Which Dynamics Platform?

I know this is a loaded question, but which Dynamics platform is best suited for which business?
I have been trying to figure out the differences between the products.
I had hoped that this would be documented somewhere, but I have been unable to find anything concrete (even from Microsoft’s Dynamics site).
So can anyone help out with the difference between AX, NAV, GP and SL?
Or perhaps a site with information regarding the differences?


Not an expert, just someone who looked a few of them.

AX - original target was larger size manufacturing companies, began in Europe, competed with Navision on the fringe of the mid/high market. both introduce graphical interface and easy customization to the market, before this everything was charater based and not very flexible.

NAV - orginal target mid market retail/wholesale distribution companies, too big for quickbooks, mas90 ect but not big enough for Orcle or SAP implemention - began in Europe little penatration in the USA as first

GP - Same basic market as Navision but primary the US market.

SL - Soloman - same market as GP and NAV, began as charater based and evolved alone the same lines as GP

Navision bought AX with goal of combining and try to reach the low end of the high end market such as Oracle and SAP.

Microsoft entered US market with GP purchase and expanded to Europe with Navision/AX purchase

GP & SL are both of USA origin, AX (Axapta, Concorde XAL) & NAV (Navision) were 2 competitors in Europe - and then came Microsoft an` bought them all [:D] To be more precise AX and NAV joined before becoming Microsoft Business Solutions.

As from MS, they position NAV for small/medium businesses, AX for medium/large, the last being generally more expensive for the approx alike functionality. Both ex-European systems have their strong & weak points - NAV in comparison to AX lacks Project Management, has clumsy Manufacturing and so-so Resources&Jobs, but NAV IMHO has better analytical possibilities (especially in v4) and Budgeting, besides there is a bazillion of NAV Add-Ons just for every possible need not covered in base version - a catalogue is available on Dynamics site.

There are of course many other differences, not knowing your needs (and country of residence), nobody can tell you what to choose. Cant speak about GP & SL, lets wait what will forums US members say.

BTW, they say in foreseeable future (years, of course) all 4 will mix up in one joint product - MS doesn`t want to compete with itself…

GP & SL went through a similar process in the US. GP bought SL and then MS acquired GP.

Well I guess the question differs based on who you ask. My own background in the Navision (Dynamics NAV) world might paint my picture too.

AX (formerly Axapta)
This is properly Microsoft’s best product toward the midsize to enterprise level company. It offers many of the enterprise level features, known from bigger packages. It also has strong manufacturing and distribution features. A good solution for a streamlined/centralized smaller enterprise active in many countries.
The cons about this package is that the projects (just as with other bigger products) often are getting rather heavy and expensive.

NAV (formerly Navision)
The strength of NAV is it’s usablity and rapid development environment. Microsoft primary target this product toward the midsize segment with 20 to 200 users, but I know of many companies with many more users (up to 1000 users). It’s also a very good product for international corporations with many subsidiaries in many countries, due to the rapid development and implementations. Good for practically all types of businesses.
The cons of this product is properly that it’s base application is not as strong as AX and it’s SQL implementation is not as good as it could be (but it get’s better for each release).

GP (formerly Great Plains)
I must say that I don’t know too much about GP. But it used to be one of Navision’s biggest competitors on the US market and basically targets the same businesses (midmarket). And even today, you don’t find it in many other countries than USA. It’s being told that it’s general ledger module is one of the best.
The cons of this product is primary that you don’t find it outside the USA.

SL (formerly Solomon)
Personally I used to work with this product many years ago as an end user, but I wasn’t really too impressed. Today this package has been redesigned and is being focused toward smaller and midsize companies in the project management, service and distribution industry.
Like GP the cons is that you primary find this product in the USA.

But let’s hear what the other members are saying too!

I am biased.
AX is the baby of the set, it was initiated by Navision/Damgaard when they merged.
Implementation for geographically distributed environment on same platform.
Huge scalability (hundreds of users).
Relativley difficult to adapt for business requirements.
Good functionality for project control.

NAV is the fast maturing adolescent.
New Windows version in the early 1990’s - has developed and matured since then.
Have seen it used in 1 man/woman/dog business and as local solution in global corporate ERP strategy and most points between all over the world.
Obeys 80/20 rule : 80% business fit out of the box across all functions and 20% delivered by partner\agent.
Easy to adapt for business requirements.
IMHO provides more functionality, more opportunity with less cost and less maintenance thany any other product in the marketplace (including SAP).

