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What is the opinion of Microsoft NAV as an ERP solution.

Susan Montgomery's Profile

Microsoft NAV reviewsMy company (manufacturing, multiple legal entities, foreign currencies) needs to change ERP systems to a post-COBOL system.  We have considered SAP, but that seems to be overkill.  Does anyone have an opinion on Microsoft Dynamics NAV?  I'd like to hear likes and dislikes.  Thanks!


Topic Expert
Lee Andrews
Title: P/T CFO, Business Consultant
Company: Pacific Bag, Inc./Other Clients
(P/T CFO, Business Consultant, Pacific Bag, Inc./Other Clients) |

My immediate response -- avoid it like the plague.

To be more constructive, I have experienced this software at one client location over several years. They installed v 5.0 SP1 years before I arrived (and before MSFT acquired it; why they bought it I'll never know). I believe the product was first written in Denmark. I can't wait to change the software. Unfortunately after so many years it is highly integrated into the operations with long time employees/management not knowing there are so many better alternatives. I need to change many minds and find a new software budget.

It is hard to use -- especially to get data out. Data in? So so. Data out as you want it? -- very difficult. For accounting purposes it is whatever word is the exact opposite of intuitive. We bought the Data Warehouse add-on option in the hope we could extract data more easily. Waste of money -- nobody can use it. We are still data dumping and using Excel pivot tables to analyze 50,000 lines of data. Some NAV reports can go to Excel, some cannot. No logic or consistency. We often spend $200 an hour on support consultants just to use our own software effectively on projects.

I recently put out an ad for an accountant hire, and asked if anyone had used NAV -- dozens of replies to the ad, but not one reponse with that experience. I asked my networking CFO colleaugues. None of them had even heard of it.

In summary -- do not consider NAV. If you want to discuss in more depth, please email me. We can then chat by phone. Obviously something I feel very strongly about after years of grief.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Susan, if you haven't already, you should definitely get your free copy of Proformative's...
"ERP Selection & Implementation Guide"

It covers Microsoft NAV and much more. I think you'd get a lot out of it.

Also, take a look at this free webinar with CPE here at Proformative titled,

"From Theory to Practice: Guiding Principles for Effective Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)"


Best... Sarah

Liz Armstrong
Title: Controller, consulting
Company: Consulting
(Controller, consulting, Consulting) |

I implemented Microsoft NAV (at the time Navision) in 2000 and didn't have any issues with the software even though we did a fair amount of customization to accommodate our job costing/revenue recognition process. It handled our multi-currency and consolidation needs no problem (which is one of the reasons we picked NAV). Most recently, my client was looking to upgrade from Quickbooks to NAV, Netsuite or Intacct. Since I hadn't seen the new version of NAV for some time (left the last company in 2005), I was actually impressed with all the changes they have made. My client ended picking a cloud solution for its revenue recognition abilities. My suggestion is that you scope out your core processes and business requirements and then find out how each system would handle these requirements.

Topic Expert
Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

It's not clear what type of manufacturing your company does: discrete/ assembly, process; make to stock/make to order; any engineering processes?
Do you own all your manufacturing plants or are some contract manufacturing sites? Do you sell any components intercompany? Do you need a multi-lingual interface/product and BOM definitions? Etc, etc>

When you talk about SAP, which of their software products did you consider? I can imagine that R/3 may be too large to take on. But SAP Business One or Business By Design may be a consideration.
If you have a list of key requirements and background information that describes what you need to do and how you need to do it (business model), you can then start qualifying potential vendors.

Apart from Netsuite/Rootstock above, there are other solutions like PLEX, EPICOR, JD Edwards, Exact,INFOR that may fit.

I am a former manufacturing finance leader who now helps clients choose and use business software, so my perspective tends to follow this line: Define your needs before you look at vendors-an Ounce of Selection is Worth a Pound of Implementation:)

Best regards
Len Green

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Consulting CFO and Business Operations A..
Company: Growth Accelerator
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor, Growth Accelerator) |


We did a NAV solution in 06, and used it through 2010 (acquisition).

It was stable and light, so remote users had a pretty easy time with it. For our European sub it was great as it is designed well for that.

