This is one of the most common questions I am asked when first discussing Microsoft Dynamics NAV with companies looking for a new ERP system for their business.
“Microsoft Dynamics” is the brand name for a group of business applications owned and maintained by Microsoft.
During the period 2001-2002, Microsoft acquired four separate ERP products, and has since spent a considerable amount of time and money improving the functionality and tightening the integration with existing Microsoft products such as Office and SQL Server.
The Microsoft Dynamics range now encompasses the following products:
- Dynamics NAV
- Dynamics AX
- Dynamics GP
- Dynamics SL
- Dynamics CRM
- Dynamics POS
Each is a business application in it’s own right – each has a separate database, and different functionality. The first four listed were those acquired by Microsoft, while Dynamics CRM and Dynamics POS were independently designed and developed by Microsoft.
So, what makes them all different?
Dynamics CRM and Dynamics POS are different by design. As it’s name suggests, Dynamics CRM is a Customer Relationship Management product, used for managing customers, contacts, sales cycles, marketing campaigns, etc. Dynamics POS, or ‘Point of Sale’ is used as a store management system for retailers.
As for the ERP’s in the group, Dynamics AX has been designed and developed for high-end (‘Tier-1’) installations. Dynamics GP is a mid-market financials product, suited for simple ‘out of the box’ financial implementations, and Dynamics SL is project management software, with tight integration to Microsoft Project.
Finally, Dynamics NAV is a mid-market product, and excels in financials, manufacturing and distribution environments, with strong inventory management and warehouse management functionality. It is also readily customisable and can be easily extended to suit specific business environments, with Australian industry add-on solutions such as Fenwick Gold, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).