SL and GP.
Who needs them?

This is actually not true. Axapta was originally released in 1998, whereas the merger didn’t happen until the year 2000.

Hey, if only you had added a smiley then I would smile too! And just because you don’t know these two system, they serve their purpose to.

And I really cannot agree with this either. Navision doesn’t include very much functionality compared to other packages. And definitly not SAP! But in most cases Navision has what it takes. And due to the rapid development and implementations in most cases, even when you have to create the required functionality, your projects will be shorter and cheaper than a SAP project.

Thanks for the explanation.
I am a US based developer, in Texas (GMT-6) and we are adopting AX 4.0.
My position is to become a subject matter expert on our AX implementation and our business processes.
I am still unsure if this is feasable for one person, or if we will have to hire someone to help.

We are a rapidly growing franchise company with global presence.
The decision to go with AX was made before I came on board (just 2 weeks ago) and I wanted a feel for why they chose AX as opposed to NAV / GP / SL.
The info yall provided seems to have cleared up that decision a bit, so thanks a bunch!

The only question is:

can you live with AX for let’s say the next five years or so ?

Microsoft plans say they want to make one solution out of all the solutions they are presenting now.

So let’s deal with what we have and let’s hope that things will get better with the so called “Project Green”

This is my two words on the topic:

Navision developed as very structured, integrated and very generic solution that very easy to modify and tailor to specific customer needs.

GP developed as GL system with multiple add-ons. (GP was buying different solutions from different solution centers)

As result: if you can find Vertical solution tailored to your type of business you can pick any system (not only Navision, GP, Solomon, Axapta, MAS90, SAP…). It is always better to find Vertical.

If you can not – go with Navision (i mean between Navision and GP - i do not know other systems).

Could you give a few examples of Nav implementation up to 1000 users or at least above 500 users? Such info, especially case studies would be very helpful to make a decision witch system choose Nav or AX?

Here you got some customer stories about Dynamics Ax (Axapta) implementations. You can find some case study on Ax implementation in enterprises such as X-Box (High Tech), Tommy Hilfiger (retail focus) , Carbogen (pharmacy)… and other in differnet industries (oil and gaz, distribution, services,…)

As for the Navision case studies, you can find also customers evidence here. But I know less about Navision (I’ll let Nav specialist telling you about it)

Hope these links can help you

There are plenty of NAV implementation of up to 1000 users. Some even larger. In my old company we had around 2000 users on Dynamics NAV (GN Store Nord). And in my new job we expect to have a around 2500 users within 3 years (ISS).

But although we see this as one implementation/project, then we don’t talk about 2500 users in one company in one database. But 2500 users in maybe 100 companies in 3-4 databases.

My personal rule of thumb says that we should not put more than 500-600 users in one database, and not more than 200-250 users in one company. More could work, but it really depends on the combination of roles of the users. So i.e. if you have 200 out of 250 users in Sales then you are out for a challenge in optimizing system performance - but even here then it’s surely possible to get a new system out of it.

( I only use NAV actively )

I have heard that GP has very poor multi-language and multi-currency support - both of which are very strong in NAV. Therefore in an international implemenation, GP can’t compete with NAV.

I’ve also heard that GP’s ‘verticals’ are more mature than NAV’s.

Im also trying to work out if we go down the AX or the Nav path.

My understanding is that AX will probably be the product that will eventually win out over the other MS flavours with a “lite” version being available down the track.

The documents I have read also seem to indicate that AX is probably the best that provides remote web access and with concepts such as virtualisation and cloud computing being touted as well as decentralisation of work forces, its something to think about.

I represent a multi country franchise system which makes remote accessability more attractive as well.

Id guess though that if you want an easier out of the box implimentation that does 90% of everything, then go NAV :slight_smile:

Following is a cut and paste from another site I thought was kind of useful, but might be a bit outdated…

Microsoft Business Solutions - Axapta Differences

Targeted to small to medium-sized companies with $20 - $500+ Million in revenues.

