NAV to Business Central Migration Made Easy: 5 Steps

January 2, 2024
10 min read

Chances are you know the migration to BC cloud from the on-premise NAV system of yore is approaching the inevitable. So, let’s talk about that move to Business Central, shall we?

Don’t worry, we don’t pretend that switching your ERP is a molehill that you might accidentally be making a mountain out of. The balloon taking you to the cloud can seem, and become, big enough to suck all the air out of the room. But this article will help make it easier. Less of a steep climb and more of a hike, perhaps. After all, that is our entire focus here – making the upgrade to BC efficient, budget-friendly, less disruptive, and seamless for you.

So, get comfy for a few while we guide you through how to approach the migration process from NAV to Business Central without the common surprises and resistance business management system changes face. From controlling costs to setting the stage for rapid user adoption – we’ll outline 5 comprehensive steps that will help alleviate the potential stress tied to a BC upgrade.  

By the end of this article, you’ll have a simplified roadmap on how to take your business to the cloud sans the complications associated with typical ERP implementations. 

Let’s get started. 

The 5 Steps to A Quick, Complete, and Simplified NAV to Business Central Migration

Step 1: Assessment – Evaluating the Need and Business Case

You’re probably thinking – “oh great, another ‘technology’ article telling me to evaluate and reflect on our business needs.” Stick with us here. We doubt you’re surprised or enlightened by the encouragement to appraise the compelling factors for your business to go through the process of migrating from NAV to Business Central. We do want to help you think of it from a couple of different angles to establish the foundation for what you came here for – an easier, less chaotic path to a successful move to BC.   

First, documenting the necessity for the upgrade helps minimize doubts related to cost, effort, or any potential transition disruption that all become investment considerations. In other words, here is where you establish the business case and cement internal, executive buy-in. It’s where you all get on the NAV to BC train together and commit to staying on until the final destination in the cloud. 

Second, there may be some compelling reasons you haven’t thought about or included in your assessment of initiating this project. Such as:

  • System stability: The last version of NAV had mainstream support discontinued in 2023. Consider the risks of continued investment in an ERP solution that is no longer being supported or developed by its publisher.
  • Long-term costs: With the move to cloud-forward platforms in the general business technology landscape, the high costs incurred from an on-premise, legacy system like NAV will ultimately require more time, money, and resources to stay afloat and protect data loss.
  • Required overhead: To keep Dynamics NAV on-premise running efficiently, IT is responsible for maintaining the servers and upgrading hardware. Server space, server maintenance, software maintenance, upgrades, and support will require more outlay and technical expertise that can impact cash flow.

In other words, take a hot second to reflect and establish your ‘why’ with the internal stakeholders, which is arguably one of the biggest hurdles to getting started. From there, we make the rest a breeze.  

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

Step 2: Reframe Your Approach – Upgrade vs. Reimplementation

Most implementation partners offer ‘re-implementations’ when proposing the move to Business Central with companies currently using NAV. Re-implementations are, in effect, completely new ERP implementations because they rely on the same start-over approach with costly and disruptive workshops to reassess business processes, compromises on data retention, and complete reconfigurations of workflows. The wide prevalence of only offering re-implementations for companies using NAV to move to its BC successor is at the crux of the common hesitations for businesses to evolve into modern business management. It comes with all the risks, long timelines, turmoil, and budget overrun threats as any net-new ERP evaluation and process. 

What most NAV users don’t know is that there is a more straightforward, economical, expedited, and continuous alternative – an upgrade to Business Central. At NAVtoBC, for instance, we exclusively specialize in providing fixed-cost, budget-friendly upgrades instead of re-implementations. Not only does this approach eliminate the financial risks linked to Business Central migration projects, it also eliminates any surprises with your new ERP because all your data, reports, and customizations come with it.  

So, unless your current NAV system simply isn’t functioning for your organization’s needs, consider a NAVtoBC upgrade instead for these benefits:

  • Predictable costs with fixed pricing
  • Includes all existing industry-specific add-ons
  • Includes all NAV database customizations as developed BC extensions
  • Includes every utilized report
  • Quick turnaround time
  • Minimal-to-no disruption or downtime
  • Faster user adoption due to business process continuity and an intuitive UI
  • Reduced IT overhead
  • More scalability and security in the cloud

Free Whitepaper: A Blueprint for NAV to Business Central Upgrade Success

Step 3: Planning – Get a Fixed-Price Scope and Cost Assessment

Now that you’ve determined your “why” and found an approach with the path of least resistance, planning becomes the next step. If you go the re-implementation route we referenced in the point before, the traditional planning step is going to take you quite some time because you’ll work with a partner or vendor who will require a detailed data assessment, process review, and customization mapping before you can even get into numbers or timelines. Since the purpose of this article is about making your migration fast and easy, we aren’t going to discuss that option and will stick to the recommendations here – get a fixed-price project scope and quote instead. 

