Read Part 2 here: Upgrade vs. Reimplementation
No one just wakes up in the morning and says, hey, maybe just for fun I want to upgrade my Microsoft Dynamics NAV system today. Usually some event or incident triggers the need to upgrade your legacy ERP solution like a cybersecurity issue or lost backups.
When a business decides that it’s time to upgrade Dynamics NAV, they usually want to enjoy their total solution, including historical data, all on the latest and greatest technology, which is no small feat, considering all the moving parts that go into this. Sometimes you are several versions behind and need to jump through a few versions. The scenarios are limitless depending on the specific business case. As you might imagine, analyzing this and determining the most optimal path forward requires effort and consideration: should we upgrade, should we start from scratch and reimplement, should we just do nothing and limp along for another year or two on our 10-year old legacy system?
If that old server crashes one last time, you may not even be able to purchase server software compatible with your legacy Dynamics NAV
Well, for one, when I started Konmari’ing my electronics (I think I’m still lost somewhere in this step or had to go back to determining if my old graphic tees really spark joy), I found no less than 6 smart phones and accessories going back 15+ years and versions. When I somehow managed to find the right charger to power the device so I could expunge my personal data and reset to factory, it amazed me how old, outdated, and clunky the technology of yesteryear now appeared to me. While I like shiny and new I can’t seem to shake my father’s voice in my head: “what’s wrong with the old one?” Doing nothing was not an option. I held out as long as possible to stave off conversion costs, loss of time and data, having to learn a new system, but eventually evolved with the technology instead of trying to fight the inevitable slowing, crashes, wear and tear, and so forth. As much as I dislike cell phone and car analogies, you don’t just throw the phone out the window because it slows down a bit or drops a call on occasion. On a business level, the inefficiencies of an older Dynamics NAV solution can multiply out by the number of users, slows, downtime, workarounds, ransomware threats, system crashes, and more. Meanwhile, technology, bandwidth and add-on solutions (called Extensions in Business Central) continue to evolve at an exponential rate, which means that every day that goes by and you’re not entirely up to date with the latest and greatest, you are accumulating technical debt and it’s costing you bigtime. If that old server that IT’s been trying to keep running for years on end crashes one last time and finally gives up the ghost, you may not even be able to purchase server software compatible with your legacy NAV system, so now what?
What if I told you you’d never have to purchase another server or perform a software upgrade ever again? Or pay those annual maintenance fees? Or that your software and environment would always be up to date, secure, maximizing DR/HA (disaster recovery and high availability)? Well, Microsoft has done just that with Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS (Cloud). This represents the path forward in the evolution of Microsoft Dynamics to a fully cloud-based environment. In this Shangri-La, all the infrastructure is bundled with the ERP at a low SaaS (Software as a Service) subscription that you can scale up or down to suit your specific situation. All you need is an internet connection and it can be a laptop, tablet, or smartphone (iOS or Android), any browser. Pandemic got you down? No worries, just deactivate a few users and you don’t get billed for those. Business is booming? No problem, just add them onto your subscription and you’re off to the races. In addition to the infrastructure environment being continuously monitored, optimized and kept up to date, the Dynamics 365 Business Central Software is automatically updated every month (enhancements, hot fixes, service packs, etc.), and then every 6 months (April and October) a completely new version is released which you automatically receive and can schedule the update.
Because you will always be up to date with the latest, you will always be able to take advantage of new options and technology
Because of the new paradigm in managing customizations and 3rd-Party add-ons from ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) as extensions to the pristine, unmodified Dynamics 365 Business Central database, gone are the days of lengthy upgrades due to custom code or conflicts with add-ons that won’t compile and have to be refactored. Much like your smartphone, there is now an ever-evolving Microsoft AppSource where you can download and try new apps or purchase for use apps that extend the functionality of your Dynamics 365 Business Central system. Because you will always be up to date with the latest, you will always be able to take advantage of new options and technology and not be held back by your database being out of version or no longer supported. This paradigm shift for a One Microsoft provides a better solution that is always growing and staying in step with your business. With the eliminated costs of upgrades, maintenance fees and increased security, integration with new apps and other Microsoft products, I’d walk, not run to the cloud.
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