Navision from PC-Plus to Business Central

You may have noticed that the future name of Dynamics NAV/Dynamics 365 “Tenerife” is going to be Dynamics 365 Business Central. But what does it really matter?

In “Navision’s” 34-year history, then Navision was only (a part of) the name for 12 years. From 1994 to 2006. In some countries (like Denmark, Germany and the US) only from 1998 to 2006. Just as long as it has been called Dynamics NAV. The name has changed many times since 1984. For those of you, who haven't been around since the start, then here is a list of all the different names.


The first "Navision" was released in 1984. PC-Plus was the name, symbolizing an accounting system (plus = calculating) for personal computers. PC-Plus was only a single user system for DOS, but the overall design would be clearly recognized even today, by both users and developers.


In 1987 when PC&C released a multi-user/LAN version of PC-Plus, it was named NAVIGATOR. It was distributed by IBM to Danish BusinessCenter Partners and was generally known as IBM-NAVIGATOR. The brand name Navigator was used in Denmark, but it was also used by many other software packages (i.e. Netscape Navigator) and a protected brand in many countries. So it would not be possible to used internationally.

Navision, Fjördiner and Avista

In 1990, after the release of Navision version 3.0, local distributor's are started in Germany and Iceland. In Germany they use the name (Navigator) as in Denmark, but in Iceland it is branded as Fjördiner. Not long after offices opens in Spain and the United Kingdom. Here the name Navision was used for the first time.

When expansion into the US begins in 1994, they didn’t name it Navision, but instead choose to brand it as AVISTA. According to their general manager in the US, Rene Stockner, they didn’t like Navision as it sounded negative (the NA sound). AVISTA on the other hand sounded happier and like a fiesta.


Navision Financials

In 1994 the first version of Navision for Microsoft Windows was released. Here they added Financials to the name, to differentiate it from the DOS version, which continued to be sold and maintained for some years. Around the same time the company name PC&C, was changed to Navision Software.
The different local brand names stayed around until the release of Navision Financials 2.0 in 1998.

Navision Solutions

When Navision releases their first manufacturing module in 2000 it is sold as a separate solution, build on top of Financials and is branded Navision Manufacturing. They do the same when they release Navision Advanced Distribution. So suddenly Navision was no longer one product, but different products. To reflect this, when version 3 was released, they introduced another new name Navision Solutions, to be the common name for different versions of Navision.

Navision Attain

After the merger with Damgaard Data in 2000 Navision Software now becomes NavisionDamgaard. A name that doesn’t stay around for long. Already in 2001 they remove Damgaard from the name. Now the company is just called Navision. And it is decided that Damgaard’s other products are also to be called Navision. Axapta becomes Navision Axapta and Navision Solutions becomes Navision Attain. In fact this happened before Navision Solutions was released in most countries. 3.01 carried the new name.

Microsoft Business Solutions-Navision

Attain only stays around for 2 years. When Microsoft acquires Navision in 2002, it becomes part of the Business Solutions division. Navision Attain 3.60 was the first version to get the new name Microsoft Business Solutions-Navision, at least in documentation/marketing. 3.70 was the first version where the product was renamed.

Project Green

Microsoft started talking about 'Project Green' in 2003. This was an initiative to merge the platforms of all their Business Solutions products: Navision, Axapta, Great Plains and Solomon into one single system.

'Project Green' is a multi-year Investment from Microsoft Business Solutions aimed at delivering the next generation business application on the next generation of the Windows operating system code-name 'Longhorn'. Project Green is crucial to the strategic goal of Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) to become the industry leader in the global business application market by 2011. 'Project Green' is about delivering a breakthrough in business applications based on a ground-up redesign of the architecture and application functionality.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

In 2005 Microsoft announced that ‘Project Green’ would be named Microsoft Dynamics and that Navision from 2006 would become Dynamics NAV.

Microsoft officially stopped talking about ‘Project Green’ as a concept in 2007, as it had damaged sales a lot. Customers were waiting for the new merged product to come into the market.

Looking at the different versions of Dynamics today, then it’s clear that the work continued internally. Without ‘Project Green’ then things would have looked a lot different today.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials, Business Edition

The first product name for the SAAS offering of Dynamics NAV 2017, was released in October 2016. It was a version with only a subset of the full NAV functionality.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials, Business Edition was its first name. Business Edition as opposed to the Enterprise Edition, where Dynamics AX now were called Dynamics 365 for Operations, Enterprise Edition. The names led to great confusing in the channel and among potential customers. Enterprise customers couldn't understand that there were no "Financials" application for them.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition

The name was changed again in 2017 to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition, just as AX got the same name, just Enterprise Edition.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ‘Tenerife’

In October last year Microsoft announced 'Tenerife' to be released in the Spring of 2018 for the SAAS segment. The spring version of Dynamics NAV 2018 (R2) would be the last version using the Dynamics NAV name.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

This all leads us up till now. We now know that going forward ‘Tenerife’ (and implicit NAV) is going to be named Dynamics 365 Business Central. For now it’s only going to be the SAAS version, the on-premise version will remain Dynamics NAV 2018 until the next major version. Then the name will the same. If Microsoft will follow the same release patterns, then this could be expected to happen in Q4 2018.

What does it actually mean? Do I like the new name?

I must admit that I initially didn’t like. But the previous Dynamics 365 name “Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Business Edition” simply didn’t work either. Dynamics 365 Business Central is way better when it comes to that. 

And although I would have preferred that they just renamed it something like Dynamics 365 NAV, then I do understand why this name would not work for Microsoft. If we look at all the Microsoft brand names, Office, SharePoint, PowerPoint, Word, Dynamics etc., then neither Navision or NAV follows the same naming patterns. Business Central on the other hand does follow the same patterns.

One of the problems with the Business Edition vs. Enterprise Edition, was that it wasn’t really clear that it was very different systems. The names were too much alike and caused confusions to both customers and partners.

I believe that the new names will make Microsoft’s branding a little clearer to the customers. If you buy D365 Business Central, then what you get is really a Navision.

What is going to happen here on DUG?

Here on DUG, then I expect that the current Dynamics NAV user group names will stay as-is for some time. Then gradually it will change to become a NAV/Business Central user group. The challenge is going be how to make it clear for both NAV and Business Central users and professionals that nothing really has changed. It’s going to be business as usual.


But right now, then we are still waiting for the official announcement of the name change and more details about the new road ahead. That’s going to happen March 21st 10AM CET on the virtual event Microsoft Business Forward.

Update (3.13.2018 5.05PM CET): It's official. Microsoft has just posted a blog post announcing Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Read more/sources:
History of Dynamics NAV/Navision:
Overview of the different versions:

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