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  • Writer's pictureTarana Rana

Should You Upgrade from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central?

What you need to know when considering an upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central from Dynamics NAV.

two office workers discussing figures on a paper and smiling

Since 2018, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has evolved into Dynamics 365 Business Central. Building on the capabilities of NAV, Business Central is a cloud ERP solution, designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. It has all the features and capabilities of Dynamics NAV, along with the scalability, ease of access, and numerous other cloud benefits.

If your company is currently using Dynamics NAV, you may be wondering whether it is worth it to upgrade to Business Central right now. Here are the main areas to take into consideration when thinking about an upgrade to Business Central from NAV.

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade: Key Considerations

1. Cloud

Upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Central from your on-premises NAV means you will be able to utilize the full benefits of the cloud. Firstly, your company will always have access to the latest technology. Updates for the cloud-hosted Business Central will occur automatically every month.

Secondly, you will be able to take advantage of Microsoft Cloud’s security and ensure your company is better protected from cyber threats and data breaches. Microsoft invests more than $1B a year and employs over 3,500 security experts to protect your data. They also have a 99.9% SLA in place for the cloud-based Business Central. Finally, the cloud can help you lower your total cost of ownership, as we’ll see in the next point.

2. Costs

With Dynamics NAV on-premises, you likely invested upfront for a license and paid an annual maintenance fee for updates. Hardware infrastructure, SQL Server licensing, backup, and IT resources were also a big part of your operating costs. The cloud-based Business Central works as a SaaS model, where user licensing is based on a monthly subscription model.

This fee gives you access to all the features you need to run your business. That’s it – there are no additional costs for hardware, IT resources, or upgrades. Transitioning to the cloud reallocates your traditional ERP spend from infrastructure, servers, and upgrades to a licensing fee. This means more predictable costs each year. Plus, after shifting to the cloud, you’ll no longer have to pay for upgrade projects. Updates for Business Central will happen at no cost, ensuring you always have the latest version. Your total cost of ownership reduces significantly over time when you migrate from on-premises to a cloud ERP.

3. Functionality & Applications

Dynamics 365 Business Central builds on the core functionality that Dynamics NAV and extends it, offering new features such as focus mode, late payment predication, fuzzy search, and more. Business Central also integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365, and lets you do more directly from Outlook. This includes raising quotes, processing orders, and submitting invoices, all without leaving Outlook.

You can further expand the functionality of Business Central through Microsoft AppSource - a library of third-party extensions developed by ISV partners. It lets you easily and quickly test out the new app you want, and then uninstall the add-on if it doesn’t meet your business needs.

Infographic detailing When To Upgrade from NAV to Business Central

4. Access

Business Central is deployed in the cloud (although you can also get an on-premises version) and can be accessed at anytime, anywhere, on any device. The user experience is seamless on all devices so users can conduct key tasks such as viewing dashboards, emailing sales quotes, or submitting expenses via their cellphone or tablet if they choose to. You can run your business from anywhere and give your employees the flexibility to work from home, which is a necessary advantage in 2020.

5. Machine Learning and AI

Business Central also has several pieces of powerful AI built into the system that can help you increase productivity by speeding up repetitive tasks or improve cash flow by helping with inventory and bad debt. For instance, with Late Payment Prediction, you can reduce outstanding receivables by predicting whether sales invoices will be paid on time or not. You can also suggest inventory attributes by using Image Analyzer.

6. Support Timelines

What is the support timeline for your version of Dynamics NAV? This is another key factor to keep in mind when deciding whether to upgrade or not. Support can be broken down into Mainstream support and Extended support. If your version has reached or is nearing extended support, you are missing out on the latest features and enhancements and bug fixes. Integrations also become more challenging. By the time you near end of life, your security updates will come to an end, putting your system at risk.

So, Should You Upgrade or Not? Final Thoughts:

As a Dynamics NAV customer, upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Central can help you modernize your business processes, streamline infrastructure, reduce total cost of ownership, and empower your company to work more efficiently. Keep in mind that at some point, you will need to upgrade to Business Central, depending on the version of NAV you are using, and what your support timeline looks like.

Here’s a quick checklist to see if you’re ready to make the upgrade soon

  1. You find Dynamics NAV too expensive for your organization.

  2. You want to reduce the total cost of ownership by transitioning to the cloud.

  3. Your custom add-ons are now available as standard features in Business Central.

  4. You find that you are missing critical features in NAV that are available in Business Central.

  5. You want to eliminate the need for expensive, time-consuming upgrades

  6. Your version of NAV is no longer supported or will soon reach end-of-life support

If you’re still undecided whether Dynamics 365 Business Central could be right for your company, register for our free 1-day Business Central assessment.

It’ll give you a solid understanding of how this cloud-based solution would fit into your organization, along with the transition process, timeline, and cost required to upgrade to Business Central.

Click to register for a free 1-day assessment for a Dynamics 365 Business Central Upgrade


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