Is Microsoft Dynamics AX Becoming the Betamax of the ERP World to NAV's VHS?

May 16 2012

I have been pondering the co-existence of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and AX in the UK market for some time, and the topic has been enthusiastically debated among colleagues and friends in the Dynamics channel.  But recent developments in competitive situations have led me to think more carefully about what is happening in the Dynamics ERP marketplace in the UK and how it mirrors a memorable but dated technology battle.

About Sam Vin-Dycan

A veteran Dynamics ERP professional, Sam Van-Dycan prides himself on deploying solutions that improving efficiency, realize value, and spread joy.  Preferring a life of solitude and anonymity, Mr. Van-Dycan writes prolifically about the value of ERP solutions and the shifting Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem as it effects both software customers and implementers, though it's usually in his diary. 

With more encouragement, we aim to elicit more regular contributions to the public arena.

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terrycoburn's picture

Clearly your getting more and more concerned by microsofts continued investment in AX at a much higher level than Nav. I think you will find that AX is the DVD to Nav VHS ;-)

duio's picture

My experience thus far in our implementation of ERP into our industry (food manufacturing) has been that SAP was "a hammer in hand to do the job of a screwdriver". Once we retooled our ERP project to migrate to AX, it is now quite an elegent effort to bring our company from a 30+ year old home-grown telnet-based, green-screen system to a current-day implementation. However, I do find a rather scarce supply of experts in AX 2012 since it seems to be quite different than AX 2009... but this will change with time. I do not have any experience in NAV, so I could not speak to the point of comparing AX to NAV. My $0.02 worth. Vincent Saul Central San Joaquin Valley, California, USA

cn's picture

While logically the comparison makes sense, it is not the same situation. The choice between Betamax and VHS was settled by the market between 2 competing companies. In our case both "Betamax" and "VHS" are owned by MS and therefore the decision will probably not be (entirely) market driven. Currently, based on anecdotal evidence, MS PAMs will recommend AX instead of NAV to anyone with more than 10 users and a warehouse bigger than a bedroom. Now that can be because of an MS bias towards AX or simply as a hand given to a product that is catching up to NAV. Everyone has a theory about why that is. As to terrycoburn: AX needs more investment to catch up to the breadth and depth of functionality that NAV already has. Also it will take even longer to develop something like the current NAV network of partners and resources which I think is the biggest asset that NAV has. Companies are looking for solutions to their problems not for products (not matter how cool they are - well with the exception of the Iphone and Ipad :-) ). So with the exception of tinkerers, people will simply buy a hole in the ground instead of a shovel to dig it themselves. It is my firm belief that people would still be coding in COBOL and running As400 systems if it gave them the functionality and performance they needed. And for our collective future: in their drive to simplify things MS will probably merge products eventually, but worse, is already merging partners that will soon lead to some big consulting companies that will either be swallowed by MS or become their satellites. Good for the companies that make it there but then again ... how will that be different from the SAP and Oracle of today?

jpage41's picture

Completely disagree with your view here. Both solutions will eventually pass away as we become more focused on capabilities & workloads. AX and NAV features are functions will be provided in some part in a hybrid deployment model. Start thinking services, not products. There is significant traction in Dynamics AX 2012 that is clearly positioned in a different market segment to NAV 2009 and NAV 2013. Does that mean either product is 'end of life', no, just addressing different scales of businesses. Both will co-exist for now until Dynamics ERP is finally a reality. Remember Project Green anyone!

Dixiecrat's picture

Wow, as I was reading this, I had to do a double take to make sure I did not write the above comment jpage41! Well said, and I completely agree with you. We should connect and talk!

globesoftware's picture

I'm sure you've seen the Metro Dynamics demo from Convergence 2012. My prediction - the current ERP suites will each have an R2 and maybe one more major release - (primarily for Windows8 and SQL2012 R2 support) and then they are history. Convergence 2013 will demo this Metro Dynamics again and I'd expect a full product by Convergence 2014 making this VHS vs Betamax argument pointless. No going back. Steve.

Psepski's picture

If you love NAV, you have to participate in