Complex Manufacturing and Distribution. Axapta is Microsoft Business Solutions’ high end system with features such as a product configurator (allows order clerks to configure a complex product with many options and features on the fly), graphical views of scheduling and Bill of Materials…

Technology. Axapta is the only Microsoft Business Solution available today that is web based. Axapta can be accessed over the internet using a browser or using the same user interface used over a local area network. Axapta uses “thin client” architecture which means that only a small amount of code is required on a workstation or remote computer. Traffic over the internet is kept to a minimum. Non web based systems require the use of products such as Citrix and Terminal Services to obtain remote access, but do this at the expense of additional complexity and expense.

International. Axapta is compliant with the legal requirements of thirty-one countries around the world.

Multilingual. You can run multiple languages, changing from one to another in real-time. Employees can work in the language of their choice and they can send documents to customers and vendors in their native languages.

Customizations. Customizations are specific not only by user, but also by location and by company. Axapta uses a versioning system for its customizations that allows you to revert back to previous versions if necessary.

Multiple Site Support. Multi-site support is ideal for companies with wide area networks that want centralized reporting and the ability to cross-reference or amalgamate information from individual offices. Customer, vendor, general ledger account numbers, and similar information can be shared or made unique depending on business needs.

Microsoft Business Solutions - Navision Differences

Targeted to small, medium-sized and some large companies with $10 - $500 Million in revenues.

Customization. Navision is known for its customization capabilities. There are many third party solutions that are available that have been written using Navision customization tools.

Rock solid performance. Customers consistently give high marks to Navision’s reliability and speed.

Dimensional reporting. By attaching dimensions to transactions, it is possible to analyze business performance across multiple dimensions.

Financial reporting. Financial reporting is based on transactions and not monthly buckets. Financial reports can easily and quickly be generated for any date range. Financial report writer also used for analysis of item ledgers – what sold, what purchased… with control over rows and columns with drilldown.

Navigation. Navision provides superior tools to easily drill down for detailed information.

Resellers. We have consistently heard positive comments on the resellers from Navision clients. Navision requires that resellers attend extensive training.

Databases. Navision was developed using the C/Side database. Navision has offered their system with Microsoft SQL Server since 1999 and today about 35% of new Navision systems are sold with the Microsoft SQL Server database. Normally we recommend industry standard technology such as Microsoft SQL Server. However, with Navision, the empirical evidence is that C/Side is fast and bullet-proof.

Granular pricing. You don’t need to purchase what you don’t use. You purchase features rather than a module that contains features that you may not use.

Supply Chain. Navision includes warehouse management, production, and returns management.

Inter-company transactions. Automatic balancing between legal entities. A PO created in 1 company creates a draft sales order in the other company ready to be approved

Microsoft Business Notification Be aware of business-critical events anywhere and prevent problems before they might occur. For example, receive notifications to tell you if there is a delay in shipping or production, or when the inventory on crucial items sinks beyond a certain level

5 pre-loaded verticals. For faster implementation for Wholesale, Furniture, Machinery, CPG (consumer packaged goods), High Tech - Should reduce implementation time significantly

Manufacturing. Includes visibility into work-in-process and support for order-by-order planning workflow (light MRP), manual planning, graphical production schedule, Gantt charts and production reporting.

Anaytics. Business Analytics with predefined or customized OLAP cubes. Pre-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Financial Management, Supply Chain Management and Customer Relationship Management

Hi Garaux,

AX (the artist formerly known as Axapta) is designed for enterprise clients, while the other platforms are mainly for small to mid-sized clients. AX was intially built for manufacturing and supply chain needs. I would look at some of the columns on msdynamicsworld.com, as there are a number of different articles that really describe the key differences. I haven’t been able to find any concrete information on product differences, other than on that site. What type of industry are you in? There are many different VARs that can tailor a platform to your specific industry.


Jim Stengler
MTS Consulting, Inc.

Hi Jim, I have been looking at the site msdynamicsworld.co you recommend. I am very interested in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of AX vs GP. But I did not find any articles describing the key differences. WOuld you be able to point me a little more to he place where I can find them?

Thanks a lot,


I am constantly being asked (by Prospects, Clients and other resellers) about which Microsoft Dynamics ERP product is best, Dynamics AX, Nav, ect. I wrote a page that includes Microsoft’s own positioning at;


Hope that helps Michael