However, the need to hire consultants to tweak anything was a pain and the lack of good consultants (we used a MSFT certified developer who really failed horribly) meant that getting it to work as well as it could was impossible.

Our choice was before Intacct and NS/1world were available. Intaact was actually honest enough to tell us that they couldn't meet our design kudos to them for that.

At this point I would strongly push toward NS or Intaact (despite my negative exp with NS long ago, I get from others that they have fixed most of their issues). I would also go with a cloud/hosted solution...which for us wasn't available.


Robert Rochester
Title: VP & CFO
Company: Edcor Data Services LLC
(VP & CFO, Edcor Data Services LLC) |

We are in a service business and we installed MS NAV when it was Navision (circa 2000). It works fairly well for us, although we too paid for a lot of customization post implementation to accommodate our cost accounting requirements. Any data we need is easily extracted into Excel for further manipulation. We use Excel a lot because the user generated report writing capabilities in NAV requires some training - which is a skill set no one on my current staff has. My only beef with NAV is the cost of the annual maintenance and the fact that you must pay to add new capabilities after the initial installation. NAV has a fair amount of after market support, although it is best suited for a company that needs more than just Quickbooks, but mid-to-large companies would likely find it inadequate on the reporting end.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

This is about Navision, not Dynamics.

First of all, it isn't Quickbooks, and agreed the canned reports are lacking. But it is extremely powerful if you know how to use it, and can either use Excel or Crystal Reports and develop your own financial/managerial reports.

The system is a little different in that it works as a "pure" accounting system, in other words you need to remember what the transaction should be (debit or credit and place the credit sign where appropriate).

As for learning, 90% of the systems main modules, A/R, A/P, G/L are so similar that when you learn one, you've essentially learned them all.

There are also some glaring issues (like which software doesn't have them), but since Navision is now a "dead" product, going into them is moot.

Topic Expert
Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

When you refer to Navision as a dead product, do you mean Microsoft is going to sunset it (retire it)? If so, do you know if there is any official statement on that?
Best regards

Robert Rochester
Title: VP & CFO
Company: Edcor Data Services LLC
(VP & CFO, Edcor Data Services LLC) |


I recently went to a NAV user group meeting and listened to the NAV Sales Team promote the latest release of NAV. They also claimed that they partner with over 200 vendors that sell applications that work with NAV. They spent time hawking a product called "Jet Reports" that they say was just developed by one of these "partners". They were also boasting that they continue to add more "partner" vendors all the time.

Any claims made by a Sales guy, I usually take with a grain of salt. But it seems to me that if NAV was a "dead" product, they would not be investing in new releases of it, nor would they be able to attract new "partners" to write more NAV applications. Go figure.

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

My company has experience with Dynamics - but not specifically with Navision.

Since there is a good bit of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) in this thread I'll add my two bits. Anything that calls Navision a dead product is FUD - given that Microsoft has a five year published road map for this product.

The product was designed more on the European / Enterprise model than the standard mid market US model. By this I mean there was an emphasis on the tools part of the product over functionality at times.

Microsoft has spent a good bit of time making sure the functionality has grown so there is more out of the box and less required customization. However, given its history (similar to Oracle or SAP or other enterprise products) many of the providers of NAV are all about the customization. I would say the customization requirement is really based on your choice of partner - if you find a partner that knows your industry already and already knows how to support your industry - if you find a partner focused on repeatable processes rather than every site as unique - you would find a solution less focused on customization.

The access to data issue is really a deployment issue. Any system that stores data in a relational database (Microsoft SQL Server here) has many tools available to get at the data. Some are easier than others. For example there are a number of print to Excel reports in Navision - reports that add the ODBC connection - basically every time you open the worksheet all of your updated data is there.

A final point - NAV is a light footprint and Cloud ready application. Microsoft has announced the availability of NAV on Azure this year - and it already has solid functionality available as a cloud application (platform access, appropriate application tiers, etc).

The point about reviewing your requirements and comparing them to the available applications is always the best bet. Terminology, technology, and business models change - but how we evaluate the right application for each company really doesn't.

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