Dynamics NAV versus Dynamics 365 for Financials

By Devang Mehta, NAV Practice Manager

Dynamics 365 for Financials and Dynamics NAV are business management solutions for small and mid-sized organizations that automate and streamline business processes and help you manage your business.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for Financials are very similar products. The Dynamics 365 for Financials was earlier known as “Project Madeira”. These two solutions aren’t really competitors. They target different markets and address different needs. Dynamics 365 Financials is a complete cloud SAAS solution based on the NAV platform. Therefore, two ERP systems have more things in common than things that set them apart.


Most likely the biggest difference between the two solutions is deployment.

Dynamics 365 for Financials is purchased as a service. The benefits here are lower cost, scalability, accessibility, etc.

Dynamics NAV, on the other hand, has a little more flexibility in this regard. You can host the software on your own servers, or in a 3rd-party cloud like Azure if you choose. Dynamics NAV actually works very well when hosted by a 3rd-party cloud, so don’t base your choice between these two products on whether you want “the cloud” or not.

Pricing & Licensing

Dynamics 365 for Financials can only be licensed as a subscription for $40/month for every person. It can only be for named users. This means that Dynamics 365 for Financials will have a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than Dynamics NAV.  This is because Dynamics 365 for Financials licenses are less expensive per named user ($40 monthly vs $65 monthly); and all infrastructure costs are included in its price.

Dynamics NAV can be purchased either perpetually, or as a subscription. This means you can bear the full cost of licenses up-front, or subscribe to retain access rights. You can also purchase Dynamics NAV users as “concurrent” users, or “named” users. This means you can either buy the rights for up to [x number] of people to use Dynamics NAV at the same time, or you can buy the rights for certain people to use the solution whenever they want. Your choice.


Dynamics NAV is a much more robust solution. Currently, the Dynamics 365 for Financials limitations are:

  1. It does not provide any features for production, storage, or services and human resources management.
  2. Although it allows you to create more than one company, it offers no functionalities for inter-company transactions or consolidation.
  3. In the inventory module, Financials doesn’t provide for the management of several different warehouses (locations), or the management of batches or serial numbers.
  4. In the Purchasing module, Financials doesn’t allow you to create purchase quote requests to vendors; it only allows you to prepare purchase orders.


Financials can only be personalized through “extensions”. This is a new development approach (also available for NAV), which is only just starting to be used by partners.

If you require a lot of customizations, Dynamics NAV will have the edge. It has one of the most “open” codebases of any ERP; about everything is exposed to the system developer to customize. It also has a lot of customizations created by Independent Software Vendor (ISV) . Due to its longevity, a lot of the customizations are already developed, and a rich talent pool of developers already exist.

For Dynamics 365 for Financials, you would have to reach into the Appsource and find an app that plugs right in to Dynamics 365 for Financials. Dynamics 365 for Financials currently does not have all of the configuration options available to NAV.


Dynamics 365 Financials is not a competitor to NAV 2017. I would consider it “baby NAV”.

It is a powerful cloud solution based on the Dynamics NAV technology, targeting the needs of small businesses. Although there are several current differences between the two solutions, Microsoft will expend a significant amount of resources on updating Dynamics 365 Financial to make it a complete cloud based robust solution.  They are announcing new features every month to the software.

Video Tutorial: Using Microsoft Flow with Dynamics 365 & NAV 2017 for Business Process Automation Across Popular Services

In NAV 2016, Microsoft introduced a proper workflow engine and some templates, opening the door for user defined workflows right out of the box (where previously, an ISV solution or customization would be required). That said, with few exceptions, such as e-mails for approval requests, the scope of the workflows was entirely within the NAV application: being triggered by an event in NAV, resulting in one or more actions and responses in NAV. Despite the limited number of pre-built workflow templates, events, and responses, it has definitely been a good selling feature for the solution.


Now imagine what you could do if NAV workflows could interact with other applications and services that your organization uses every day? Think SharePoint, CRM applications, SQL, cloud based file sharing services, Office apps (traditional and Office 365), BI.. or even social media! Actions driven by events in NAV, or triggering processes in NAV based on events in another application that drives your business.

