Is My Version of Dynamics NAV/Navision or Dynamics GP Over Customized or Too Complicated for Dynamics 365 Business Central?



In the last few weeks, I have seen, heard, and been on calls with many prospects who are questioning if they can or should move to Dynamics 365 Business Central. Here is my personal take on this question and what you should consider if you are in a position to upgrade, migrate, or find a new solution. 

I have had many people ask me, does Microsoft want our company to move to Dynamics 365 Business Central? The answer is YES, absolutely. The Business Central and Microsoft Business Applications teams are working very hard over the past years to make Business Central a good landing place for customers coming from Dynamics GP (Great Plains) or Dynamics NAV (Navision). Most people are not aware that Business Central (BC) is the current version of NAV/Navision in the cloud, with decades of history and hundreds of thousands of customers and users. 

Business Central is a fully functional and very well-developed system, covering core finances, full procure to pay, quote to cash, a decent CRM system, full distribution, manufacturing, project accounting, deferrals, fixed assets, and more. It includes one Production environment and three sandboxes with the licensing, along with two major upgrades per year (all serviced by Microsoft). It is a full cloud product, with no servers, VPNs, or other equipment necessary. 

The functionality does not stop there. Add the super amazing benefits of the rest of the Microsoft Stack including: 

Power Automate: Use power automate to automate business processes across the Microsoft stack. This includes automation in emails, tasks, workflows with approvals, integration with Teams, and integrations with other solutions, including SalesForce, D365 Customer Engagement and Sales, MailChimp, HubSpot, SQL Server, and more. 

Microsoft Outlook: Full integration including the ability to sell and purchase directly from outlook, create vendors and customers, view customer and vendor balances, enter invoices, send invoices, and more. A real crowd-pleaser for purchasing and sales teams. 

Microsoft Teams: View your ERP data inside Microsoft Teams for non-licensed users. You can share sales documents, customer documents, financial information, and whatever else you care to share with the organization, with security permissions, all for free! 

Power BI: Built-in Integration with Power BI, allowing for easy reporting and data connection. Includes some free dashboards and samples and ways to get started. Use Power BI to view Business Central Telemetry and monitor BC performance, errors (if any), and usage. It is a super cool tool that I have not seen with any other system. 

SharePoint and OneDrive: Connect and store your documents and share them with users of both SharePoint and OneDrive. 

Microsoft Excel: Built-In Excel reports and templates. View, Edit, and Create Transactions from Microsoft Excel. Export Financial Statements directly from Business Central. 

You still may be asking, what should I do because my installation of NAV or GP is highly customized with lots of history. In my honest opinion, you should be going through a trusted discovery process with a partner who has experience with both systems. The partner and their development team should evaluate the setup, configuration, current 3rd party ISVs, and all extensions/developments done in the system. 

With this type of evaluation, the following things can be determined: 

Customizations: Are they necessary in Business Central because the customization code is already included in Business Central's core functionality. Also, evaluate if an App from AppSource can fill the gaps. There are almost 3.500 apps on AppSource. Make sure this evaluation is done by a Business Central partner with experience. 

Integrations: Many integrations can be done so much easier with Business Central and Power Automate. You should re-evaluate how your integrations are working and mapped and if you can save some money on third-party integration tools. 

Business Processes: If you are on an older system, it is likely that you have not evaluated your business processes and flows in a long time. I love to take this time during discovery to map out current process flows and recommend new process flows that include automation to save companies time and money. 

Core Functionality: Some users on older systems did not implement all the features of the existing system due to cost. This is a really great time to see all the features of BC and see if some features could benefit the organization. 

Data Cleanup: This is a really great time to determine if data needs to be cleansed and cleaned up. This includes cleaning up old vendors and accounts, duplicate customer or vendor numbers, outdated trial balance items, and more. This is a very critical part of the process. If a partner is trying to just migrate old data to a new system, your users will likely be dissatisfied with the new system. This is the best time to do the cleanup. 

Upgrade vs Implement: Some partners are convinced you have to upgrade from NAV to Business Central. However, this could wind up costing your company a lot more money than just doing a fresh implementation. The benefits of a fresh implementation are a cleaner database, faster times to get onboarded to Business Central, and more. History can be viewed in a variety of ways with this method: Using EOne Solutions PopDock, Keeping data on the current server, mirroring the data to an Azure Virtual Server, or custom historical tables inside Business Central. All your history does NOT have to be migrated over, you have options! 

I hope you find this blog helpful in your journey of deciding what to do next with your system. If you need help or would like to discuss this process, email me at: