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Business Central Upgrade Paths

Everyone is looking to be efficient to maximize their profitability, that part is standard. Chances are, spending money on a new ERP system with hope of getting better insight and improve business processes is also part of that plan.

So, since we have so many awesome NAV friends and Clients out here that might be in this situation, we will look at differences between re-implementing your ERP to get to Business Central compared with upgrading your existing NAV to Business Central. Yes, there is a huge difference!

The big differences between re-implementing and upgrading that we will bring light to are the effects on your data itself, the structure of your data with it how effects compatibility and your customization’s.

Data: Yes, it’s always about data!

One of the key differences between upgrading and re-implementing is the starting data that you get in your new system. When upgrading, we are taking your existing database, upgrading it to the version required for Business Central and importing it. What is in NAV, shows in Business Central. This includes all master data and transactional data. Fantastic if you need it! The positives to upgrading basically end here.

Compare this with re-implementing, where you just load in Opening Balances for the fiscal year, any Net Changes to date and any open Documents. No transactional history, audit trails or anything like that.

Now at this point you might be thinking, “I’m definitely upgrading”. Please read on with an open mind and consider how what follows can help you with the efficiency goals mentioned above!

The way you structure your data has a huge effect on the effectiveness of your ERP. When you upgrade, everything comes in the same. Same Posting Groups, same Dimensions, same Configuration. Whilst you might think this is great, when you look at it in more detail it may be a missed opportunity. This might be especially relevant if your company has expanded or changed. By re-implementing, you have a fantastic opportunity to re-design all of this. There’s plenty of potential to maximize your efficiency to match your current business processes by re-implementing. A lot of this structuring you can’t change if you bring the historical transactional data that is currently associated into the new ERP by upgrading.

The other side of this is making changes to the data itself. Changing this such as your Chart of Accounts numbering, Customers and Vendors. Making sure the formatting of these key areas is set to optimize all the benefits you are looking for when moving to Business Central. For some more detail and specific examples of data restructuring that can help, check out this post! All these changes play a key part in making sure your new ERP maximizes its compatibility. If you want to know more about the extensive integration of Microsoft Excel, then take a read of this blog!

The final difference, and potentially the biggest differentiator in cost and functionality, is customizations. In NAV, you only upgraded every few versions as you had to implement the newer version each time (well we hope you have been upgrading!). Compare this with Business Central where an update is released every 6 months and your environment will be forced to upgrade. Also add in the fact you are now hosted in the cloud compared with your own server infrastructure (great savings to not deal with this!), then you start to see the big difference of the access you will have to the backend of the program.

In Business Central, you can’t change the base code. You can add to it and build extensions that add extra. But we can’t change the core functionality. In NAV, because it was all hosted locally just for you, you could do what your like to the base code of the program. Every time it comes to upgrading though, this is an issue. Because now all your data has been processed in a way that is not recognized by the new system. In addition, now the code is different, to upgrade with these, all customizations would have to be re-written to function off the new code and we all know how time consuming and expensive development can be!

If you have a heavily customized NAV, we strongly suggest re-implementing rather than upgrading. By re-implementing, you can take your master data and balances, put this in the new system and be perfectly functional whilst using some of the new data structure from above. By minimizing the customizations that you add on to Business Central, you will get to see all of the benefits of frequent version updates and not have to pay for the on-going cost of development every time there is a new release just to get to the latest version! Sounds great on the bank account to me! Of course, you can still add some extra features to Business Central to help with that goal of efficiency, however, less is definitely more in Business Central.

It’s so important to look at the long-term benefits! Things like having to do comparative reporting to old reports because you re-implemented are such a small inconvenience a year down the road, compared to never ending issues of having a system that is not structured for long-term efficiency. If you have a fantastic NAV setup though (especially one that has been upgraded regularly), then by all means, let’s keep all that data together!

For more information on whether an upgrade or re-implementation would suit you better, reach out and have one of our team help you with some insight!

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