Upgrading NAV? What To Consider

A lot of Microsoft Dynamics NAV users tend to use older versions of the software, but in doing so they’re missing out on the benefits of operating NAV in the updated cloud environment.

The high number of users still using old NAV systems is due in main to being weary or reluctant to upgrade. The reason for this is that previously, these upgrades were both expensive and time-consuming, thus affecting businesses greatly.

Recent versions of NAV however have made upgrading a much easier process. Businesses will find it a lot less taxing to stay up to date once on the newest release. It becomes less complicated to follow future features as well as more beneficial in terms of the NAV roadmap.

Benefits of Regular Updates

It’s highly important for businesses to keep upgrading as the Dynamics strategy is thoroughly based on adding new features, interoperability and functionality with each annual release. In the latest version (NAV 2017) there is a wide range of features and options which allows for integration with other devices and platforms. Furthermore, security is tightened as users keep to date with the new upgrades as each version will of course have the latest security measures in place.

What to consider

So, if your customers are looking to migrate to the newest versions of NAV, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure a smooth transition.

What version of NAV is currently in use?

With the new Microsoft strategy of annual releases, upgrading for businesses should be gradual, rather than a complete overhaul and by doing so the costs are kept lower. If an organisation is still running a version that is older than three releases, a massive reimplementation project is needed. This is due to them missing far too many changes.

The more updates missed, the longer the upgrade will take. Some will not upgrade easily and users will miss out on capabilities which may have saved them money. If a user is using a version older than NAV 2009 there are certain issues to consider:

Database size: Identifying the size of the database will give a fuller picture of the timeline required for the migration. On versions, pre-2013, a migration is extremely time consuming as they can’t run simultaneously on multiple companies.

Outdated customizations: Identifying these outdated customizations and getting rid of them will reduce the time needed for the upgrade.

ISV Solutions: Identifying add-ons used will save you time. Merging, transforming and migrating the data will speed up things. Sometimes it’s worth re-implementing the ISV solution rather than upgrading it.

Refactoring: If there is a massive gap between NAV versions, there’s a big chance of having to re-implement from scratch. This is due to customisation being completely redeveloped by Microsoft.

Best Way to get NAV up to Date

As mentioned before, upgrading older versions will be more time consuming and costly, however the business benefits often outweigh the cost. Depending on whether users need to upgrade to a newer version or update to the latest release of NAV, the paths are slightly different.

With versions that are less than four years old, users should ensure an implementation of best practices. This will simplify future upgrades and should monitor system performance and running Microsoft performances regularly. For users that are up to speed with new releases, encouragement to upgrade annually should be the norm.

What can be upgraded?

Dynamics NAV customizations are known to be relatively easy to do. However, some customizations may not necessarily migrate between version, which can lengthen the time it takes to upgrade fully. Some customizations may be of no use, depending on the newer features and capabilities.

Another thing to take into account is that some customized areas will have been completely overhauled and rebuilt by Microsoft. If this happens then users will need to totally re-align to the new standard.

Newer versions of NAV no longer require manual changes. Microsoft has simplified the process by introducing Extensions. Developers can use existing code to customize the new system without modifying the core because customizations are in the Events and Extensions layer.

Upgrade Strategy

Businesses need to come up with an upgrade strategy so they don’t fall behind on the NAV roadmap. This needs to be done together with their developer, whether they’re in-house or a consultant. Developers undertaking this task need to be sure of their skills and resources, especially if they’re going back farther than five versions.


Thanks to the development and implementation of new strategies by Microsoft, upgrading Dynamics NAV is no longer a disruptive task. Businesses that have kept up to date with recent version have realised the benefits of doing so, while users of older NAV versions need to get over their preconceived notions that migrations are overly costly and time-consuming. With the way that the NAV software has evolved, more and more tools and best practices have been introduced to help make the transition smoother.

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