Dynamics NAV to Business Central Upgrade: A Comparative Study to Unlocking Growth Potential

Aug 22, 2023 Aiswarya Madhu

In the ever-evolving landscape of Microsoft's software offerings, the transformation of Dynamics NAV into Dynamics 365 Business Central stands out as a pivotal shift.

With a history spanning decades, Dynamics NAV has evolved into a more streamlined and cloud-centric solution to meet the demands of modern businesses.

Dynamics NAV, a trusted enterprise management solution since 1987, underwent a significant transformation under Microsoft's guidance. In 2018, it was rebranded as Dynamics 365 Business Central.

The fundamental difference between Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central lies in their operating platforms. While Dynamics NAV was primarily an on-premises solution, Business Central is cloud-hosted. This transition allows businesses to leverage the benefits of cloud technology, including scalability, accessibility, and integrated cloud tools.

Now let's explore why Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central upgrade has become not just important, but crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in today's dynamic business environment.

Navigating the Dynamics NAV to Business Central Upgrade Journey

Indeed, the countdown has begun for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, with its extended support scheduled to conclude by 2028. This means that after the initial five years of regular support with added features, the following five years will focus solely on essential security updates.

However, there's a silver lining. Dynamics 365 Business Central steps in as the next evolution of Navision. This transition is crucial due to several key differences that highlight why upgrading to Business Central is a smart move.

Licensing and Accessibility Evolution from Dynamics NAV to Business Central

Choosing the right licensing model and user types for your ERP system is essential for optimizing user access, functionality, and collaboration. As you plan Dynamics NAV to Business Central upgrade, carefully assess how the licensing changes impact your user roles, access requirements, and collaboration needs. With the right understanding, you can leverage the power of modern ERP solutions to enhance your organization's operational efficiency and success.

Licensing Models: Dynamics NAV offered a range of user licenses with varying access levels, potentially causing complexity in license management and allocation. In contrast, Dynamics 365 Business Central streamlines licensing with options like Essential, Premium, Team Member, and External Accountant licenses. This simplification aligns licenses with specific user roles and requirements, making it easier to manage and allocate licenses effectively.

License Functionalities
Essentials Financial Management: Includes general ledger, workflows, audit trails, bank management, budgets, deferrals, bank reconciliation, dimensions, fixed assets, and currencies.
Customer Relational Management: Includes contacts, campaigns, opportunity management, built-in integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales.
Supply Chain Management: Includes sales order management, basic receivables, purchase order management, locations, item transfers, basic warehousing.
Human Resources: Includes employees, expense management.
Project Management: Includes resources, estimates, jobs, time sheets.
Premium All Essentials functionality, plus
Service Order Management: Service orders, service price management, service item management, service contract management, planning, dispatching.
Manufacturing: Includes production orders, version management, agile manufacturing, basic supply planning, demand forecasting, capacity planning, machine centers, finite loading.
Team Member Controlled access for data consumption, reporting, and uncomplicated tasks.
Tailored scenarios in apps like Customer Service, Sales, and Project Resource Hub.
Does not cover access to custom apps and follows specific licensing scenarios.

Cloud-Based Accessibility: Dynamics NAV primarily operated in an on-premises environment, which limited accessibility and often required substantial investments in infrastructure.

Dynamics 365 Business Central, on the other hand, leverages a cloud-based architecture, enabling users to access the system from anywhere with an internet connection.

Want to know more about the latest updates in the world of Microsoft Dynamics 365? Click here

Elevate Integration Possibilities with Dynamics NAV to Business Central Upgrade

Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP brings substantial benefits to integration efforts. Business Central shines in its seamless integration with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365 and Power Platform, fostering a cohesive ecosystem that optimizes data sharing and collaboration. In contrast, while Dynamics NAV also offered integration capabilities, the level of synergy was not as robust.

