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Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Business Central Upgrade: A Comprehensive FAQ Guide

July 9, 2024

Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Business Central is a crucial step towards harnessing the power of modern ERP systems. As businesses contemplate this transition, several common questions arise regarding the costs, process, and benefits. This blog aims to demystify these aspects, providing clarity and guidance for a smooth and informed upgrade journey. 

Q1 – What Distinguishes Dynamics NAV from Business Central? 

Microsoft Dynamics NAV, the predecessor of Business Central, has been officially retired, with support for Dynamics NAV 2018 ending on January 10, 2023. To ensure continued support, bug fixes, and access to new features, customers must stay updated with the latest versions. 

Deployment Options: On-Premise or Cloud 

Customers transitioning from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Business Central have two deployment options. They can choose an on-premise setup, installing the system on their local office servers, or opt for a cloud migration, where Microsoft handles the infrastructure, updates, and ensures system uptime. The cloud option offers a seamless experience, as Microsoft takes care of all technical maintenance and updates. 

Q2 – What Are the Consequences of Not Upgrading to Business Central? 

Choosing not to upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central as an organization can lead to several challenges:

1. Obsolete Technology:

Remaining on an older system means missing out on the latest features, security enhancements, and performance improvements provided by Business Central. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018, the last version of NAV, finally reached the end of its Mainstream Support Phase on 10 January 2023. If you are using NAV for your company, you should know that Microsoft no longer provides mainstream support for any version of Dynamics NAV

2. Operational Inefficiencies:

Legacy systems often lack streamlined processes, automation, and integration capabilities. Dynamics 365 Business Central offers modern tools for efficient financial management, inventory control, and reporting.

3. Limited Scalability:

As your organization grows, legacy systems may struggle to handle increased data volume and user load. Business Central is built for scalability to support your growth.

4. Increased Compliance Risks:

Compliance requirements change over time. Staying on an older system could expose your organization to legal or regulatory risks. 

Q3 – Why Should Our Organization Upgrade to Business Central? 

Upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers several compelling advantages: 

1. Continuous Touchless Updates: 

Microsoft has introduced continuous touchless updates for Business Central, providing new features and functionalities without requiring customers to undertake and budget for large upgrades every few years. This means that your next major upgrade will be your last, as future updates will be automatically rolled out with minimal supervision. 

2. Seamless Future Updates: 

Once you switch to the latest platform, updates will be implemented automatically, like how Microsoft Office users transitioned to Office 365. This ensures your system remains current and efficient without the hassle of manual updates. 

3. On-Premise Flexibility: 

For customers who prefer to stay on-premise, Business Central still offers the ability to deploy periodic updates easily with assistance from software vendors, ensuring your system remains up-to-date and secure. 

Q4 – Will Our Custom Functionality Developed by a Previous Vendor Be Included in the Upgrade? 

Yes, any customization developed in Dynamics NAV can be migrated to Business Central in the following ways: 

  1. Managed as part of the standard OOB functionalities of Business Central 
  2. Custom objects of Dynamics NAV (C/AL) are moved to Business Central (AL). 
  3. Extensions: Extensions allow customer-specific changes to be made without altering the main application. This approach ensures that future updates from Microsoft can be applied automatically while preserving your customizations. This eliminates the need for a lengthy upgrade process and reduces the need for intervention from application developers. 

Q5 – Has the User Interface or Experience Changed with Business Central? 

Yes, the user interface and experience have seen significant changes with Business Central. 

1. Modern (Web) Client: 

Business Central introduces the Modern (Web) Client, replacing the desktop client (discontinued after version 14). The new client is accessible via any browser and on mobile and tablet devices, providing greater flexibility and accessibility. 

2. Familiar Menu Arrangements: 

Despite these changes, much of the menu arrangements, shortcuts, and navigation remain the same, with added productivity enhancements to improve user experience. 

Q6 – Are There Any Changes to the Application’s Back-End? Can Our Team Still Make Minor Enhancements to Reports and the Interface? 

Yes, there have been changes to the application’s back-end with Business Central. 

1. New Tools and Applications: 

Business Central now utilizes a new set of tools and applications. Customizations and enhancements are performed in Visual Studio, providing a robust development environment for your technical team. 

