There are great reasons to update your ERP system, but which is the best option for you? Upgrade or re-implementation? As always, it depends…

Whether you’re keenly aware that an update is overdue, or feel like there’s no particular hurry to upgrade, part of being in business is staying abreast of that fast-moving tech world.

Change is inevitable, but it can be hard too. Along with juggling all the other demands of running a business – not to mention a global Pandemic causing untold disruption – it’s easy to see how the odd ERP update or two could fall by the wayside.

Could that be why, according to Microsoft’s numbers, more than two thirds of Dynamics NAV users are running out-of-date versions of NAV?

This is unfortunately true, despite the fact that older versions aren’t even supported by Microsoft, are certainly less feature-rich and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers significant improvements on old versions?

The hesitancy is understandable – upgrading can be a time-consuming and costly process for any business however the rewards in terms of increases to productivity and profitability should be enough to stimulate action.

While it’s no great sin to skip an update once and a while to catch up on the next version, remember: the longer you wait between updates, the slower, more difficult, and more costly your update – or customisation process – will ultimately be when you make the inevitable leap.

But which upgrade path is right for your business?

When it comes to updating your business’s ERP solution, there are two distinct routes. Which you choose depends on your needs.

One method involves moving to a newer ERP version, transferring data as needed and merging customisations onto the new system – that’s upgrading. Upgrades are often faster and less expensive than re-implementations, but that can vary.

On the contrary, re-implementation describes the fresh installation of the latest version of an ERP software, subsequently creating new databases from scratch on the new system.


While complete upgrades can be technically more complex, they are usually focused on a simple and specific goal: getting the business onto a new version of the software.

This is a key distinction to make, because it follows that other potential goals of the company – such as improved business processes and sharpened KPIs – is not the primary purpose of the project. Rather, a safe, stable transition to the new version of the ERP software is the name of the game.

From an end-user point of view, upgrades don’t require as much input. As mentioned earlier, upgrades can be faster and cheaper (sometimes, though not always), although upgrades often work best when data is well organised to begin with and little customisation of the system is required.


On the other hand, re-implementations (i.e. implementing the software with a blank database) are all about the business improvements that can be achieved with an ERP system overhaul.

Potential improvements depend on the business itself, the industry in which it’s operating, where it is in its growth cycle, plans for the future and a host of other factors. Because re-implementation begins with a ‘clean slate’ so to speak, the resulting systems can be more flexible and run faster than upgrades, and be tailored to whatever specific business-problems or goals need to be addressed.


A note on costs: while it’s a common misconception that re-implementations are more expensive than upgrades, this isn’t necessarily the case.

In fact, costs of both re-implementations and upgrades can vary wildly, depending on your requirements, scope and the nature of the business problem being addressed. While a successful upgrade might be viewed as a ‘necessary expense’ to maintain a current investment, a successful reimplementation can deliver significant ROI.

Reimplementation? Look for the signs

So what are key signs that it’s time to reimplement? It’s all about change.

  1. Has the way the business uses Dynamics NAV changed significantly since it was implemented? Is the original implementation still fit for purpose?
  2. Is your current ERP solution outdated?
  3. Are there excessive or unnecessary customisations that are getting in the way of doing business?
  4. Has the business pivoted since implementation?
  5. Has the business grown, changed focus, entered a new market or undergone reshuffling?
  6. Are there customisations to the system that no longer serve their purpose?
  7. Are there new options on the market which could improve the business’s operation?

Partner with the pros

If you’re looking at upgrades or a reimplementation of your ERP, you’ll do better by choosing the right implementation partner.

Reimplementation could be as simple as deploying Acumen’s 365 Business Central “In a Box” solution with an accompanying scalability strategy.

Alternatively our 365 Business Central “Easy Upgrade” pathway could be just the ERP spring clean your business needs to embrace change, growth and achieve future business goals.

At Acumen, we’re the experts in Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and can precisely tailor the perfect ERP solution for your business. It’s Business Time.

TAGS | Dynamics 365 Business Central

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