Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central launched in April 2018 and then subsequently in July 2018 for Australia and New Zealand, leaving some confusion for existing NAV users (or Navision for you early pioneers.)
Dynamics NAV has been rebranded as Dynamics 365 Business Central to signify Microsoft’s new ‘all-in’ approach to the cloud. While many saw this release as “NAV 2019” there are some fundamental differences that allow an easier transition into the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and its new extensions development.
The good news is that providing you have chosen the right support partner for your organisation, support and licences for your current NAV installation will continue to be available and won’t carry any obligation to migrate to the cloud and use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central until you’re ready
Though it’s true that NAV will eventually be phased out and all users will need to migrate to the cloud solution, good Microsoft support partners recognise that every business has unique circumstances and considerations that determine when such a move makes good sense.
Prepare your business
The main thing to note is that the new SaaS ERP offer is built upon the functionality of Dynamics NAV. This means that the recording, storing, processing and delivery of your business data in a trustable and usable format remains the core objective.
Business as usual is the primary approach. Upgrading to the latest Dynamics 365 Business Central version is a good first step if you’re yet to do so. If you have a large amount of customisation and wish to take things more slowly, there is also a mid-plan transition allowing you to continue business as usual operation on your current NAV release.
This approach also allows you access to reduced license pricing for the SaaS model, giving you to freedom to upgrade in your own time. You will need to ensure you continue to remain active on your current enhancement plan (BREP) until fully migrated to the cloud.
Budgeting is the next thing to look at. Licences will be sold on a subscription basis meaning that there will be no large up-front costs in future. Discussing with a Microsoft partner how the new rate card will look for your organisation will provide some visibility moving forward so you can start to make decisions around cashflow.
What does the future have in store?
The design and aesthetic of the user interface will differ in some ways due to being linked to other SaaS cloud solutions from Microsoft, such as Office 365 and Microsoft 365. It could be that you’ve already upgraded these tools which means your business may be better prepared for Dynamics 365 Business Central than you may think.
Office 365 in particular, provides an early option to begin your journey to the cloud without too much upheaval. Your staff will find that Microsoft’s suite of 365 products operate very similarly and there’s not much training or adjustment required. This baby-step is an excellent one to take as part of a well thought out migration plan.
Consolidation of differing corporate Microsoft Office accounts, setting up trusted or federated domains and reviewing single sign-on capabilities could also be useful early steps on your journey.
The fact remains that there are definite advantages to your eventual migration to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Real-time information flow and 24/7 access anywhere, from any device will empower your staff and increase productivity. Seamless upgrades and integration building through web APIs will save time and resources long-term. Significant reduction of your hardware costs, in addition to bolstered security for your valuable data are just some of the advantages you’ll get straight away.
The major obstacle for many companies reviewing a software upgrade, remains the potential for upheaval, distraction and downtime that such changes have historically presented.
This is where choosing the right partner is vital.
The best thing existing NAV customers can do is engage a Microsoft provider that will not only deliver the support required for your day to day operation but learn about your business and help plot the best upgrade path, which by anticipating and minimising pain-points will make the transition as smooth as possible.
At Acumen, Consulting truly means something. We’ll develop an intimate knowledge of your business systems and processes, determine the most efficient pathway and time-line for your cloud migration and most importantly, support your current Dynamics NAV solution so you can rely on consistent efficiency and productivity long-term.