Software as a Service
ProductFull functionalityModified functionality
LicensingDynamics Price List (perpetual, subscription),
and/or SPLA: Service Provider Licensing Agreement
CSP: Cloud Solution Provider (subscription)
DifferentiatorCustomizations offer maximum flexibility
Power of Choice
Extensions and continuous updates
Customizations allowedYesOnly extensions


Dynamics 365 and Dynamics NAV are tools for small businesses as well as organisations in the mid-sized business market. This is reflected in the licensing options.

Dynamics 365, Business Edition

With Dynamics 365, you can choose from a selection of apps depending of the edition you subscribe to. You can get monthly plans with packaged apps or standalone applications.

Dynamics 365 licensing guide


Dynamics NAV

Dynamics NAV starts you off with a Starter Pack that includes 3 Full User licenses. Regardless of how and where Dynamics NAV is deployed, you have the choice of purchasing your licenses up front, or paying a monthly fee.

Dynamics NAV packages



With Dynamics 365, Business edition, you can choose to subscribe to only one single app while Dynamics NAV provides you with a range of functionality in the Starter Pack.

In the following you can see what apps are or will be available in the Dynamics 365, Business edition and how the Financials app compares to Dynamics NAV.

Dynamics 365, Business Edition

The Dynamics 365, Business edition will let you select one or more of these apps:

  • Dynamics 365 for Financials
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales
  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service

Currently, only Dynamics 365 for Financials has been released. The app is available in the U.S. and Canada. It will be available in the UK soon, followed by Denmark and the Netherlands by the end of 2017.

The Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Marketing are expected to be available in selected markets in 2017.

Dynamics 365 for Financials vs Dynamics NAV

At present, not all functionality available for Dynamics NAV is available in Dynamics 365 for Financials. Starting 2018 however, Microsoft is expected to evolve Financials to include expanded capabilities on-par with Dynamics NAV except for the industry-specific editions like Manufacturing.

Functionality for Manufacturing and Warehousing is found in the Extended Pack of Dynamics NAV. Dynamics 365 customers looking for industry-specific apps can install these by going to AppSource.

Dynamics NAV is sold as a Starter Pack which optionally can be incremented with the Extended Pack:

Dynamics NAV packages


Here is an overview of the functionality available in Financials and the Dynamics NAV Starter Pack:

Dynamics 365 for FinancialsDynamics NAV (Starter Pack)
  • Financial Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Sales
  • Purchasing
  • Project Management
  • Additional Capabilities
  • Financial Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Project Management
  • Configuration and Development
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Languages
  • Other

Update, March 2018

Phasing out the names "Dynamics 365 for Financials and Operations" and "Dynamics NAV".

These solutions are advanced as one solution that is available in the cloud and on-premises. This solution is called: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Read our news article "Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central".


Microsoft Partner Source - requieres MS login:

Dynamics 365 for Financials Partner FAQ (PDF)

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition

Microsoft Customer Source - requieres MS login:

Microsoft Dynamics 365


Dynamics NAV 2017 Capabilities Guide (PDF)

Dynamics 365 for Financials Capabilities Guide (PDF)

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