Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central Upgrade

Dynamics NAV customers like you, preparing for a migration to Dynamics 365 Business Central, have several important choices in front of them.

To help you make informed decisions, avoid business disruption, and manage the change for your staff to your upgraded ERP, this page offers an overview of what you need to know. It introduces the basic steps, timeline, options, and benefits of a NAV to Business Central upgrade or reimplementation.

Your Choice. Your Terms. Your Future.
Navigate your growth with us.

Encore will work with you to discuss your options and help determine what makes sense based on your business’s specific situation.
Table of Contents

When Is It the Right Time to Move from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central?

When deciding the timeline for moving to Business Central, consider your NAV version’s place in the Microsoft support lifecycle, your regulatory compliance needs, the newer functionality in Business Central, and your evolving business requirements.

Support Lifecycle: If your Dynamics NAV version is nearing or has reached the end of Microsoft extended support, that suggests moving to Business Central sooner. NAV 2013 R2 and earlier versions are now beyond extended support. See the support dates for different NAV versions.

Security and Compliance: In Dynamics 365 Business Central, the latest patches are automatically applied to your system. That lowers your security risk and eases complying with regulations. Your regulatory and security needs may suggest you should move to Business Central shortly.

Newer Functionality: Business Central facilitates remote and mobile work, offers interoperability with other Microsoft products (everything from Excel to Power Automate), and has other functionality improvements like built-in workflow approvals. Consider the relevance of these factors to your own business processes as another factor in deciding your best time to move to the newer ERP.

Evolving Business Requirements: Many businesses have changed considerably since they first implemented Dynamics NAV, sometimes to the point where their existing NAV configuration doesn’t match their current inventory, warehouse, or bank information needs well anymore. When you begin the process of moving to Dynamics 365 Business Central, you will have the chance to collaborate with an experienced Dynamics Partner to tailor the system to suit your present business requirements as well as your plans for the future.

Read more about timing for a move from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Two Methods for Your Migration: Upgrade and Reimplementation

There are two approaches for migrating NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central: upgrade and reimplementation. The main difference is that an upgrade is somewhat faster, and migrates your historical data to Business Central, while a reimplementation provides more of an opportunity to optimize and reimagine your ERP.

The upgrade process takes your data from Dynamics NAV and massages it via development tools to fit it into Business Central. Note that customizations do not convert and will need to be recreated: however, we find that many customizations can be left behind, because of the added functionality in Business Central.

In the reimplementation process, on the other hand, you are starting a new implementation from scratch. Your master records, GL balances, Open A/R, and Open A/P are migrated, but your historical data and customizations are not brought forward. It is called a “re”-implementation because Business Central’s code is built on things you already know from NAV, even though there are improvements to the interface and new functionalities.

Pro: Historical data comes into your new ERP.
Pro: Opportunity to optimize and change.
Pro: Procedures and processes stay as they are.
Pro: Immediately take advantage of new functions and technology.
Pro: Shorter timeline.
Pro: Fresh start with data volume.
Con: Missed opportunity to optimize.
Con: Longer timeline.

For a deeper dive, watch our video on the differences between the upgrade and reimplementation processes. It discusses the reasons to choose either approach, high-level steps for each, timelines, and options for the data that is left behind in a reimplementation.

Which approach is best for you depends on both your business strategy and your technical situation. For advice tailored to your company’s needs, talk to your Encore Account Manager or contact us with the form below.

Steps in a Move from Dynamics NAV to Business Central

NAV to Business Central Upgrade Steps

  1. Create test server with backup of NAV.
  2. Install migration tools and perform code/object upgrade.
  3. Reproduce customizations into extensions and implement add-ons.
  4. Validation, testing, and training.
  5. User Acceptance Testing.
  6. Upgrade on live database – Go live.

NAV to Business Central Reimplementation Steps

  1. Analyze business processes and technical gaps.
  2. Design and configure the new system, including data migration.
  3. Gap development and implement any add-ons.
  4. Validation, testing, and training.
  5. User Acceptance Testing.
  6. Go live.


How Long Does a NAV to Business Central Upgrade Take?

A move from NAV to Business Central typically takes between 4 and 6 months. Upgrades are generally faster than reimplementations.

The overall timeline will also be impacted by your amount of modules, customizations, and integrations. New functionality or business processes being added can also extend the time needed.

Benefits of Moving From NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central

As compared to Dynamics NAV, the key benefits of Business Central are that it enables you to:

  1. Access your ERP anytime anywhere – Business Central is platform and browser agnostic.
  2. Never fall behind in a version again, due to the continuous update cycle.
  3. Never purchase a server or server software again with Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud.
  4. Better leverage tools like Excel, Outlook, Power BI, and other Dynamics 365 applications, together with your ERP.
  5. Have modern security and disaster recovery built in to your ERP, with your data being stored in highly secure, state-of-the-art data centers owned and managed by Microsoft.
  6. Simplify and reduce the cost of your future upgrades (updates).
  7. Streamline maintenance of your customizations (extensions).
  8. Access new functionality in a familiar Dynamics interface.

With respect to the interface differences, watch this short comparison of the two systems:

Dynamics 365 Business Central Licensing

Dynamics 365 Business Central is licensed as a monthly subscription based on named individual users. There’s no minimum number of users, and you can raise or lower your number of users over time as needed.

Azure hosting is included with your licenses – you do not pay hosting or server fees. Furthermore, you never have to pay annual enhancement plan fees again.

For details, read about Business Central licensing and pricing.

Build Out Your Technology Roadmap

Through the decision-making process, it’s important to consider the full technology roadmap for your business. As your Dynamics Partner, Encore takes the time to understand your business needs, goals, and strategy, in order to create a technology plan going forward. We can identify how you can bring existing solutions together and leverage the current and future capabilities of the full Microsoft business stack: Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 (Office 365), Power BI, and more.

Encore can help you plan out the timeline, technology choices, and cloud strategy that will unlock growth for your business. Contact us or reach out to your Encore Account Manager to start the conversation.

How Encore Can Help

At Encore, we are experts in both Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central. When we implement your new Dynamics 365 Business Central solution, we’ll also draw on our experience with your current solution.

Beyond NAV and Business Central, we have teams with knowledge and experience in all Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM solutions, Microsoft 365 (Office 365), Power BI and the Power Platform, the Microsoft Azure cloud, and more. These tools can extend the capabilities of Business Central to meet your changing business needs as you grow.

We combine this comprehensive technical skill in Microsoft products with experience in the essential change management and training aspects of an ERP transition. This means we can guide you through testing, training, and user adoption – which are as important to your success as the technical implementation itself.

We advise each of our clients on the best tools and processes for them. We’d be happy to help you design the technology roadmap for the future of your business.

If you’d like to discuss your options, or get started on moving to Dynamics 365 Business Central, please reach out to your Account Manager or contact us with the form below.


Back to Top

Table of Contents

Further Resources

Contact Us