Should You Do a Dynamics NAV Upgrade or Reimplementation to Business Central?

February 27, 2024
7 min read

The global cloud computing market is projected to reach $1.614 trillion by 2030. That’s a big jump from the $446.51 billion in 2022. Moving right alongside that larger rapid cloud adoption trend, the migration from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central is becoming more of an inevitability than a choice.  

Driven by increasing market demands for cloud-based solutions, Software as a Service (SaaS), and enhanced security processes, businesses currently employing Dynamics NAV as their ERP worldwide are finding themselves at a crossroads. 

To start, Microsoft’s discontinuance of the legacy NAV platform accelerates the need to get on a current, supported, scalable, and modern business process management solution. Furthermore, companies are now looking to the cloud universally for improved security, reduced infrastructure costs, and mitigation of the risks associated with hosting an ERP on-premise. A recent Forbes study revealed that businesses that move to the cloud can achieve an average of 20-30% cost savings on IT spending.  

Overall, the justification for moving from NAV to Microsoft’s latest ERP innovation with Business Central is staggeringly compelling. 

However, for every business, there are unique challenges, obstacles, and even some confusion in the consideration of implementing Business Central. In particular, one BIG question stands– should you opt for a Dynamics NAV upgrade or a reimplementation in your move to Business Central?  

Maybe you didn’t even know these were two different options (but you should!). Let’s discuss both approaches to your Dynamics NAV to Business Central migration and help you identify your best path forward.

What is Reimplementation?

In simple terms, when we talk about a reimplementation, we’re essentially speaking of a net new, fresh ERP implementation. Expect everything from this that you would in selecting, mapping, budgeting, and planning for an entirely new business management system. If you were there for your original NAV implementation, a reimplementation approach to migrating from NAV to Business Central will look, feel, and impact the business in a similar way.  

The reimplementation process typically involves intensive business process workshops, reassessing your chart of accounts, redefining dimensions, and remodeling workflows.  

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

ERP reimplementations also require a carefully planned and executed data migration project because much of your historical data does not come along into the new system. Typically, you only get master data records (think Customer/Vendor Numbers, GL Accounts, etc.) transferred into Business Central. Then, you invest in a data warehouse or other data storage model to access most of your historical records. It should be noted that this effort also requires the execution of an advanced reporting and analytics strategy to retain trend and performance metrics and historical reporting.  

Compared to an upgrade (which we’ll get into next), reimplementing your NAV system to move to Business Central is more time-consuming and generally much costlier. It demands a thorough reconfiguration of the new Business Central ERP system aligned to your current requirements. However, this can be beneficial if your current NAV solution is not working or functioning anymore for your current business. Perhaps you’ve changed markets, offerings, and locations or significantly expanded production or presence globally.  

One of the main reasons why many Microsoft Dynamics VARs (i.e., software partners) recommend a reimplementation is, put plainly, the lack of technical resources familiar enough with both legacy NAV versions and Business Central cloud.  

Deficiency in resources aside, an upgrade might be a better-fitting alternative for businesses whose existing NAV system is performing admirably but needs to make the inevitable move to the cloud.

What is an Upgrade?

Adopting and migrating to Business Central through the approach of a Dynamics NAV upgrade paints a considerably different picture than a reimplementation. An upgrade enables you to transfer your current NAV workflows, chart of accounts, all your data, customizations, industry extensions and reports directly into a new Business Central system and setup. 

Though this approach allows for minor modifications to meet new business needs, it mostly seeks to retain the working NAV ERP system within the new cloud Business Central solution. The benefit? It’s a more cost-effective, user-adaptable, and time-sensitive approach to migrating to Business Central. 

However, finding a Microsoft Dynamics partner who can execute NAV upgrades can be challenging, if not impossible. As noted previously, technical resources with a deep understanding of legacy NAV versions and Business Central are relatively scarce. The good news is that the option for fixed-price upgrades from dedicated technical experts who solely (and only) focus on NAV to Business Central upgrades, like NAVtoBC, are finally emerging. That means you can quickly execute a move to Business Central and even keep working with your partner and familiar technical consultants as desired.  

Learn more: 5 Easy Steps for a NAV to Business Central Migration

Determining if You Need a Reimplementation vs. Upgrade

It might come as a surprise, but about 90% of NAV to Business Central migrations are better suited for an upgrade rather than a reimplementation. Most existing NAV systems are fully functional and meet business needs effectively for the organization they are running in. As such, the excess cost, time, and disruptions caused by reimplementation are wholly unnecessary.  

But how do you determine which path suits you best? Use this basic litmus test chart of considerations to help guide you:

Overall Function/Fit
Consider a REIMPLEMENTATION if: Your current NAV system overall is not supporting your needs, and you’ve considered moving to another ERP platform even without the advent of Microsoft’s move to Business Central.
Consider an UPGRADE if: Your current NAV system is working fine, and the migration to a more modern, secure, scalable, and supported platform like Business Central is your next evolutionary step for a modern ERP platform.
Dimensions and COA
Consider a REIMPLEMENTATION if: Your Dimensions or Chart of Accounts (or both) are disorganized or dysfunctional for your current business, requiring a complete overhaul.
Consider an UPGRADE if: Your current NAV Dimensions and Chart of Accounts (or both) are structured and functioning well.
Business Requirements
Consider a REIMPLEMENTATION if: Your business has undergone significant changes since initially implementing NAV. For example, entering a new market, expanding internationally, or shifting from distribution to manufacturing.
Consider an UPGRADE if: Your business strategies and operations haven’t undergone significant or material changes since the adoption of your current NAV system.
Consider a REIMPLEMENTATION if: You possess a large volume of irrelevant legacy data that isn’t useful for your business.
Consider an UPGRADE if: You need the majority (60% or more) of the data from your existing NAV system.
Customizations / Industry Add-Ons
Consider a REIMPLEMENTATION if: You have a heavily customized NAV database and wish to return to a base closer to out-of-the-box functionality.
Consider an UPGRADE if: You wish for Business Central to follow your current workflows and requirements, and you need to retain your industry-specific add-ons and business customizations.

Taking the Next Step in Your Move to the Cloud

Still unsure whether a reimplementation or upgrade suits your needs? That’s okay! We can help you map it out one-on-one. The seasoned upgrade experts at NAVtoBC are here to guide you through this pivotal decision to advance your business to the cloud.  

And don’t worry, if you aren’t fit for an upgrade, we’ll tell you! We aren’t about trying to fit quarts into pint pots because no one wins. Our mission is the cloud, and our dedication is centered around helping people get there the way it will work best.  

With that declaration out of the way, we invite you to get a free, fixed-price proposal with NAVtoBC. Not only will you get a flat fee quote for your upgrade to Business Central within 2-3 days (something also hard to come by in these Microsoft Dynamics parts), but we’ll also help you determine if your organization and NAV system are fit for an upgrade or if you should pursue a reimplementation with someone else.  

Best yet, we disclose all costs for the Dynamics NAV upgrade to BC upfront, ensure all your NAV data is retained seamlessly, and no compromises are made on your business needs in your move to the cloud. 

Like it or not, we live in a world of accelerated digital transformation. Making the right shift from NAV to Business Central will be a game-changer. Not only will you realize hard cost savings, but you will also ensure top-of-the-line efficiencies, removing the risk of catastrophic business disruption from outdated technology, enabling tighter security, and introducing endless scalability.  

Let us help you choose between a Dynamics NAV upgrade or reimplementation in your migration Business Central, and get your personalized, fixed-price quote today.