How? NAVtoBC solely exists to upgrade NAV to Business Central. Once you request the fixed-price quote, we get on the phone for a few minutes to review some quick specs and send you the self-service scope builder (which includes a set of straightforward questions and a place to upload your NAV database backup). 

From there, we take a couple of days to tailor an upgrade strategy that aligns with your business needs, which includes a timeline and set price for the complete move to Business Central. The process is entirely free of charge, swift, and absolutely painless.  

It should also be emphasized that in this process, you are not going to be asked or encouraged to change Microsoft partners, licensing attribution, or your ERP and IT support vendor. We aren’t a VAR, and we don’t want to be one.  

If you need assistance finding a technology partner, we can help (we know some great people from our 225+ collective years in the Microsoft ERP industry!). And it’s true that you might fall in love with us because we are likable and will work to be your trusted upgrade advisor. However, we are just here to make the move to Business Central smooth and successful without surprises or the red tape of scarce technical experts, costly implementations, and compromises.

Step 4: Execution – Customizations, Reports, Third-Party Add-Ons, and Quality Assurance

With your fixed price, complete upgrade scope, and expectations in hand, you’ve decided to hit the GO button. It’s okay, you can breathe. If you follow steps 1-3, it’s actually going to be remarkably uncomplicated and easygoing from here.  

Besides the high overhead of your servers, risks to data security, a stagnant, unsupported system, and a rigid legacy on-premise platform, you have no goodbyes to make. With a deep understanding of your Dynamics NAV environment, the technical experts at NAVtoBC ensure a transition that accommodates all your reports, custom modifications, and third-party add-ons and functionality. That’s right – we promise all your customizations, industry extensions, and all implementations that make NAV tailored to your business processes are upgraded to Business Central. 

From there, execution is where the rubber meets the road. NAVtoBC runs the upgrade process seamlessly, maintaining optimal operational time for your business. Upon completion, a series of rigorous quality assurance procedures followed by user acceptance testing ensures that your new Business Central environment behaves as expected and that all customizations and data are present and functional.

Step 5: Final Migration – Ensure a Smooth Go-Live

This final step involves moving your upgraded solution from the staging environment to the live environment. NAVtoBC does all the final data migration, ensuring all your NAV data smoothly transitions into your new Business Central platform. From here, you’re ready to go live and start experiencing the revolutionary enhancements of Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

Of course, you might be wondering about your users. Because, great, you have Business Central now, but how do you understand how to use it? Fret not.  

Facilitating user adoption during the transition from NAV to Business Central is crucial for the success of the upgrade. Users familiar with NAV already are going to be incredibly amazed at how intuitive Business Central is – it was built as the next version of NAV after all. Microsoft also has an incredible vault of free, self-paced tutorials and training for Business Central online, as do the vast interwebs.  

To enhance user acceptance, you can also seek comprehensive, hands-on training programs that cater to the specific needs of NAV users. Customized training sessions can focus on highlighting the similarities and improvements in Business Central, easing the learning curve for existing users. NAVtoBC is delighted to make a training plan and recommendations based on your user profiles, needs, and gap areas. In many cases, you may have access to incredible training resources with your Microsoft ERP partner should you need them. 

Additionally, establishing a support system and encouraging open communication channels ensures that users feel comfortable seeking assistance when needed. Offering ongoing support, user-friendly documentation, and fostering a positive attitude toward change contribute significantly to a smoother and more successful transition, fostering a culture of collaboration and adaptability within the organization. 

And now, you’re in the beautiful, scalable, secure, infinite cloud.

How to Get Started on Your Painless NAV to Business Central Migration Journey

Embarking on the voyage of migrating from Dynamics NAV to Business Central with NAVtoBC ensures smooth sailing with a complete upgrade that has no surprises, includes all your customizations, guarantees a fixed upgrade cost, and promises the quickest turnaround on the market. The process indeed simplifies your transition from NAV to Business Central, maximizing value, minimizing disruption, encouraging rapid user adoption, enhancing scalability, and providing limitless benefits for your business.  

We have broken the rule of the iron triangle! 

Now it’s time to stop being an onpremasaurus and embrace the cloud to seize unlimited scalability and enhanced security. Let NAVtoBC bring your entire Microsoft NAV ERP, including customizations, to Business Central cloud. 

It takes less than 3 minutes to kickstart your fixed-price upgrade process. Answer a few short questions and start today! Migrating from NAV to Business Central has never been easier with NAVtoBC.

Get Your Fixed-Price Upgrade Quote Started Today