If you read our previous blog post on a Phased transition to Business Central SaaS (if you haven’t yet, you really should read it😊) you would have noticed that we refer to Dynamics 365 Business Central in the Cloud (Microsoft’s Software as a Service solution or ‘SaaS’ for short) as to the Eldorado, or destination of gold and eternal bliss. However, if your current version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV is very outdated, you may wind up in a Sisyphean whereabouts, rather than Eldorado. In this blog post, I’ll share the best upgrade approach for very outdated Dynamics NAV solutions so that they can effectively move to the latest version. We call this upgrade concept a - “Clean Start”, aka clearing the path to Eldorado…

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP “Clean Start” Approach

Many of the Microsoft Dynamics Partners and their customers that we’ve worked with at 1ClickFactory were on severely outdated Microsoft Dynamics NAV versions. Oftentimes, organizations running such outdated versions, do not see a viable means of getting their solution up-to-date and back on track because the upgrade becomes too complex and too expensive, as many customizations in the solution are not relevant any more or have been replaced by standard Dynamics 365 Business Central functionality.

This is where the “Clean Start” upgrade model for Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions comes in. So, ‘what exactly is a “Clean Start”?’ I hear you say! A “Clean Start” is a service to migrate outdated Business Central solutions to an updated version of Business Central without any customizations.

At 1ClickFactory, we prepare and supply the data migration tools that greatly help Microsoft Dynamics Partners to migrate customer data from any older version to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

If add-on products (i.e. ISV solutions) were used in the previous outdated solution and are available for the newer version, then these can also be added during the upgrade project.

When we migrate solutions to Business Central SaaS, this migration is performed in two steps – a test migration followed by a live migration:

Step 1: 1ClickFactory removes all customizations from the solution and moves only data into Business Central SaaS.

Step 2 (Optional): If there is any need for development based on design documents, then 1ClickFactory can support this with extensions development services for Business Central SaaS

Step 3: When the customer and the Microsoft Dynamics Partner have tested everything and agree on a go-live date, then 1ClickFactory performs the live data migration, which includes intelligent cloud sync, and then the customer can start using the Business Central SaaS solution.

How to Support Business Central Customizations?

Does the “Clean Start” migration support customizations? As I mentioned previously, a “Clean Start” is an upgrade migration of data only, not functionality. Obviously, we understand that most companies would like to keep their previous customizations, if they are still in use, to preserve the functionality that was built into their old environment. Given this, after the data migration, we recommend that the Microsoft Dynamics Partner follows the process below to support the upgrading of customizations:

  1. Work with the customer’s end users to identify what functionality is missing and what additional data is needed.
  2. Create the missing functionality as an extension, then allow the end users to review it by using their own data.
  3. If required, the Microsoft Dynamics Partner can easily add fields, upgrade reports (e.g. invoices or sales orders) and even add functions from current customer solutions to simplify daily work.

In many cases we’ve found the data migration, functionality review and re-development takes much less time than upgrading customizations in situations where the customer solution is very outdated, as described above.

If this situation sounds familiar and you have customers running very outdated versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we have a three-step plan for you:

  1. Upload your solution to the Upgrade Analyzer to receive a fixed price quote for an upgrade (available for the fall release starting from October).
  2. Request a FREE DEMO for your customer‘s Dynamics NAV 2013 (and later) data migration to standard Dynamics 365 Business Central provisioned on Microsoft Azure.