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

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

When deciding the timeline for moving to Dynamics 365 Business Central, consider your Dynamics NAV version’s place in the Microsoft support lifecycle, your evolving business requirements, the newer functionality in Business Central, and your regulatory compliance needs.

Support Lifecycle: If your 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.

Evolving Business Requirements: Many businesses have changed considerably since they first implemented 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 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.

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 functionalities to your own business processes as another factor in deciding your best time to move to the newer ERP.

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

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

Benefits of Moving From Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central

  1. Accessible anytime, anywhere. Dynamics 365 Business Central is platform and browser agnostic.
  2. Security and stability. Business Central has modern security and disaster recovery built in, with your data being stored in highly secure, state-of-the-art data centers owned and managed by Microsoft.
  3. Continuous update cycle. Never fall behind in a version again, due to the continuous update cycle.
  4. Easier maintenance of customizations. Maintaining your customizations, now handled through extensions in Business Central, is more streamlined.
  1. No server costs. Never purchase a server or server software again with Business Central in the cloud.
  2. No further upgrades. The updates in Business Central are faster, easier, and less costly than the upgrades were in NAV.
  3. Leverage the full Microsoft stack. Take advantage of tools like Excel, Outlook, Power BI, and other Dynamics 365 applications, together with your ERP.
  4. New functionality. Business Central has a range of new functionality for your team, and it’s all accessed through a familiar Dynamics interface.

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

Two Methods for Your Migration: Upgrade and Reimplementation

There are two approaches for migrating Dynamics 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.

Pros of Upgrading:

  • Historical data comes into your new ERP.
  • Procedures and processes stay as they are.
  • Shorter timeline.

Con of Upgrading:

  • Missed opportunity to optimize.


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.

Pros of Reimplementing:

  • Opportunity to optimize and change.
  • Quickly leverage new functions and technology.
  • Fresh start with data volume.

Con of Reimplementing:

  • Longer timeline.

Upgrade vs Reimplementation Deep Dive

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 Dynamics 365 Business Central

The steps you and a Dynamics Partner should take to move from NAV to Business Central depend on whether you’ll be moving via an upgrade or a reimplementation.

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.

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.

Within these overall steps, each company’s journey will be somewhat different, as the process should be adapted to fit your technology and business needs.

How Long Does a Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central Upgrade Take?

A move from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 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.

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 the prices of the three main license types, review this table:

Dynamics 365 Business Central License
Price Per User Per Month
Business Central Essentials Full User
$70.00 USD ($95.00 CAD)
Business Central Premium Full User
$100.00 USD ($135.70 CAD)
Business Central Team Member
$8.00 USD ($10.20 CAD)

For more information, including the functionality available with each license type, read our fuller explanation of Business Central licensing and pricing.

How Encore Can Help 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.

At Encore, we are experts in both Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central. When we implement your new 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 Business Central, please reach out to your Account Manager or contact us with the form below.

Contact Us

Further Resources

How to Prepare for an Upgrade to D365 Business Central


Overcome Barriers in Your Transition Planning


How Are Upgrades Different in the Cloud?


Migrate to D365 Business Central with Encore