7 Things Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade to Business Central (And Why They Shouldn’t)

November 7, 2023
14 min read

Maintaining efficiency is critical to staying competitive. At the core, that’s probably why you adopted Microsoft Dynamics NAV in the first place. As a proven ERP system that excels in process management and can be customized to adapt and meet individual requirements, NAV makes your business better and your staff more productive.  

The problem is, NAV is on the outs. It’s dead. While that sounds like a bold and harsh claim (especially when it doesn’t feel dead inside your business or your heart), you probably also know it’s the hard truth. Microsoft has stopped mainstream support, extended support, and licensing sales for all NAV versions to pave the way for its modern, cloud successor – Business Central.  

If you haven’t made the BC cloud move yet, you’re facing some big decisions, questions, fears, and unknowns. Unfortunately, you’re also drawing out the inevitable while missing out on the countless advantages of upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Central. And the longer you wait, the more risks you introduce for operational sustainability and massive business disruptions.   

Alas, we’re dedicating this article to addressing seven common reasons why businesses hesitate to upgrade to Business Central. We’ll debunk misconceptions and myths about the Microsoft ERP market and explain why you shouldn’t let these concerns prevent you from upgrading to Business Central and becoming a modern, competitive, and efficient enterprise.

The (Very) Shortened Story of Dynamics NAV, Upgrades, and Business Central

Before we delve into the reasons that might be holding you back from upgrading your Dynamics NAV system to Business Central, let’s start with a brief overview of the evolution of these software solutions and their importance. For the sake of time and sanity, this skips over a load of exhaustive details, so consider it somewhat incomplete, but relevant.  

We also must assume that if you’ve made it this far or are even slightly interested in this topic, you not only know what Dynamics NAV is, you’re probably using it. NAV started as ‘Navision’ in 1995 out of Denmark and evolved into an extremely popular enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for growing small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) in large part because of its innate ability to manage financials, supply chain, and operations efficiently by adapting and scaling to industry and business-specific needs through customization.  

Of course, NAV evolved quickly. And like the other on-premise ERP systems of the times, companies faced long, expensive, and disruptive upgrades moving from one version to the next (often skipping many in-between) to keep up with technical evolutions that could make them even more competitive, programmatic, and efficient. 

Microsoft purchased NAV (still Navision then) in 2002. After rebranding several trillion times, it was eventually used as the foundation for building their next-generation cloud-based ERP system that wouldn’t require manual upgrades any longer. Enter Dynamics 365 Business Central. With NAV functionality, code, and user interface as the base, Business Central leverages its flexibility but offers even more capabilities to help businesses scale, ensure secure systems, remove unnecessary overhead, and adapt to changing business needs. 

And that’s where you are now. 

Of course, in the world of technology, change is inevitable. That also means that staying current is essential. No matter what ERP you’re running, upgrading is a proactive move to ensure your business remains fierce, adaptable, and secure. An outdated ERP system can become a bottleneck for your operations, hindering your growth and compromising your market position. So, like many businesses before and among you, here you are, looking down the tunnel of everything you face moving off NAV and onto Business Central.   

Let’s relieve some of that anxiety, get cozy, and slip into our debunk beds, shall we? We will expose some common misconceptions and concerns surrounding Dynamics NAV upgrades to Business Central. By addressing these, we aim to help businesses like yours make informed decisions that lead to a smoother transition to a more advanced and capable system.

Reason #1 Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade: Cost

Perception: Upgrade costs are too expensive.

One of the primary concerns when considering an upgrade, or any new technology, is always the cost. It’s easy to assume that a major software upgrade will require not only a significant financial investment, but that outlay may never pay itself back. However, the reality is quite different. 

First off, Business Central at its core is a more cost-effective solution in licensing and technical overhead than its on-premise NAV predecessor – think servers, IT resources, security, and manual upgrades. So, you’ll start the clock on ROI and payback from day one of your upgrade go-live. From there, you also must consider the long-term benefits. Business Central offers improved productivity, efficiency, and scalability, which can translate into significant cost savings over time. In fact, continuing to use an outdated system can be more expensive due to decreased productivity and the risk of security vulnerabilities. 

Then, there is the consideration of the upgrade cost itself. While some implementation partners mainly offer high-cost ‘re-implementations,’ there are better, more budget-conscious options available that many NAV users never get exposed to. For instance, at NAVtoBC, we exclusively offer fixed, low-price upgrades instead of re-implementations, eliminating the economic risks associated with Business Central migration projects. This allows you to plan your budget with certainty, knowing you won’t encounter unexpected expenses during the process. 

