NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central technical upgrade guide

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A technical upgrade from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central is a critical process for businesses seeking modernized, cloud-based solutions for their ERP systems.

The upgrade pathway varies depending on your current NAV version. For recent versions (NAV 2015 to 2018), the upgrade is straightforward, involving an application code update followed by data migration.

Earlier versions (NAV 2013, 2013 R2, 2009 SP1, R2, 5.0, and 4.0) require sequential upgrades through intermediate versions before transitioning to Business Central.


Dynamics NAV to Business Central technical upgrade process consists of three main steps:

Here's a detailed breakdown of the three stages involved in upgrading from NAV to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central:

Step 1: Version Upgrade

  • For NAV 2015-2018 Users: Directly upgrade to the latest Business Central by first updating the application code and then migrating the existing data.
  • For NAV 2013 and NAV 2013 R2 Users: Upgrade sequentially to NAV 2018, beginning with application code updates followed by data migration.
  • For NAV 2009 (SP1 and R2) and Earlier (NAV 5.0 and 4.0): Initially, upgrade to NAV 2013. Next, progress to NAV 2015 and finally to NAV 2018. Each stage requires application code updates and data migration.

Read case study: Dynamics NAV 2009 to NAV 2018 Upgrade

Step 2: Customization Conversion

  • Transform all legacy customizations into modern apps and per-tenant extensions to ensure compatibility with Business Central's architecture.

Step 3: Cloud Migration

  • Utilize the cloud migration tool to transfer all data and applications to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, leveraging the cloud's scalability and robustness.

BC Upgrade Process

7 Steps to Upgrade from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Before embarking on the upgrade, it's important to understand the benefits such as improved integration capabilities, enhanced security, and access to real-time data insights. A successful upgrade ensures that businesses remain competitive and scalable.

Step 1: Preparation and Planning

Objective: Prepare for a seamless transition.

  • Conduct a Thorough Audit: Review existing NAV system to document all processes, customizations, and third-party integrations.
  • Set Clear Objectives: Determine what you aim to achieve with Business Central, like improved data analytics or better cloud support.
  • Develop a Project Plan: Outline key milestones, responsibilities, timelines, and budget considerations.

Step 2: Environment Setup

Objective: Establish a development environment.

  • Create a Sandbox Environment: This facilitates testing without affecting the live system.
  • Tool Selection: Choose tools for the upgrade, such as AL code transition tools and data migration extensions.

Step 3: Data Migration

Objective: Safely transfer data from NAV to Business Central.

  • Data Cleanup: Remove obsolete data to improve performance post-migration.
  • Use Data Migration Tools: Implement tools designed specifically for Dynamics 365 Business Central to ensure data integrity and security.

Step 4: Code Upgrading

Objective: Update custom code and resolve compatibility issues.

  • Transform C/AL to AL Code: Use Microsoft’s recommended tools to convert existing customizations to the new extension-based model.
  • Manual Code Refactoring: Some complex customizations might require manual intervention to optimize performance and functionality.

Step 5: Testing

Objective: Ensure the system functions correctly with new configurations.

  • Conduct Functional Testing: Validate all business processes to ensure they work as expected.
  • Performance Testing: Check how the new system handles load, identifying potential bottlenecks.

Step 6: Training and Go-Live

Objective: Equip users with the necessary knowledge and skills.

  • User Training: Conduct comprehensive training sessions tailored to different user roles.
  • Go-Live: Implement the upgrade during a low-activity period to minimize business disruption.

Step 7: Post-Implementation Support

Objective: Provide ongoing support and maintenance.

  • Monitor System Performance: Regularly check system operations to swiftly address any issues.
  • Feedback Loop: Gather user feedback to continually refine processes and functionalities.

After you complete the technical upgrade from NAV to Business Central, you still need to finalize a few crucial steps:

1: Update JavaScript-based Control Add-ins Evaluate and upgrade your JavaScript-based control add-ins to the latest versions suitable for use on the Business Central server.

2: Installation of V2 Extensions For environments using single tenant mode, install V2 extensions using the Install-NAVApp cmdlet to ensure they operate correctly.

3: Transition Custom Code Migrate custom code from the legacy codeunit 1 to the new management codeunits.

4: Configure Searchability of Pages and Reports Modify object properties to restore the searchability of pages and reports in the web client by building a new object search index.

5: Upload Customer License Complete the upgrade by uploading the customer license to Business Central, which is essential for activating the updated system.

These steps ensure a comprehensive transition and enable full functionality of your Business Central environment post-upgrade.


Upgrading from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central involves meticulous planning and execution but can significantly enhance operational efficiency and data handling capabilities. With careful attention to detail at each step, businesses can achieve a smooth transition and fully leverage the benefits of a modern ERP system.

This guide enhances the foundational steps provided by Dynamics Square UK by deepening the strategy for each phase and including essential tasks that ensure a thorough and effective upgrade.

For businesses preparing for this transition, prioritizing these steps will facilitate a successful upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central, maximizing return on investment and future-proofing operational needs.

Ready to enhance your business efficiency with Dynamics 365 Business Central? Contact us today via email or give us a call +44 207 193 2502 to discover audit your current Dynamics NAV version.

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