How to move from NAV to Microsoft Business Central: A comprehensive guide  

For decades, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, or Navision, has been the trusted choice of small and mid-sized companies. Its flexibility and adaptability to various industries made it a go-to solution for many. However, the constraints of on-premises infrastructure and the ever-evolving business landscape prompted a transformation. 

In 2018, Dynamics 365 Business Central emerged as the modern, cloud-based version of this mid-market ERP solution. As companies transition from Dynamics NAV to Business Central, they embark on a journey to unlock the myriad benefits of this cloud-native solution. 

In this article, we explore the keys to a successful Dynamics NAV to Business Central migration and the challenges that may arise along the way.

Differentiating Dynamics NAV and Business Central

Both Dynamics NAV and Business Central cater to the needs of small and mid-sized businesses, offering a comprehensive platform to manage core operations seamlessly. The distinction between the two lies in the approach and features. Business Central is essentially an improved version of NAV, embracing the cloud, enhancing integration, simplifying updates, and expanding its functionality. For a deeper dive into the differences and similarities between these solutions, you can refer to our blog post titled “Dynamics NAV vs. Dynamics 365 Business Central.”

Potential Challenges in the Migration

Migrating from Dynamics NAV to Business Central represents a shift from on-premises to cloud-based ERP. The transition impacts various aspects, from customizations and reporting to fundamental accounting tasks. Some challenges may emerge if companies do not establish an environment conducive to their new cloud-based solution. Network capacity, for instance, is crucial for cloud ERP as it supports remote work and ensures uninterrupted data flow.

Data migration is another critical challenge that requires meticulous planning and execution. The choice between a full reimplementation or a “lift and shift” approach depends on factors such as the age of your legacy system, complexity, data volume, and the accuracy of your existing NAV setup. If your organization has been using NAV for an extended period, you should allocate more time to clean and organize your data before migrating it to the new system. Data migration involves converting information from one schema to another, which may necessitate addressing issues like invalid records. Several tools and methods can assist in data migration:

Intelligent Cloud: If you are migrating from NAV version 2018 R2 or later, you can replicate your data in the new environment using the Intelligent Cloud tool. While this is read-only, it allows you to leverage new functionality like Power BI and Flow.

RapidStart: Microsoft offers a service that enables users to create configuration packages linking their Excel files to Business Central tables.

Excel: Data, including vendors, inventory, transactions, and customers, can be transferred from NAV to Business Central using the “Edit in Excel” feature. The compatibility of your files with Business Central depends on the available extensions.

Advantages of Transitioning from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Anytime, Anywhere Accessibility: Dynamics 365 Business Central is designed to be platform and browser agnostic, ensuring that you can access your critical business data from anywhere, at any time. Whether you’re in the office, at home, or on the go, your ERP system is at your fingertips.

Robust Security and Stability: Security is paramount, and Business Central excels in this aspect. It comes equipped with modern security measures and disaster recovery solutions. Your invaluable data is stored in highly secure, state-of-the-art data centers owned and managed by Microsoft, providing you with peace of mind and unparalleled stability.

Continuous Updates: Bid farewell to version disparities. Business Central adopts a continuous update cycle, ensuring that you are always operating on the latest version. You’ll benefit from cutting-edge features, performance improvements, and security updates without the hassle of time-consuming upgrades.

Streamlined Customization Maintenance: Managing customizations has never been easier. Business Central simplifies the process by handling customizations through extensions. This streamlines your maintenance efforts, allowing for a more agile and efficient ERP ecosystem.

Elimination of Server Costs: Say goodbye to the financial burden of server procurement and server software licensing. With Business Central residing in the cloud, you’ll never need to invest in physical server infrastructure again.

Seamless Upgrades: Unlike the traditionally labor-intensive and costly upgrades in NAV, Business Central offers faster, easier, and more cost-effective updates. You can embrace the latest enhancements with minimal disruption to your operations.

Full Integration with Microsoft Stack: Business Central seamlessly integrates with the complete Microsoft stack, including tools like Excel, Outlook, Power BI, and other Dynamics 365 applications. This synergy enhances your ERP capabilities and amplifies your team’s productivity.

New Functionality: Business Central introduces a wealth of new functionality for your organization. This modern ERP solution delivers a host of features that cater to your team’s needs. The best part? It retains a familiar Dynamics interface, ensuring a smooth transition and minimal learning curve for your users.

Top Tips for a Successful NAV to Business Central Migration

Prepare for the Move: Understand the specific business goals your company aims to achieve with the new functionality and how it can enhance existing processes.

Get Executive Buy-In: Secure a project sponsor who prioritizes the initiative and encourages leadership involvement in the migration and testing processes.

Communicate Project Goals Clearly: Maintain open and frequent communication between the executive team, project team, and ERP partner to avoid costly obstacles and ensure on-time delivery.

Efficient Project Management: Effective project management is essential both internally and on the ERP partner’s side. Teams should be aligned, equipped to adapt to changes in real-time, and have the authority to move projects forward.

Create a Collaborative Environment: Foster collaboration between your internal team and external ERP partners. Inclusivity and data-sharing processes should be integral to your strategy to maintain focus and momentum.

Test Early and Often: Involve end-users in defining processes, workflows, and use cases from the outset. Testing helps align expectations with the business strategy and serves as an interactive training process.

Planning a Migration? Deployflow can help.

The transition from Dynamics NAV to Business Central signifies a shift from an on-premises solution to a cloud-based one, unlocking various business benefits. It requires a deep understanding of the value of the cloud, internal executive buy-in, and collaboration with a trusted Dynamics 365 Partner. Working with a reliable partner streamlines the strategy for success.

If you’re ready to embark on your journey from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central, the Deployflow team is here to assist. We guide companies through all stages of their Cloud transformation. To learn more about how we can support your business, schedule a free consultation with our experts today.


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maya.budinski

Published on October 25, 2023