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All You Need to Know about Dynamics NAV upgrade to Business Central

It is undeniable that Microsoft has always been dominating the market with its business solutions. One of the reasons for their popularity is that they let the customers choose. That is, they have multiple solutions to suit the particular needs of client businesses, belonging to a wide range of industries. However, with so many solutions, delivering such varied features, it often gets confusing for the customers to decide on a particular one. It gets frustrating when they cannot distinguish between the solutions, resulting in a possible bad decision while Dynamics NAV upgrade to Business Central.

To better understand this, we may look at the ERP solutions developed by the company: Dynamics GP, Dynamics SL, Dynamics NAV, and Dynamics 365 Business Central. While all these are different solutions, with different licensing options, they all contribute to enterprise resource planning. Since it is not possible to compare all the solutions and realize their best use in one article, we will take the most resent and much talked about application, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and compare it with its previous version Dynamics NAV, in an attempt to clear the air of confusion regarding them.

Background and History:

Dynamics NAV originally comes from Navision which was a suit of accounting application, acquired by Microsoft in 2002. At this point of time the CRM and ERP solutions which included Dynamics AX, Dynamics SL, Dynamics GP, and the Navision software; were rolled under Microsoft Business Solutions.  It was in 2005 that the name Dynamics NAV first appeared as a rebranding of the company’s ERP solutions. These new ERP products by Microsoft continued receiving updates through 2018, when the ultimate Dynamics NAV upgrade to Business Central took place.

However, Dynamics 365 Business Central was not just an updated ERP solution. It brought the CRP and ERP capabilities that Microsoft has developed, under the same roof. The when Business Central was first announced in 2016, the application was only available in an online offering. However, Microsoft officially released the new version of Dynamics NAV in 2018 with half-yearly upgrade schedule.

What is same?

The general confusion must be cleared for once and for all and that is Dynamics 365 Business Central is the same core product of Dynamics NAV. The transition is just another upgrade, quite like NAV upgrade 2013 to 2018. As a matter of fact, the two solutions are nearly identical in their format and functionalities. There is only a little bit of variation in visual in Navision. The following ultimate user experience remains the same:

  • Function keys
  • Startup process
  • Emphasis on manufacturing and invoice
  • Configuration packages and worksheets for importing data

What has changed?

The chief difference that comes with Dynamics NAV upgrade to Business Central, is changed platforms. Dynamics 365 Business Central is hosted on cloud while Dynamics NAV was made to be hosted and operated on an on-premise basis. Business Central does not exclude any of the apps that users have enjoyed till now. Additionally, the cloud deployment only enhances their experience with the following capabilities:

  • Streamlined communication with other Microsoft solutions like Power BI and Office 365 which provides with optimum enterprise efficiency
  • Intelligent data analysis that helps users take accurate and informed decisions
  • Ability to customized product additions over time
  • Enhanced and coherent search capabilities
  • Software updates that are automatic as well as seamless
  • Cost-efficient maintenance and support
  • Licensing that is subscription based.

Which one is better?

As already mentioned, the two solutions are not different from each other. Dynamics NAV upgrade to Business Central is just a matter of changed versions, like that of NAV upgrade 2013 to 2018 where certain new capabilities have been included. Here one of the benefits that users can leverage is the cloud deployment. Companies with complex projects and business operations can benefit more from the direct on-site operations.

Is the transition from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central complicated?

It depends largely on the version of NAV you are using. The older the version, the more work you are looking at. For example, if you have been using NAV 2013, you might consider NAV upgrade 2013 to 2018, before moving to Business Central. The process of transition becomes more complicated with applications that are more outdated than the others. However, elaborate transition process should not stop you from experiencing the best of Microsoft Dynamics Business Central.


This article is about Dynamics NAV upgrade to Business Central. It aims at clearing the confusion that surrounds the ERP solutions.

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