How to Upgrade Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 BC

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Here are 3 Things You Should Know Before Upgrading NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Quick Introduction

You’ve seen it a few times, you’ve thought about it plenty and yes, it’s still something you contemplate. Every so often it pops up again and you ask yourself: 

“Should I just upgrade from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central?”

The truth is NAV is great. It gets the job done, and it may not really be a hassle for you… right now

The thing is, you know as well as any other NAV user, that Dynamics 365 is the future, plain and simple. Eventually, NAV users will need to upgrade, so let’s break it down and look at three things you should know before making the move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Number 1: Analysis and Insight of The Upgrade

When it comes to making the technical move to Dynamics 365, you will have different options depending on your situation. The move to Dynamics 365 can be a very straight-forward and easy process if you are well situated with your data and your application customizations are handled by extensions. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central does offer both cloud and an on premise option, users should consider these important factors:

  • How many users do you currently have and how many will you need? What will be their role? (You need to confirm because D365 BC is named users basis which is different from on premise NAV concurrent user basis.)
  • How dated is your current solution? NAV RTC version? Classic version?
  • What kind of customizations are you currently using? Will they need to be transferred over? Or Is the functionality enabled by these customizations already supported by Dynamics 365?Have your business processes changed at all since your original implementation?
  • Would you consider a fresh implementation as opposed to a migration?
  • What kind of third party and add-on applications are you running with your current solution?
  • Are there any additional services or integrations you will need moving forward? Will this require future customizations?
  • How much storage will you need in a production and sandbox environment? Will you need to purchase extra space?
  • What are your intended costs, practicalities, and preferences involved when migrating to Dynamics 365?

Newer NAV Users

NAV 2018 and NAV 2013 or later users have the best-case scenario as they have the option to upgrade to Dynamics 365 at renewal and can easily convert their customizations and data into a new cloud-based environment. And because NAV users are existing Dynamics customers, when they transition to a new Dynamics 365 license they will have more options

If you are interested in further licensing changes see Dynamics 365 Licensing.

Outdated NAV Users

If you are, however, running a dated version like NAV 4.0, 7.0 even 2009 Classic, it’s in your best interest to scrub up your legacy data before you bring it into a Dynamics 365. While that’s easy for me to say, I know it may not be so easy to put into application.

The reason why you can’t just transfer your customizations from previous versions of NAV is because the customization paradigm is different in Dynamics 365.

Disclaimer: Technical verbiage to follow.

Business Central has introduced what is called Events and Extensions using AL code, which differentiates customizations with base application logic.

Events are elements of code separated from the base application code and are placed into a custom object (Codeunit). Microsoft wanted to take the customization out of the NAV code itself and eliminate the object merge step of the upgrade process. 

Extensions can be thought of as “packets” of AL code that rest on top of the base application, but do not live inside the base application. 

This means that for existing NAV customizations, you won’t be able to just layer your code on top of Dynamics 365. Customizations will have to be converted into either Events or Extensions and any bespoke code will need to be manually re-configured to fit the new solution. 

While this may sound like a huge problem, it actually has important advantages as it allows Business Central to upgrade without affecting your customizations.

Dynamics NAV Upgrade Process Methodology

  1. Discovery and System Analysis
  2. System and Solution Design
  3. Environment Setup
  4. Dynamics 365 system setup
  5. Master Data, and Historical Migration
  6. System Integration Testing
  7. User Training, and Training documentation
  8. User Acceptance Testing
  9. Final Data Migration
  10. System Go-Live
  11.  After Go-Live Support

Microsoft Migration Tool

Microsoft provides a tool for data upgrade on more recent versions of Dynamics that will help users upgrade their existing code for the new environment. This tool enables users to scrub up custom code and align it with the modern Dynamics 365’s requirements. Please see the link above to see if your case will be able to utilize Microsoft’s migration tool.

For businesses dealing with on-premise and legacy software it will be difficult to upgrade everything quickly without leaving any valuable data behind. In some cases, it may be in the user’s best interest to implement a completely new ERP implementation project.

Considering a Fresh Solution

One of the biggest challenges we see our clients face is upgrading them to Dynamics 365 from a Classic version of Dynamics NAV (e.g. NAV 4.0, NAV 5.0, NAV 7.0 and NAV 2009 Classic). Primarily because there is no useful migration tool like there is with the newer versions (e.g. NAV 2018, Business Central).

For some, the hard truth may come dressed as a re-implementation or even a completely new implementation. This probably isn’t the most thrilling idea you want to hear as a business owner.

Except, when you consider how much more efficient your operations can become with the ability to utilize any business rules, workflows, and reporting features packed into Dynamics 365 Business Central, you might feel a little more at ease. The expanded functionality that Dynamics 365 offers often negates the need for core customizations.

Furthermore, Microsoft has a rapidly expanding software ecosystem and it’s only a matter of time before obsolete systems will fail to even compete with the newer versions.

Number 2: Comparing Costs

Maybe you’re using NAV, but you’re not set on upgrading to Business Central because you are considering a completely different solution all together. That’s fair. It’s good to understand the landscape, so let’s explore how Business Central stacks up with their competition: SAP Business One and Sage Intacct. 

We have provided a price breakdown for each:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central 

The Dynamics 365 Business Central user pricing* is as follows:

  1. Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials: $70 per user per month
  2. Business Central Premium/Manufacturing: $100 per user per month
  3. Business Central Team Members: $8 per user per month

Business Central is straightforward with their pricing tiers and, obviously, we think it’s pretty great. You don’t need to figure out what specific features you want to pay for and, more importantly, no hidden fees.