Request a fixed-price NAVtoBC upgrade quote now.

Reason #2 Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade: Disruption and Turnaround Time

Perception: The upgrade process will take too long and disrupt operations.

Business disruption is a valid concern, but the reality of extensive downtime during the process of moving from NAV to Business Central is not only avoidable, it is often exaggerated.  

Sure, if you do a full re-implementation, top executives and stakeholders could be tied up in business process mapping workshops and bogged down with configuration decisions. And you have a good chance to experience more system downtime. That’s because re-implementations are nearly identical to selecting and pursuing an entirely new ERP system. It’s also why, unless your existing NAV system simply isn’t performing for you or serving your business at all, we don’t recommend re-implementations. It’s completely unnecessary.  

The beauty of moving from NAV to Business Central is that because these systems are basically version successions of one another, you can do an upgrade instead. How is an upgrade different? Well, it takes everything you have now, data and customizations included (more on that later) and moves it to Business Central cloud. No workshops. No downtime.  

Upgrading to Business Central with NAVtoBC is designed to be as seamless and efficient as possible. The process is streamlined to minimize the impact on your day-to-day operations. With our team of experts, the turnaround time is significantly reduced compared to traditional migration methods. You won’t need to compromise on operations, and you’ll be up and running quickly with your new Business Central system.

A Blueprint for Upgrade Success

Does your cloud journey look daunting? Get a detailed playbook for why and how to migrate from NAV to Business Central without any of the costs, timeline overruns, business disruptions, or other challenges commonly associated with ERP upgrade projects.


Reason #3 Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade: Data Migration

Perception: You have to lose present NAV data during the upgrade process.

Your data is the lifeblood of your business and losing it during the move to a new ERP solution can be, and most often is, a significant concern. With good reason.  

It’s true a lot of partners who implement Business Central for existing NAV users will recommend re-implementations where data migrations are the most expensive, time-consuming, and tedious part of the project. You can find a myriad of sources to support dismal statistics for data migration projects, with a majority experiencing an overrun on both budgets and schedules. 

But the reason these data migrations are so risky is because, in a re-implementation, the new Business Central system doesn’t map directly to your old NAV system. This is due to the fact you’ve workshopped an entire reconfiguration of your ERP as though it were a new one. To mitigate those risks, data migration plans in a Business Central re-implementation will commonly employ a data warehouse, separate from your BC system, to house your historical transactional data.  

While this very well may be a better option over the risks of data migration projects into a newly configured Business Central system with different workflows and set-ups, now you’ve introduced endless complexities to your reporting and data access capabilities in an external platform.  

If you were implementing Business Central as a move from any other ERP (Sage, Oracle, NetSuite, etc.), we’d have to tell you that facing these risks and decisions is unavoidable. But the thing is, none of this is necessary in most cases where an organization is moving from NAV to Business Central.  

With a NAVtoBC upgrade, because we are actually upgrading your existing NAV solution to Business Central, all your required data – including historical records and transactions – will be safely and swiftly included in the upgrade. This means you won’t have to go through the arduous process of deciding what data stays or goes. NAVtoBC ensures that your valuable historical data is preserved and readily available in your new Business Central environment. Period.  

Reason #4 Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade: Losing Customizations and Industry-Specific Add-Ons

Perception: You’ll have to abandon industry-specific add-ons and NAV database customizations to start all over.

Your customizations and add-ons not only represent a significant investment but also play a vital role in making NAV adaptable to your specific processes, industry, and business requirement. Nearly all organizations with Dynamics NAV depend on these customizations and industry-specific add-ons to tailor their NAV ERP to their unique needs. In fact, there’s a good chance that your organization initially elected NAV because of this adaptability.   

To add to this fear, Business Central moved to something called “extensions” for all add-ons and customizations instead of individual code developed and applied in each ERP instance (as with NAV). This is quite brilliant, but it means your current customization code can’t just automatically port over. Extensions exist separately from the base code, allowing your Business Central solution to evolve seamlessly. Updates with new features and modern technology can occur automatically without extensive and expensive upgrade projects to handle your customizations and add-ons.  

To alleviate this transition, you can opt for a Business Central upgrade with NAVtoBC, where all your customizations are seamlessly created and integrated as extensions. This simplifies the transition and ensures that your unique business processes and industry-specific needs are preserved. What’s more, by migrating to Business Central, you’re setting yourself up for a more stable and future-proof ERP solution that won’t disrupt future updates. 

Customization concern, abolished.

Reason #5 Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade: User Adoption and Resistance to Change

Perception: Moving from your familiar NAV solution to a new one will be too difficult for users.

