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To upgrade or not to upgrade: the case for moving from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Happy man in office using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Imagine this, you’re in bed staring at a beautifully elegant and technologically advanced alarm clock thinking about a recent Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central video you saw all while consumed by the loud sounds of silence. The clock strikes 7, a faint click can be heard, time stands still for one second, and seemingly, out of nowhere Elvis Presley singing Such A Night begins to blare from your now monstrosity of an alarm clock.

You jump out of bed, stub your toe, but somehow manage to catch a glimpse through the corner of your eye of the frosted windowpane in your bedroom, and to your amazement, cloudy skies have retreated, blue skies have advanced, and General Sunshine is leading the way. Is this a sign? What could the sign be for? What are you forgetting?

Then it dawns on you that today you get to make a list of what to consider when upgrading to Business Central for a Teams meeting, you’ll be having tomorrow to convince your colleagues that an upgrade from NAV is needed. Here’s what that list looks like.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a particular segment within the Microsoft software ecosphere that houses their Enterprise Resource Management and Customer Relationship Management software apps. It’s the same concept as Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) housing Microsoft’s Office apps such as Outlook, Teams, Word, and Excel. People tend to get mixed up with the Dynamics 365 name because frequently when upgrading you’ll see Business Central or Sales being referred to as Dynamics 365 even though this is incorrect.

When upgrading from NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central you’ll quickly see that Business Central has a lot more features and functionality. There’s not a whole lot that you have in NAV that you won’t have in Business Central besides objects (more on this later).

Online or On-Premises

Most organizations today are moving toward online software because of fewer upfront costs and the ability to access their environments from anywhere there’s an internet connection. The bulk of upfront costs usually stem from hardware and infrastructure improvements which can be mitigated by subscribing to a software as a service (SaaS) model such as Business Central online. That being said, there is still a place in the ERP stratosphere for traditional on-premises software and Solution Systems has tailored their upgrade paths to accommodate both online and on-premises.


As mentioned before, Objects are no longer available to customize your software if you upgrade to Business Central. What does an organization do to tailor its software? They now use apps and extensions. Microsoft does not allow you (technically you can, but it’s frowned upon) to touch the base code in Business Central, so apps and extensions have to be built to extend the capabilities of the software.

One app extending the capabilities of Business Central is Avalara. Adding tax compliance to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is another example of how it’s built to operate as a holistic business solution. Although some believe they don’t have a tax compliance issue, sales and use tax compliance is something that impacts all businesses. It’s not just about how much (or little) sales tax you owe, it’s about where you owe it. With the rise of economic nexus, online sellers may have sales tax obligations in new states and not even know it — Avalara can help.

Avalara’s SaaS solution, AvaTax, is built to grow with your business through a scalable, flexible service model. Whether you’re a small to medium-sized business or a large enterprise, it’s built to grow as you grow. Watch this quick demo to understand how it can help you automate tax compliance from within Business Central.

As a certified integration with Business Central, AvaTax has been fully tested by Microsoft. What’s more, Avalara maintains the same release schedule to align with Microsoft.

By automating the clear as mud waters of tax compliance, you can spend less time worrying about taxes and more time growing your business. Avalara’s new NAV to Business Central migration tool is available as part of the Microsoft Business Central deployable connector package. Avalara AvaTax customers can download this package from either the Microsoft AppSource store or the AvaTax Integrations page. This way, even if you’re not ready to upgrade, AvaTax customers will be ahead of the curve when they decide to make the move to the cloud. In other words, Avalara streamlines the most tedious and least exciting part of a business: taxes!

To learn more on this, grab your favorite orange cocktail and check out this recent discussion where Karen Brudvig, strategic alliance manager and Dave Bollenbach, sales executive of Avalara, along with Michael Intravartolo, marketing manager of Solution Systems sat down to discuss economic nexus laws, NAV to Business Central migrations, and everything in between.

Upgrades and Updates

Earlier we touched on not being able to modify Business Central’s base code, but we didn’t talk about the reasoning behind this decision. The reason Microsoft has made this decision is that it allows for automatic upgrades and updates that happen quickly. The updates and upgrades are so fast in Business Central online that your scheduled update window can be as little as only a few hours. This is possible because the base code has not been modified by you or your Microsoft partner, therefore, Microsoft can quickly update this code to the latest release without having any issues arise and more importantly without interrupting your business.


Dynamics NAV famously has concurrent user licenses. This means that if you had purchased 50 user licenses but have 250 employees only 50 employees at a time can use the software. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Businesses love this because if they have multiple working shifts, they did not have to purchase additional licenses. For example, the AM shift could use the licenses, and then the PM shift could use the licenses.

Now, take a deep breath, make a promise to finish reading this paragraph, and convince yourself not to panic when you read the following sentence. Business Central does not offer concurrent licenses, Business Central only offers named user licenses. What? How can this be? Business Central is already too costly! Ok, let’s remember the part about not panicking and finishing this paragraph, and you’ll understand this is not that big of a deal. Named users are not a big deal because if you upgrade to Business Central on-premises, for every 1 NAV concurrent user license you have Microsoft will give you 3 Business Central named user licenses. You read that right, 3 named user licenses! If you decide to upgrade to Business Central online Microsoft will give you a 40% discount on each named user license you purchase but wait, there’s more! Currently, Microsoft is running the CSP-ED Renewal Offer to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic which gives you a price point that is 60% lower than the standard commercial price! It just doesn’t get much better than that. Aren’t you glad you didn’t panic and convinced yourself to read through this entire paragraph?


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