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Microsoft NAV Software Review

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NAV Best Fit & Alternative ERP Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics ERP Sweet Spot

Short list Dynamics NAV when:

  • Looking for a good entry level supply chain and distribution based ERP system
  • Seeking a complete ERP suite solution – with many base modules included
  • Looking to modify an off the shelf solution to accommodate unique feature sets or business processes
  • Looking for specific industry versions – and willing to use a partner vertical market solution
  • Seeking discrete manufacturing functionality
  • Seeking a combination of ERP and service management for after the sale support
  • Looking for international features and multi-language support for global organizations
  • Looking for localized taxing and compliance, particularly with European regulatory requirements

Alternative ERP Software Solutions

ERP buyers may be best advised to consider alternative ERP software products when:

  • You seek a cloud or Software as a Service ERP system
  • You are a large enterprise organization
  • You are a small business with unique requirements, but without IT resources or budget to accommodate software customizations and the continued maintenance
  • Your organization requires a native CRM within the ERP system
  • You require social media and Enterprise 2.0 technology within the ERP software
  • You require process-based manufacturing functionality

Concluding Remarks

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a complete ERP suite for the SMB market that incorporates broad base functionality to accommodate traditional but expansive back office business processes. Dynamics NAV ERP software is often considered a graduate application for companies that have outgrown their initial accounting system.

Microsoft NAV combines financial, distribution and manufacturing capabilities, along with an available integrated and robust customer relationship management (CRM) application. The system also offers a Service Management module that handles contract pricing, warranties and resource allocation.

As a mature ERP system with a strong partner channel, Dynamics NAV has been extended to fit many types of businesses and vertical markets. Existing MS Partner customizations now give Dynamics NAV the capability to support dozens of industries with vertical ERP solutions, such as 3PL and distribution, manufacturing, construction, professional services, leasing/rental, heavy equipment manufacturing, ETO and project management.

However, orchestrating ERP software components from multiple vendors incurs risk. To mitigate this risk, ERP buyers must assess the business partners for reliability, support and longevity and assess their add-on solutions for fit, performance, integrity and manageability. The entire mix must then be collectively reviewed.

Similarly, ERP buyers are also advised to investigate Dynamics NAV longevity by inquiring about the product roadmap and future support of NAV. For example, will Microsoft NAV continue to attract the same levels of R&D in the future or is it possible that Microsoft may shift higher proportions of R&D away from some ERP products (i.e. NAV) to other products (i.e. Dynamics AX)?

While NAV excels in ease of use, it would be a mistake for most customers to self-implement the ERP system. The rich functionality, inherit flexibility, numerous technical tools, third party products and many system nuances require trained and dedicated experts to manage implementation risk, achieve reasonable time to value and in the end deliver an ERP system that achieves slated objectives. The best case result of self implementation is likely under-utilizing the ERP system (and failing to maximize your software investment) while the worse case is a prolonged trial and error implementation that ultimately leads to deployment failure.

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