Continue reading “Video Tutorial: Using Microsoft Flow with Dynamics 365 & NAV 2017 for Business Process Automation Across Popular Services”

Another (quicker) way to add new users to Project “Madeira” Preview, and some thoughts…

01-SignupOn April 18th, I posted instructions for O365 admins to add team members to their Project “Madeira” Preview tenant.

Marko Perisic (@mpnav, Project “Madeira” GM at Microsoft), came across that post / tweet and was kind enough to share a quicker way to do this, with no help needed from admins:

Simply have your team members navigate to the Project “Madeira” Preview website (www.projectmadeira.com), click on “Try the Preview” and use their work Office 365 credentials, and follow the prompts. Within minutes, they will be added to Project “Madeira” as a user, with the SUPER permission set assigned to them.

I tried it, it works as advertised, but….

It’s quick, yes, but I really hope this is a Preview-Only “feature” that will be gone when Project “Madeira” goes live.

Why? The fact that any user in your organization with an O365 account can not only add themselves to your ERP system but also have unrestricted (SUPER) access to all your sensitive data has to be cause for concern.

The admin can disable access for a user afterwards, or replace the SUPER permission set with more restrictive permission set(s), but that’s still a little unnerving…

If this “feature” were to make the final cut, there would another area of concern: The cost of Project “Madeira”, being a SaaS offering, will be a function of the number of users per billing period, and unneeded users adding themselves to Project “Madeira” would also impact subscription costs for an organization.

Reminder to Self: Calm down and repeat, “This is a Preview. This is a Preview. This is a Pr….”

It’s entirely possible that this feature was put in place to help people get easy access to the Preview, and not burden administrators.

One way of improving upon this for the final release:

Ideally, when Project “Madeira” is finished and officially released (with its yet-to-be-known formal name), we would have a way to add users that is both quick and secure.

One thought that comes to mind is a hybrid of what we have now:

  • Allow an O365 user to get the process started by going to the Project “Madeira” site and entering their credentials. This would create the user in Madeira, but in a Disabled state and/or with no permission sets assigned.
  • Have that kick off an Approval Workflow in Project “Madeira” where the administrator is notified, so that the request can be reviewed and a determination can be made as to whether the user should have access to Madeira at all, and if so, to which companies and permission sets.
  • Upon Approval or Rejection, notify the O365 user of the outcome.

Update (response from Marko):

Issues connecting new Project “Madeira” Users to Power BI?

Homepage_metal_large_2If you’ve just added a new O365 user to Project Madeira and the new user is having trouble getting PowerBI.com working with the content pack, just try again the next day or so. It looks like the NAV User name and/or Web Service Access Key need some time to propagate.

I’ve had this happen with a couple users now, and at first I thought I was doing something wrong, only to find it working when I tried again with the same user credentials a day or two later.

You can find detailed instructions on connecting Project Madeira to Power BI on our blog post here.

Adding New Users to Project “Madeira” Preview with O365

If you are not familiar with Project “Madeira” or would like to learn more about the Preview, please take a few minutes to read my post titled: Project “Madeira” Preview has arrived & here’s everything you need to know! 


If you’ve been around Dynamics NAV, you’ve probably added a new user or two (or hundreds) in the system. It’s so simple, you could probably do it in your sleep.

So why do we need an article for this?! Page hits? Not exactly, but we appreciate the page hits too. 🙂

If you haven’t yet tried to add a new user in Project “Madeira” with Office 365, prepare for a “Who moved my cheese?!” moment.

When you click the “New” action in the ribbon on the Users list page, you will be greeted with the following error message:

You cannot create users manually. You must ask your administrator to create users in the Office portal, and then you can get them for Azure.
“You cannot create users manually. You must ask your administrator to create users in the Office portal, and then you can get them for Azure.”

Not sure what to do next? You’ve come to the right place for help! Keep reading for a step-by-step walkthrough and you’ll be swimming in a sea of new Madeira users in no time at all.

Continue reading “Adding New Users to Project “Madeira” Preview with O365″