  • Business Central offers pre-built integration capabilities with Microsoft products like Office 365, Power BI, and Power Apps, eliminating the need for extensive custom development in NAV.
  • Automatic updates and maintenance streamline the process, reducing the complexity of managing integrations during version upgrades, in contrast to the more manual maintenance needed with Dynamics NAV.
  • The real-time data synchronization capabilities of Business Central minimize errors and discrepancies, providing accurate and up-to-date information across integrated systems. This surpasses the potential data inaccuracies associated with manual entry in Dynamics NAV.
  • Offers a broad range of integration options, both from Microsoft and third-party providers, enabling businesses to connect easily with CRM, e-commerce, analytics, and other systems, which might be more limited in Dynamics NAV.
  • Ensures effortless scalability and adaptability, allowing integrations to evolve with the business without requiring extensive redevelopment efforts, a feature that is more challenging with Dynamics NAV.
  • Reduces the maintenance burden often associated with custom integrations, offering a more sustainable solution compared to the complexities of maintaining integrations in Dynamics NAV.

Unleash the Power of AL Language in Your Dynamics NAV to Business Central Journey

In the era of Dynamics NAV, the customization landscape was dominated by the C/AL language, intricately woven into the core system. However, this integration often posed challenges during upgrades, demanding comprehensive reviews and potential redevelopment of the entire system. With the advent of Business Central, a transformative change has occurred. Customizations now employ the AL language, constructing extensions that coexist harmoniously alongside the untouched core system.

Modern Syntax and Language Features: AL is designed to be a more modern and expressive programming language compared to C/AL. It incorporates concepts from other modern programming languages, making it more intuitive for developers familiar with contemporary coding practices.

Cloud and Web Compatibility: AL is aligned with the cloud-first strategy of Microsoft. Dynamics 365 Business Central is primarily offered as a cloud-based solution, and AL is optimized for building web-based and cloud-ready applications.

Platform Integration: AL integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft technologies, such as Visual Studio Code and Azure DevOps, streamlining the development and deployment process.

Maintainability and Versioning: AL code is more modular and easier to maintain than C/AL. The separation of objects into extensions enhances versioning and allows for more controlled customization and updates.

Web and Mobile Development: AL allows for the creation of web and mobile applications directly within the Dynamics 365 Business Central environment, enabling businesses to extend their ERP capabilities to various devices.

Flexibility and Extensibility: AL supports extension-based development, enabling developers to create custom functionalities without modifying the core application code. This reduces the risk of upgrade conflicts and enhances the adaptability of the ERP system.

Integration with Other Services: AL seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft services and APIs, providing opportunities to connect with external systems, data sources, and third-party applications.

Streamline Your Business Operations with Automatic Upgrades and Uninterrupted Support

Automatic updates within Dynamics 365 Business Central bring forth a plethora of advantages, ensuring a seamless and up-to-date experience for users. This automated update process covers both major and minor enhancements and operates smoothly throughout the year.

Admins can conveniently establish update windows in the Business Central administration center, ideally during non-working hours, to prevent any disruptions during regular business operations.

  • The regular cadence of upgrades simplifies the integration of third-party applications provided by independent software vendors. As integration often demands synchronization between various components, aligning the latest versions of both Business Central and third-party applications becomes more straightforward and efficient.
  • Business Central updates are conducted based on user-specified time frames. Users are proactively informed about impending updates through email notifications. Additionally, the flexibility to schedule updates during non-working hours minimizes any potential disruptions to regular business activities.
  • Monthly corrections and semi-annual major updates contribute to maintaining the security of your data. Automatic application of essential security patches ensures that your system remains safeguarded against potential vulnerabilities.