2. Report Customization: 

Report layouts can be easily customized internally using Microsoft SQL Report Builder, which is available for free. This allows your team to tailor reports to meet specific business needs without significant external assistance. 

3. User Personalization: 

All users can personalize their interface, including showing or hiding fields to enhance their productivity. This ensures that each user can optimize their workspace according to their preferences and job requirements. 

Q7 – Will Our License Require an Update When We Migrate to Business Central? 

Yes, Microsoft has updated the licensing model for Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

1. Named User Licensing:

With Dynamics 365 Business Central (whether on-premises or on-cloud), licensing is now based on named users rather than concurrent users. Each user requires a named user license to access the system. 

2. Annual Enhancement Payments:
Customers must maintain current annual enhancement payments to convert their licenses to run the new versions of Business Central. There is no additional charge for updating the license, as a conversion formula is used to calculate the number of Full and Team Member users. 

Q8 – How Dynamics 365 future updates will be implemented? 

Future updates for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are managed as follows: 

1. Major Updates: 

Major updates are released twice a year, typically in April and October by Microsoft. These updates introduce significant new features and improvements to the system. 

2. Minor Updates: 

Minor updates are rolled out monthly, providing continuous enhancements and bug fixes to ensure system stability and performance. 

3. Cloud Customers: 

For customers using the cloud version of Business Central, these updates are applied automatically by Microsoft. This ensures that your system remains up to date with the latest features and security enhancements without manual intervention. 

4. On-Premise Customers: 

For customers with on-premises deployments, Techcronus updates the new versions to a TEST sandbox environment first. This allows your users to review and test the updates before selecting a suitable weekend for the update to production. This approach ensures minimal disruption and allows for thorough testing before deployment. 

Q9 – What is the timeframe for upgrading Dynamics NAV/Business Central? 

The time required for upgrading Dynamics NAV or Business Central can vary based on several factors: 

1. System Complexity:

The intricacy of your current system, including any customizations, configurations, and extensions, significantly affects the upgrade duration. A system with minimal customizations will upgrade more quickly than one with extensive modifications. 

2. Data Size:

The amount of data that needs to be migrated will impact the overall time needed for the upgrade. Larger data volumes require more processing time. 

3. System Integrations:

The number and complexity of integrations with other systems can influence the upgrade process. Some integrations may need to be re-engineered based on their architecture and technology. In some cases, these integrations can become separate projects within the main upgrade, requiring collaboration with third-party vendors. 

4. Upgrade Strategy:

An effective upgrade plan is essential. Partnering with an experienced Microsoft Dynamics Business Central upgrade specialist ensures a smoother and timely upgrade process. Premier Analytics has successfully managed numerous upgrades for clients with both complex, multi-country operations and simpler, single-entity setups. We have achieved 100% success in our upgrade projects over the past five years, including those in North America, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, APAC and other regions. 

Techcronus has experience of completing such Dynamics 365 upgrade projects within 2 to 6 months of timeframe in past.  

Q10 – Can we receive an evaluation of our upgrade before starting our planning and budgeting process?  

Techcronus provide complimentary assessments to all clients considering the transition from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Microsoft 365 Business Central. Please fill out this form with the information required for the assessment and we will submit a complete proposal specific to your upgrade requirement. https://forms.office.com/r/uF6vVUugZv 

Q11 – Do I need to involve a Microsoft partner for the upgrade? 

Involving a partner for your Dynamics NAV or Business Central upgrade is a requirement due to the complexity of the process. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central partners are continuously trained on the latest versions and have knowledge of the system, best practices, and upgrade processes. 

They understand the intricacies of customizations, data migration, and code adjustments and their experience ensures a smoother transition. 

Q12 – Is retraining necessary for existing NAV users?  

Certain level of training is generally necessary for existing users to adapt to the new modern client UI. The training focuses on helping them perform common tasks such as sorting, filtering, and searching. In most of the projects we have conducted, we have found that providing introductory and interface training is effective. 

Q13 – What steps can I take for fast and accurate upgrade?

Ensuring a successful and efficient upgrade for your Dynamics NAV or Business Central system requires careful planning and execution. Here are some actionable steps to achieve both success and speed:

1. Scheduled Downtime:

Plan for system downtime during the actual upgrade, avoiding periods of heavy financial reporting or audit windows. Ensure the availability of key staff during the upgrade process.

