As technology rapidly advances, companies want to keep up with the last offerings for a variety of reasons such as staying competitive, compliant, and embracing systems that will help reach their objectives.  In reference to upgrading your Microsoft Dynamics NAV system to the latest version, now called Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, there are some key areas that have to be examined to bring your business management system current while making it a smooth process. This post will discuss Microsoft Dynamics NAV Upgrade Consideration and making the transition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

How old is your current Microsoft NAV System?

Obviously, a more current versions of Dynamics NAV will be less of a transition challenge to the latest version. However, you probably know that some very early version of Dynamics NAV are no longer supported by Microsoft, such as NAV 2009 R1 and earlier.  Many of the extended support from Microsoft has ended for these earlier versions as well.  Having a currently supported version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Business Central is just one benefit for upgrading. Companies get the most current version for ERP business features in addition to updates to keep your system running smoothly.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is now called Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and is based on the functionality of the latest version of Dynamics NAV 2018, however, with many new enhancements.   The improvements to Business Central include:

  • A fresh new, intuitive user interface.
  • More business functionality possibilities through Microsoft’s AppSource.
  • Lower initial investment with a Cloud ERP System.
  • Tighter integration with other Microsoft Business Solutions such as Outlook and CRM.
  • A more modern development environment.
  • New “state of the art” business functionality including “Artificial Intelligence” and better business reporting.
  • Accessibility through Modern Clients 

This Business System is also available either as a Cloud or On-Premises solution; however, we have seen many more clients choose Cloud Versions of Business Central to take advantage Microsoft’s enormous research and development of cloud technology solutions. Business Central was launched in Spring of 2018 and has even been called “Cloud NAV” or “NAV in the Cloud”.

How has your system been modified?

Along with the new enhancements in Microsoft Business Central, importantly the development language has also changed.  How has your NAV system been modified though out the years? The Dynamics NAV Development Environment is Client/Server Integrated Development Environment (C/SIDE), however, the new language is AL, which was actually introduce in NAV 2018.  AL programing language is used for manipulating data (such as retrieving, inserting, and modifying records) in a Dynamics 365 Business Central database, and controlling the execution of the various application objects, such as pages, reports, or codeunits.  Although the development language is different; and more modern, the code base is the same between NAV and Business Central.  This makes a NAV upgrade to Business Central easier.

What are Extensions?

It is also important to discuss extensions, which are distinct business functionality “add-ons” to Business Central. In previous version, modifications through Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) were written for specific functionality in the older development language of NAV.  Now, with a more modern development language affords seamless publishing and execution integration with Dynamics Business Central’s tenant using the AL Language Extension for Visual Studio Code.  This simply means you can create your own Applications (Apps) for Business Central.  However, there are hundreds already created through Microsoft community of developers in AppSource. Chances are there if you require add-on functionality to your Dynamics Business Central ERP system, that there is an App already developed.

Has a budget been established?

In most cases upgrading to a newer version of your ERP system is quite an investment; there should be a reasonable expectation for budgeting such as project management, scope of work, deployment, training, and ongoing support.

Cloud vs On-Premises?

Although as we mentioned, many clients are moving to the Cloud Version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Business Central is designed to be a cloud ERP solution, the option, however, is truly the clients on what suits them best. Unlike some other business management systems on the market, you can still elect to have an on-premises version of Business Central.  Having an On-Premises deployment can be considered a “hybrid deployment” because the On-Premises Version of Business Central is “Cloud Ready”. By working with your Microsoft Partner, you can determine and plan for select authorized Cloud Services to be part of your total business solution.

Additional Considerations: 

Upgrading your Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP system to a more modern business management system may be a project that your company is contemplating because you have an earlier version of NAV that perhaps is no longer supported.  You should also weigh your decision on how accelerated “business-focused” this new Microsoft system is.  Through Microsoft’s commitment to Cloud Technology, Business Central users can take advantage of the latest “cutting edge” technology, for example, functionality with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Power BI (Business Intelligence) and “packaging” a total solutions for your unique business needs with other Microsoft business systems such as Outlook, CRM, and functionality through Microsoft’s AppSource.  A skilled and experienced Microsoft Partner can discuss all of the above considerations above and help your company navigate the Dynamics NAV Upgrade process.

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Posted by iCepts Technology Group, Inc. a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and NAV Support Partner in Pennsylvania



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