Strengthen Security Through Dynamics NAV to Business Central Upgrade

  • One of the significant advancements in Business Central's security landscape is its approach to data isolation. Each tenant's data resides in a meticulously isolated database, ensuring that it remains distinct and inaccessible to other tenants. This isolation minimizes the risk of data cross-contamination and unauthorized access.
  • While both systems utilize Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for authentication, Business Central simplifies the user experience. It offers seamless integration with Azure AD, making authentication setup and management more user-friendly and less prone to misconfigurations. This enhanced integration strengthens the first line of defense, reducing vulnerabilities that can arise from improper setup.
  • Business Central's commitment to security is underscored by its comprehensive compliance certifications. While Dynamics NAV adhered to compliance standards, Business Central expands upon this foundation with an array of certifications, addressing industry-specific and regional compliance requirements more comprehensively. This robust compliance framework ensures that your operations align with industry best practices and regulatory mandates.
  • Business Central further fortifies security through its emphasis on encrypted network protocols. It recommends using encrypted protocols when connecting to services like Power BI and web services, enhancing the security of data transmissions. This additional layer of security safeguards your data during its journey, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access.

Plan Your Upgrade & Navigate Complexity with Expert Guidance

Transitioning your business from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central can greatly enhance your operations. To facilitate a seamless upgrade, consider the pre- upgrade steps:

  • Begin by taking a comprehensive backup of your current Dynamics NAV database to ensure data security.
  • Confirm that your current version of Dynamics NAV is supported for direct upgrade to Business Central. If not, you might need to perform intermediate upgrades.
  • If your current version of Dynamics NAV falls within the range of 2015 to 2018, the upgrade process is relatively straightforward: you'll upgrade the application code first and then proceed with upgrading the data. However, if you're using older versions like NAV 2013 or NAV 2013 R2, your starting point would involve upgrading to NAV 2018.
  • Identify and document all customizations, modifications, and bespoke functionality in your existing NAV system, and list all third-party applications integrated with NAV and check their compatibility with Business Central.

Navigating the intricate landscape of upgrading isn't just a mere technical process; it's a journey riddled with complexities that demand a careful understanding. Upgrading involves a series of intricate steps, each with its own set of considerations and challenges.

At Nalashaa Digital, we understand the intricacies involved and the potential pitfalls that can arise. Our approach is centered around making this journey smoother for you by meticulously handling the technical intricacies:

  • Comprehensive Analysis: We begin by conducting an in-depth analysis of your current Dynamics 365 setup. This helps us understand the nuances and specific requirements for your upgrade.

  • Migration Priorities: Identifying migration priorities is crucial. We determine what data, configurations, and customizations need special attention, allowing you to focus on what matters.

  • Precise Data Backups: Data is the lifeblood of your system. We ensure meticulous data backups, safeguarding your valuable information throughout the process.

  • Incremental Upgrades: Upgrading in stages mitigates risks. We perform incremental upgrades, carefully transitioning from your existing version to the desired one.

  • Issue Resolution: Challenges are common during upgrades. Our team adeptly addresses any issues, ensuring that the upgraded system functions seamlessly.

  • Testing and Quality Assurance: Rigorous testing and quality checks are integral. We ensure that the system operates smoothly, alleviating any potential disruptions.

  • Focused Guidance: By handling the technical intricacies, we enable you to focus on what truly matters – preparing your team for the transition and aligning your CRM with your business goals.

Read more about data migration in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Here

Ensure a Hassle-Free Dynamics NAV to business central upgrade

Transitioning your business from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central is a pivotal step toward enhancing your operational efficiency. However, this upgrade journey entails navigating a landscape of intricate steps and considerations. The transformation from on-premises Dynamics NAV to cloud-hosted Business Central brings about notable shifts in licensing, accessibility, integration, functionality, and security.

To ensure a seamless Dynamics NAV to Business Central upgrade and make the most out of the Business Central ERP, get in touch with our experts at Nalashaa. We are here to guide you through every step of the way, ensuring a successful transformation that enhances your business operations and propels your growth.

About Author

Never Miss News

Want to implement Dynamics 365?

We have plans which will meet your needs, and if not we can tweak them around a bit too!

Just leave your details below and we will get back to you real soon!
Field will not be visible to web visitor