Additionally, each D365 Business Central subscription is accompanied with 1 free user for an outside accountant and 1 free user for a partner reseller.

As mentioned above, not only is Dynamics 365 a Cloud solution. You can get Microsoft Dynamics On Premise, in two different ways:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – On Premise

The Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premise user pricing* is as follows:

  1. Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premise Premium: $2,800 per user
  2. Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premise Essentials: $100 per user
  3. Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premise Team Members: $400 per user 

Important: These licenses are one time costs. Additionally, there is an additional annual payment of 16% of the total license cost for the yearly enhancement. As similar before, with its predecessor NAV.

SAP Business One 

There are two general tiers each with three price sets:

SAP Business One one-time purchase

  • Professional: $3,213
  • Limited: $1,666
  • Starter: $1,357 (for up to five users)

Users own the license (one user), but annual maintenance for bug fixes and patch releases and cumulative updates are regularly charged for additional fees.

SAP Business One via subscription

  • Professional: $1,128 per user per year
  • Limited: $648 per user per year
  • Starter: $468 per user per year (for up to five users)

This plan includes annual maintenance set within the price. However, many users purchase cloud hosting and incur additional charges like $10,000 to $20,000 annually. 

Sage Intacct

This one is actually pretty difficult to explain as Sage restricts the public from easily accessing their prices. This means the only way to get information regarding pricing for your business, is to give information. Further, the only information you will receive will be a quote specific to your case. Therefore, it is difficult to define specific pricing and terms for Sage Intacct. That being said, we have provided the following:

Intacct has a base application price of $425 per month, $210 per user license per month.

  • Contract: 1 year (renewed annually)
  • Total Cost: $7,620 per user

Sage is not only very private about their pricing, they are also particular. Their overarching goal is to integrate their subscribers as much as possible, meaning they usually have three sets of costs — Licensing, Implementation, & Training — all rolled into a grand total.
Note: This pricing is as of the date this article was published. Please contact us for current pricing.

Number 3: High Level Benefits of Upgrade to Dynamics 365

1. Latest technologies on a modern platform

A modern ERP platform is not only defined as a system that can streamline project management or grant total visibility of real time data. A modern ERP platform is a system that utilizes advancing technology (e.g. cloud infrastructure, mobile, machine learning) and has the capability to adapt to unexpected and evolving business processes.

2. Same functionalities, but much more powerful

Most readers are probably operating one of the following versions of NAV: 4.0, 5.0, 7.0 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018. And like NAV, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a highly capable platform with the same features that you are used to. Visibility of real time data, integrates with intelligent applications, improves communication and delivers better customer service. “Blah, blah, blah, tell me something I don’t know.”

The reason Dynamics 365 is a “modern” ERP platform is because it is built to adapt with advancing technology, especially regarding Microsoft’s cloud solutions. Once you move to the cloud with Business Central, you will always have the most current version of Business Central. That’s without impacting any part of your system or having to make the updates manually. There are many modern tools like Power BI, Power App, Office 365 Integration, tons of new powerful accounting and distribution functions.

3. Don’t worry about major upgrade time and fee anymore

If you think about it, Microsoft makes minor updates to their business solutions all year around, and an expected major update every six months.

That’s a lot of work. 

Think of the maintenance tasks — backups, code upgrades and patches. Think of the hardware, redundancy/failover, data backup, server licenses, data center fees, maintenance of servers with IT resources of application and complicated databases. You can eliminate those issues FOR GOOD by upgrading to Dynamics 365 on cloud.

These modern capabilities allow you as a business to free your IT department’s time and resources, and allocate your resources to improve and scale your business in diverse areas.

And maybe your business is not ready for the cloud, you’re not alone. Business Central sits as the future of Dynamics NAV because it offers cloud, on-premises and hybrid deployment options. 

For those who are worried about having their data compromised because of cloud technology, Microsoft owns and manages state-of-the-art data centers. They not only protect sensitive client and company data, but they actually improve the overall security of your business’s digital information.

4. Business continuity and SLA on Microsoft Azure

Additionally, Microsoft proudly waves a 99.9 percent uptime service-level agreement (SLA). They encourage businesses to quickly activate and deploy new users, claiming their cloud solutions reduce the traditional complexity associated with managing software and hardware. 

Choosing the Right Solution for You

There are two specific upgrade versions of Dynamics Business Central you are probably considering: 

  1. Business Central (Premium), which offers the full scope of functionalities Business  Central offers.
  2. Business Central (Essentials), which offers all the functionalities, except the manufacturing, and service modules.

Each version is tailored for different business needs, but both are powerful subscriptions and come with one production environment and one sandbox environment. 

This article is the first in a two-part series. Please check back to see additional reasons why a Business Central upgrade is a great idea.

Every Organization is Different

We have been working with ERPs, integrations, customizations and everything business software since the 90s, we know every business is unique and has specific needs. Finding out what those needs are and how to address them is how we have managed to keep a 95+ retention rate. We are a Microsoft Gold Partner that works to deliver solutions that make your business better. 

Please get in contact with us if you are considering upgrade options, a re-implementation, or if you just want a business consultation. No matter what step of the process you are in, we are here to help you attain the best situation possible.

Calsoft Systems has touted experience with Dynamics NAV and upgrades to Dynamics 365 Business Central. Give us a call at 1-888-838-8422 or email at anytime. We can share any information of practical steps and tools of Dynamics NAV upgrade with you.