Houston Neal, at Software Advice, asked me to blog about the differences between Navision and Great Plains accounting software, or, as they are currently known, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and GP. Houston has done a great job of describing the different Microsoft ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning – an accounting system on steroids – i.e. including purchasing, manufacturing and distribution etc.) packages, so I will just give you my rule of thumb.
When I was with a company selling Great Plains, we talked about it being cheaper because the functionality came out of the box. You didn’t have to pay for a lot of customization, either during the initial implementation or later, during upgrades. When I was with a company selling Navision, we talked about flexibility, how easy and cheaply the software could be customized to the individual needs of the customer
My take on this issue is that if Great Plains fits you out of the box, it’s a better package. If customization is needed, then Navision is the better pick.
Having said that, I think that both packages would work well for a wide variety of companies. If that is the situation with you, then I recommend taking a close look at the consulting firms selling you the package. A skilled, experienced consultant can make even a limited software package look good, while a bad one can ruin good software.
If you have looked at both packages are still unsure, try what we used to call a Boardroom Pilot. Get a sample batch of different transactions and invite the vendors in to enter those transactions into their systems. That will give you a side by side comparison of the software.