What is Microsoft Navision?


Business Central

Table of Contents

By Mark Chinsky

What is Microsoft Dynamics NAV? Part I


Navision’s name has changed to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

“What’s Navision?”  This is a pretty basic question that we probably haven’t answered before.  There are a few names this solution has had over the years based on time frame and ownership.  It originally was called Navision.  Later it was called Navision Attain.  Microsoft then acquired the company in 2001 and renamed it Microsoft Business Solutions Navision.

Later, as Microsoft Business Solutions found they had 4 ERP solutions: Navision, Axapta, Solomon and Great Plains, they decided to merge the brand and now call the solutions Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics SL and Microsoft Dynamics GP respectively.

Navision (Dynamics NAV) is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Solution designed for small to mid-sized businesses to automated the majority of their transactions from CRM (Customer Relationship Management), to Quoting, Ordering, producing, shipping and Invoicing  on the sales side, to Purchasing, Receiving, Paying and Inventorying on the supply side.

This all funnels down into Financial modules such as General Ledger, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable.


The Dyanmics NAV listing on Wikipedia used my often quoted description of Navision as an “ERSP System Construction Set”.  I used this term because although Microsoft Dynamics NAV out of the box includes many features and functions and is ready to operate out of the box, it’s real strength lies in its underlying design and philosophy.  That is that companies don’t want to ‘pretzel fit’ to the way a software designer wrote an ERP or accounting system, but rather want to tailor the solution to their unique business requirements.

Some vendors who can’t do this easily like using the term ‘best practices’ but for many, that really means, you should adapt to the software and not the other way around.  Yet in the end, what differentiates one company from another?  The way they do business.  If you can’t do it in a unique and better way, you won’t be the industry leader.  At best you can only be ‘mediocre.’

Rapid access to information

One of Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s differentiators is the use of Sum Index Flow Technology or SIFT for short.  This allows the solution to avoid the programming needed to keep ‘buckets’ up to date via posting processes and ensure that all summarized numbers on screens and reports absolutely tie out to the underlying details.

So for example, if you are on a Customer Card and see a current open invoice account balance, that number is real time calculated by summing up all the invoices on file that aren’t paid yet.  The SIFT technology does this in such a way that it causes no performance hit with the application.

This also means that on any of these fields, you can Navigate to all related information in the system and thus where the original “Navision” name came from.

For insight into the History of Navision (Dynamics NAV) Check out this link.

Mark Chinsky

Mark Chinsky

Partner, Clients First Business Solutions New Jersey

Mark Chinsky is a highly skilled and highly passionate ERP consultant and partner at Clients First. With over 30 years’ experience working with a wide range of ERP solutions, he’s on a mission to help businesses understand the software selection process and how ERP software can benefit them. If you’re looking for trustworthy and transparent content on software implementation, technology deployment strategy, and business process improvement for distribution, manufacturing, and professional services businesses, Mark is your guy.