Change can be daunting. Businesses often worry about how their users will adapt to the difficulties of adopting new software and the potential loss of productivity during the transition. To a degree, this is a legitimate concern. 

We’ll start by restating the hard truth you already know. If your business favors user comfortability and complacency over leveraging modern technology and systems for efficiency and process optimization, then your competitive position and overall survival will always be compromised. You may have no users to worry about at all before long. We know, it sounds and feels so cold. Brr.  

GOOD NEWS. You don’t have to face this with an upgrade to Business Central. Microsoft’s new cloud ERP is not only designed with user-friendliness in mind, but it also inherits much of the user interface and functionality from Dynamics NAV – making it an already familiar environment for existing users. The transition is smooth, and users will find it easy to navigate the system. 

Additionally, Microsoft provides a wide array of online learning tools to help your team quickly get up to speed with Business Central. Most Microsoft partners also offer training and support services to ensure a seamless transition for your users.

Reason #6 Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade: Security and Scalability Concerns

Perception: Dynamics NAV offers more scalability and security than Business Central in the public cloud.

This is an impression we can easily flip because Business Central offers an incredibly superior level of security and scalability compared to Microsoft Dynamics NAV on-premises installations. 

Microsoft’s substantial investments in state-of-the-art security measures for their cloud solutions, including robust firewalls, encryption, and continuous threat monitoring, are challenging (if not impossible) for on-premise NAV solutions to match.  

With Dynamics NAV, data security heavily relies on your organization’s IT team to set up and maintain security protocols that are susceptible to human errors and can be exploited by cybercriminals. In the event of a physical disaster, such as a fire or flooding at the on-premises server location, data recovery, and business continuity can be challenging, leading to data loss and significant downtime. 

In contrast, Business Central in the cloud benefits from Microsoft’s robust and automated security protocols, which are continually updated to combat emerging threats. The data is stored in secure, geographically dispersed data centers, ensuring redundancy and eliminating the risk of data loss due to disasters.  

Furthermore, Business Central’s cloud infrastructure allows for rapid scalability, enabling businesses to adapt their resources to changing demands seamlessly. Whether accommodating growing data volumes, expanding user access, or implementing updates without disruptions, the cloud’s flexibility ensures that Business Central can scale effortlessly.

This combination of advanced security and unlimited scalability makes Business Central in the cloud a highly secure and future-proof choice for businesses seeking to optimize their operations. 

Business Central FTW! (Again.)

Reason #7 Stopping You from a Dynamics NAV Upgrade: Finding Someone to Perform the Upgrade

Challenge: Most NAV experts are not familiar with Business Central, and those who are experienced often have limited technical resources.

Finding the right expertise and available resources to perform a Business Central implementation can be problematic, especially in the currently scarce niche technical resource market. Many seasoned NAV experts don’t have Business Central experience, and most Microsoft delivery partners have minimal resources to execute a successful upgrade. Because of this, you’re probably running into extended timelines and push-back on available capacity with help to make the move. 

That doesn’t have to stop you. That’s precisely why we built NAVtoBC. We’re the first of our kind to dedicate our business exclusively to serving the expanding and eminent need for companies using NAV to migrate to Business Central. That’s right – Dynamics NAV to Business Central upgrades is our core and only focus. You can get your personalized, fixed-price quote to upgrade within 24-48 hours and start your complete and all-inclusive upgrade immediately. How? Because it’s all we do.   

At NAVtoBC, we are a team of Business Central experts well-versed in the nuances of the Dynamics NAV upgrade transition. From functional consulting and planning to development and implementation, our 225+ years of collective experience in the Microsoft ERP industry makes us knowledgeable, efficient, and thorough. It also allows us to guarantee a successful upgrade project every time and occasionally toot our own horns.

Reasons No More: Starting Your Dynamics NAV Upgrade

Upgrading from Dynamics NAV to Business Central is not only a necessary step to stay competitive and efficient but also an opportunity to future-proof your business management technology. As we’ve outlined, the concerns and misconceptions that may be holding you back from making the transition can all be addressed and resolved. 

With NAVtoBC, you have expert resources who can assist you today in upgrading seamlessly to Business Central, all while offering a fixed upgrade cost, data retention, preservation of customizations, and expert guidance throughout the process.  

Don’t let misconceptions and concerns hold you back from benefiting from the advanced features, enhanced efficiency, and scalability that Dynamics 365 Business Central offers! Make the move with NAVtoBC and experience the difference. 

Start your upgrade journey immediately by requesting a no-obligation, fixed-price quote.