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How to Upgrade Dynamics NAV System to Business Central

Upgrading from Dynamics NAV to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central brings cost savings, better efficiency with data access anywhere, and keeps your business updated with cloud-based features.

The upgrade process depends on your current NAV version. If you’re on the latest, you can upgrade directly without external help. For others, start with Dynamics 365 Business Central v14. older NAV versions should first upgrade to a recent version before the final move. Additionaly, this Microsoft Dynamics NAV upgrade requires more profound preparation and understanding of all quirks.

What is Dynamics NAV and How Does it Relate to Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Microsoft Navision, also known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution designed by Microsoft for business management. Popularly known as NAV or Navision, it caters to small and mid-sized businesses, streamlining operations, finance, supply chain, commerce, analytics, and more.

This ERP automates tasks like finance, sales, operations, purchases, accounts, and inventory, boosting user productivity by eliminating manual processes. It’s flexible, allowing customization and integration as needed, and stores data centrally for easy access. NAV simplifies data management, making reporting and sharing seamless.

In November 2016, Microsoft consolidated its CRM and ERP products under one umbrella called Dynamics 365. From that time, Dynamics NAV is now known as Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC).

Business Central represents the cloud-based iteration of the software, while Dynamics NAV typically denotes the on-premise version. However, it’s worth noting that Dynamics NAV can also be deployed in a private cloud setup.

Risks and Limitations Staying with Dynamics NAV

The cost of not upgrading is always high, but there’re also other risks:

1) Integrating new technologies, like external third-party solutions, becomes notably challenging with an older ERP like Dynamics NAV. Utilizing tools such as Power Automate, Power Apps, and Teams also becomes more difficult.

2) As your ERP solution ages and falls out of regular support, there’s a risk that it may no longer comply with current financial regulations. Auditors will likely scrutinize how you manage risks that aren’t supported by outdated software.

3) Additionally, there’s a risk that your modern devices may no longer support Dynamics NAV. The likelihood of system crashes also increases with an aging ERP, potentially leading to unexpected downtime that can impact your business’s productivity and profitability.

What Versions Should Be Upgraded?

Starting January 10, 2023, all versions of Dynamics NAV will no longer receive mainstream support. Additionally, Dynamics NAV 2013 and 2013 R2 are already without extended support. If your business is still using these versions of Dynamics NAV or has not yet migrated to Business Central, it’s essential to explore the available options.

Dynamics NAV to BC upgrade is appliable for 2009 R2, 2013, 2013 R2, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 versions.

How to Upgrade Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Business Central

The process for Dynamics NAV 2018 upgrade to Business Central, or Dynamics NAV 2015 upgrade requires careful planning and execution. Here are the essential steps:

Assessment and Planning

Begin with a comprehensive assessment of your current Dynamics NAV setup. Identify customizations, integrations, and functionalities that need to be migrated. This forms the basis of your upgrade plan.

Find the Right Modernization Partner

If the system is too complex and tangled, it’s better to refer to a professional vendor experienced in software upgrades. When choosing an implementation partner, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research. Their approach must be cost-effective and hassle-free, ensuring a seamless shift to enhanced performance and functionality. Also, look at Microsoft official partners to conduct migrations for Microsoft products (incl Dynamics NAV).

Data Migration

Migrating your data is a critical step. This includes customer records, financial data, inventory details, and more. Microsoft provides tools and resources to assist with data migration, ensuring a smooth transition.

Customizations and Extensions

Review any customizations in your Dynamics NAV instance. These may need to be adapted for Business Central. Business Central offers a more flexible approach to customizations through extensions, making future upgrades easier.

You’ll also need to transition the custom code from the old codeunit 1 to management codeunits.


Before fully committing to the upgrade, thorough testing is essential. Test all functionalities, integrations, and customizations to ensure everything works as expected in the new environment.

Training and Adoption

With a new system comes a learning curve. It’s crucial to train your staff on the features and functionalities of Business Central. Microsoft offers training materials and support to assist with user adoption.

Go-Live Preparation

As the Dynamics NAV technical upgrade nears completion, prepare for the go-live phase. This involves final data migration, user training, and readiness assessments to ensure a smooth transition.


The actual go-live date marks the official transition to Business Central. Monitor the system closely during this phase to address any unforeseen issues promptly.

Post-Implementation Support

After the upgrade, provide ongoing support to your team. Address any questions or issues that arise and continue to optimize the system for your business needs.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Dynamics NAV upgrade to Business Central is not just an IT project; it’s a strategic business decision. It unlocks a world of new possibilities, from improved productivity to better insights for decision-makers.

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