How Dynamics NAV Users Can Prepare to Upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central

A natural path for Dynamics NAV on-premise users is to move to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

This article will help you with internal evaluation, planning, and preparation for upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Table of Contents

Note on Terminology: Migration, Upgrade, and Reimplementation

This article, like most customers and commentators, uses the word “upgrade” to refer to any move from NAV to Business Central. However, you should know there are two technical paths from NAV to Business Central: one is technically an upgrade, and the other is technically a “reimplementation.”

The main difference is that in a reimplementation, there’s more opportunity to clean up your system so it runs with less clutter. 

If you want more detail on the differences between these two paths, read our explanation of NAV to Business Central upgrades vs reimplementations.

Document Your Processes and Pain Points

If your business processes have changed since you first implemented NAV, start to document them. How do you want the system to work for you – rather than having you work for the system?

Discuss your current pain points with your team. You might be surprised at what you learn. Which areas of your current system are you not taking advantage of? Are there too many workarounds?

Documenting your business processes will help you determine your next steps. Know the problem areas. Know where you need to expand your ERP system.

What other technologies do you have that are old? Do they have paths forward? Do they integrate with Business Central? Start to ask these questions.

Review Your Data Quality

Preparing for an upgrade to Business Central is a great time to review your chart of accounts, your dimensions, and reporting requirements. Things will have changed since you originally configured your NAV system. You may not need all the reports that you have today going forward.

You can start to analyze and clean your data. Review the current master and transactional data. For example, consider inactive customers and vendors, and GL accounts that aren’t being used. There also might be some inventory items that are obsolete.

You should also review for inactive and obsolete data depending on your government and audit regulations and requirements.

Note that, in a reimplementation of Business Central, you will only bring in the opening balances for the sub ledger modules. For example, accounts receivable, accounts payable and inventory. In that case, your new Business Central will run faster with less obsolete data. For example, when you’re opening lists, and searching for master records, there’ll be a shorter list. That will improve the user experience with the ERP system.

Review Your Historical Data

The next key consideration factor is the historical data. Review the length of time you’ve been on NAV. The longer that you’ve been on NAV, the more historical data there will be. With more historical data, it will clutter your Business Central environment.

In a reimplementation of Business Central, you’ll be able to clean up your data and as a result, your system will be optimized. So, even if you’re not ready to move to Business Central yet, it’s good to start thinking about your historical data and what needs your business will have when you move to Business Central.

Historical Data Option: Popdock

In Business Central, you will have an option of using an application called Popdock. It’s from a Microsoft vendor named eOne Solutions. It places and converts your historical database into the Azure Data Lake.

Then, using Popdock, within Business Central you can query your historical data in the application in list forms. Those can be exported into Excel and live within Business Central. Popdock can also combine the data from your data lake with Business Central data.

An example would be a list of sales transactions. That’s a list that queries data in both the Azure Data Lake and Business Central, with one column indicating which system it came from. This is valuable because you can perform more analysis of your data, including historical. These lists can be adjusted and created for your business reporting needs.

Customizations and Integrations

The next key consideration factor is the degree and type of customizations in use in NAV. The more customizations you have, the more work effort is required.

You will need to review past customizations and unique business processes to see what has changed. Some of your customizations might not be required by your business anymore.

Other customizations may be covered as new features in Business Central, so there will be no further need for them. An example would be email remittance, which is now standard in Business Central. Another example is the out-of-box workflow approvals. For example, approval for purchase order, purchase invoice and general journal batches.

Next you should review the existing integrations to other business systems. Are they still required, or do they need to be upgraded or rebuilt?

There are also some ISV product add-ons that replace customizations made in NAV. An advantage of ISV add-ons is they will be upgraded and aligned with Business Central’s upgrade schedule.

A skilled Dynamics 365 Business Central Partner like Encore can help you understand and evaluate ISVs, customizations, and integrations.

Video: How Dynamics NAV Users Can Plan for an Upgrade

For a broader discussion of preparing for your upgrade, please watch the video from my session at the 2023 Encore Vantage event.

Business Central Resources and Trial Access

As you prepare for your upgrade from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central, there’s a whole online world that allows you to peek into Business Central. I recommend watching some training videos from Microsoft through Microsoft Learn to see Business Central in action.

You can see more of the look and understand the feel of it and what the differences are. Through Microsoft e-learning, you’ll be able to search by role or by module. These videos are broken down into short five-minute clips where you can learn and see Business Central in bite-sized pieces.

Encore also has some excellent blog articles and training videos for Business Central and its functionality. Some examples are videos on common processes, such as processing an AP payment, sales invoices, and performing a check run.

Even if you’re not ready to learn how to do these steps in Business Central today, it’s a good way to see how the process works.

You can also sign up for trial access to Business Central, and to the demo company. You’ll be able to experience Business Central with a user interface and perform test transactions.

Reach out to Encore to assist you with the evaluation of your current scenario and business process. We can provide options and a roadmap for your Dynamics solutions.

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