What does NAV has that CRM has not?
Dynamics Navision’s CRM module has a few things which Dynamics CRM does not have. As a CRM consultant I will also suggested ways in which you can fill these gaps in CRM.
Microsoft Dynamics Navision has something which is called a “profile questionnaire”. This questionnaire can be made in NAV and printed out afterwards, so you can use them to question your contacts. This is a tool which is not available in CRM. The only way to cover something like this, is by making a custom entity which contains the fields covered in the questionnaire.
Statistics is one of the most powerful tools in Navision, it can truly help you understand your business, based on a quantifiable measure. This tool is not available in Dynamics CRM. But you can use roll up fields (feature available since CRM 2015) to cover this gap in CRM. To know more about roll up fields, you can check out the two blogposts I wrote earlier; Roll up fields in Dynamics CRM2015 – Part One and Roll up fields in Dynamics CRM2015 – Part Two.
What about opportunity, quote and order management?
Sales Cycle Stages VS Business Process Flow
At the end of the day, sales and revenue is what it is all about. To help the sales person, Dynamics NAV uses ales cycle stages. These stages help a salesperson in knowing where to go and what to do to close a deal. Moreover it signifies when a quote is or is not required, making sure the salesperson does not forget to create important documents like these. Moreover these sales cycle stages are connected to a probability calculation, increasing the chances of success (%) by each new cycle stage.
These sales cycle stages are not in Dynamics CRM, but can be compared to business process flows. Whereas Navision has a more table kind of look, CRM has a more visual (and intuitive) look and feel. CRM does not have a probability calculation, but this is manageable trough calculated fields (since CRM 2015) and workflows. Moreover CRM has branched workflows (since 2015) which can guide a salesperson through another workflow based e.g. on the type of customer.
A sales cycle stage or a business process flow can guide the salesperson, but it is an opportunity where this cycle stage or process flow starts. Opportunities in Navision and CRM are quite the same and the small differences are not worth discussing. One of the interesting points which do stand out, is the fact that Navision can make automatic to do’s for an opportunity.
Quotes and orders
As with opportunities, quotes and orders are quite similar in both programs. But as Dynamics Navision is an ERP package, there is more behind it than in Dynamics CRM. When thinking about the other business process flows which take place in a company, Dynamics Navision can offer an added value through statistics, credit notes, warehouse transfers, … .
Therefore it is quite logical to process orders in Navision, which will be used as your back office. Whereas CRM can be used to create quotes/orders by the sales persons in the front office. A connector can be used to synchronize the quotes/orders from CRM to NAV. This could be the standard Dynamics connector, a Scribe connector or a custom connector. For many companies these days this is the way they work.
Dynamics Navision’s CRM module and Dynamics CRM have a lot of similarities. But there are a few differences between both software programs at this moment.
- One of the biggest differences is reporting through statistics in NAV (and other reporting tools), this covers contacts, opportunities, … and offers a powerful way to measure your success. NAV definitely wins this from CRM. But CRM is gaining ground by implementing roll up and calculated fields. Combined with custom reports it offers a strong reporting alternative.
- Another point of difference is user interface and navigation fluidity. The eye always wants something and Dynamics CRM offers it more than Dynamics NAV. It should be noted that I am a bit biased as a CRM consultant, but I have tried to be as neutral as possible.
- Workflows, workflows, workflows. There, I said it, workflows has not been mentioned earlier in this post, but they do add a powerful, out of the box, feature to Dynamics CRM. But workflows have been on the Navision road map for a while. So they will probably be added in the future.
- The mobile application has not been discussed. CRM has been investing more and more in a user friendly app which can support your sales force in creating quotes and orders on the go. Navision did not have the need for creating apps in the past, as it was most used in a web interface by the sales back office. Lately Navision is closing the gap and has put out a nice app.
As you might have noticed from both posts, Dynamics CRM and the CRM module in Dynamics NAV are closing ground on each other, having more and more mutual features. What the future will bring is up for guessing and only Microsoft itself has the answer.
Editoral note; I received some great feedback from Scott Guthrie, who gave me in a Linkedin discussion an even better conclusion for this blogpost. Thank you Scott!
If you have NAV, you should look seriously at using the CRM module in NAV before selecting Dynamics CRM. Because it is a full ERP system, NAV is going to be the better choice if you are interested in supporting existing customers because it integrates information on quotes, sales orders, invoices, shipments, vendors and purchase orders with the relationship management process. While Dynamics CRM has some quotation, sales order, invoice, and service management functions, NAV does these things in a vastly superior way.
If your focus is primarily on customer acquisition and marketing, Dynamics CRM is a better choice, particularly if you consider the add-ons available for campaign management and social marketing. Dynamics CRM does a particularly good job at recording information about non-financial interactions with prospects and customers.
Both NAV and Dynamics CRM have flexible architectures that allows for extension and enhancement, but customizing NAV generally requires and special licensing and utilizing the skills of a .NET developer. Customizing Dynamics CRM is more approachable and easier for a non-programmer to do. This makes it a better solution for a sales organization that wants to be agile in its approach to dealing with prospects and customers without being dependent on an IT department to implement necessary customizations.