2. System Assessment:

Start by evaluating your current system, including its complexity, customizations, and integrations. Define clear objectives for the upgrade, identifying desired features or improvements.

3. Partner Collaboration:

Work with an experienced partner to streamline the process. Involve them in assessing your customizations, and they’ll guide you on necessary updates. Partners help mitigate risks and ensure a smooth transition.

4. Process Documentation:

Create detailed documentation for reference and ensure your team understands the new system.

5. User Training:

Prepare users for the new features and interface. Provide comprehensive training to help them achieve common tasks like sorting, filtering, and searching.

6. Change Management:

Communicate the upgrade plan to all stakeholders effectively and manage any resistance to change.

7. Post-Upgrade Monitoring:

Continuously monitor system performance after the upgrade and promptly address any issues. Ensure your users have the assistance they need during the transition.

8. Continuous Improvement:

Gather feedback from users, address any pain points, and optimize processes by leveraging new features.

Q14 – Understanding the Costs of Upgrading from Dynamics NAV to Business Central 

The expenses associated with transitioning from Dynamics NAV to Business Central can vary based on factors such as your organization’s size, level of customization, and chosen deployment model. Here’s a breakdown of the costs involved: 

Licensing Costs: 

  1. Subscription Model: If you opt for Business Central Online, you’ll incur monthly or annual subscription fees per user, depending on whether they require Essential or Premium features, as well as any additional apps/extensions.
  2. Perpetual License: For on-premises deployments, you can choose a perpetual license, involving an initial payment for the software license.

Upgrade Services: 

  1. Partner Fees: Engaging a partner for the upgrade incurs professional service fees covering planning, execution, and post-upgrade support.
  2. Customization Assessment: Partners evaluate your customizations and offer recommendations, potentially involving separate costs.

Infrastructure Costs: 

  1. Cloud Infrastructure: Business Central Online license includes Cloud server costs so there is no additional infrastructure cost component. 
  2. On-Premises Servers: For Business Central on-premises deployments, factor in expenses for server hardware, maintenance, and electricity.

Data Migration and Testing: 

  1. Data Migration Tools: If you’re migrating historical data, expect costs related to data transformation tools.
  2. Testing Environment: Setting up a testing environment incurs additional expenses for validation.

Training and Change Management: 

  1. User Training: Allocate resources for training sessions and materials to ensure users are proficient with the new system.
  2. Change Communication: Effectively communicate the upgrade process to stakeholders and users.
  3. Downtime Impact: Consider potential productivity and revenue losses during system downtime.

Ongoing Support and Maintenance: 

  1. Post-Upgrade Support: Address any issues, updates, and enhancements post-upgrade.
  2. Third-Party Apps and Extensions: Verify compatibility and potential additional costs of third-party apps/extensions with the new version.
  3. Scalability and Growth: Consider how future growth impacts ongoing costs and scalability with Business Central

Conclusion: 

The upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Business Central is a transformative step for businesses seeking to optimize their operations and capitalize on the advancements of cloud technology. This strategic move not only enhances operational efficiency but also provides a scalable solution that grows with your business. 

Techcronus, with its expertise in Microsoft Dynamics solutions, stands as a valuable partner in this journey. Their commitment to delivering top-notch service and support ensures that your transition to Business Central is smooth and effective, enabling you to unlock the full potential of this robust platform. 

As you consider the upgrade, remember that involving a partner like Techcronus can significantly ease the process, providing you with the insights and assistance needed to navigate the complexities of the upgrade. With their help, you can seamlessly integrate Business Central into your business ecosystem, ensuring a future-proof solution that drives growth and success. 

Tags faq guide, Microsoft business central, Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Migration

By TechcronusAdmin

Techcronus is a worldwide supplier of Enterprise Business Solutions and Custom Software Development Services, with locations in the USA, Australia, and India. It has accomplished the successful delivery of over 800 projects to start-ups, SMBs, and well-known brands, such as Starbucks, Unilever, and IKEA. The firm's areas of expertise include Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP/CRM solutions, Web Development, Business Applications Management (.NET and DevOps), Mobile Development (Native, Hybrid, Blockchain), Staff Augmentation, Product Development & Support, and UI Design and UX.