The Art and Science of ERP Selection
When we team with our mid-market manufacturing clients, the ERP selection team often considers ERP systems that are part of the Microsoft Dynamics product suite.
The Microsoft ERP product family includes Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV and AX. We have extensive experience with the entire suite – but this post shines the spotlight on both Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) and Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) as these systems are a good fit for the mid-market sector.
What we’ve found across many projects is that choosing between Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics GP is an art, not a science. Much depends on the specific ERP requirements of the manufacturing organization.
Comparing Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics GP
To begin the ERP comparison, it’s important to note that Microsoft Dynamics NAV is customizable for those companies looking to build industry-specific functionality. While Microsoft Dynamics GP is not as robust for personalizing, many clients have found it faster to implement. Plus it offers many add-ons for and expanded feature set.
Other stand-out considerations include the following;
- Note that both solutions are available with multi-currency and multi-language and multi-UOM but only Microsoft Dynamics NAV has the ability to operate in a truly international environment that requires localization.
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV offers Dimensions financial management tracking and reporting, which among other things allows the customer to manage a simpler chart of accounts. Note that Microsoft Dynamics AX also offers this functionality.
- Microsoft Dynamics GP offers a strong integration toolset, while Microsoft Dynamics NAV integrates using web services.
- Microsoft Dynamics GP has payroll integrated whereas Microsoft Dynamics NAV uses a third party solution.
So how do these two systems compare when it comes to cost?
Note that excluding the third-party payroll required by Microsoft Dynamics NAV, pricing between the two solutions are identical.
User Interface Considerations
The look and feel of an ERP system is critical to ease of use, adoption by those using the system, training and general “usability.”
From a user interface perspective, both systems have a Microsoft look and feel familiar to many business users. Those users of Microsoft Dynamics NAV have significantly more options to personalize their screens as compared to their Microsoft Dynamics GP counterparts.
Again, note that many routines and functions are quite familiar. For instance, data entry in Microsoft Dynamics NAV is like entering data in Excel.
Both solutions work well in a discrete manufacturing environment, but it’s our experience that Microsoft Dynamics NAV is better in a job shop.
For financial reporting, GP uses Management Report (SQL based) with Jet Express; NAV uses Jet, an Excel-based reporting solution.
Which Dynamics Product is the Best Fit?
When comparing options within the Microsoft ERP product suite, the differences outlined above just skim the surface.
As with all ERP selection projects, the key factor to consider is the best fit for the manufacturing organization.
Your best option is to partner with our team of independent ERP consultants to leverage the experience they have with the Microsoft ERP product suite.