Mainstream support for Dynamics NAV 2013 ended back in January, 2018. This means that Microsoft will no longer offer any bug fixes and patches, end-of-year service packs, or support. In addition, all third-party compatible apps will no longer update. However, those who purchased extended support from Microsoft will continue to have NAV 2013 support until 2023. In regards to NAV 2009 R2 (and older), Microsoft stopped supporting them in 2015, allowing for purchase of extended support through 2020. Even if your business currently has the extended support for these older systems, the clock is still ticking.
At Sikich, we want to support your older Dynamics systems as long as we possibly can, even independent of Microsoft’s support plans. Of course, we try to encourage our clients to stay relatively current with technology. This is mainly because as time passes, it will become increasingly difficult for us to provide any support for older systems. The older a system is, it’s less likely to have any support at all from the publisher, which invites disaster to these users, both on a security and an operational stability level.
If your business is growing or evolving, you will keep running into architectural bottlenecks with your older software. These settings might have been fine back then, but as you have grown as a business, you’ve outgrown your software. It’s similar to needing new office space or a completely different office location to accommodate your business growth. You’ve outgrown your last space and now your software, too.
What’s Next for Dynamics NAV?
In a previous post, we discussed the onset of Dynamics 365 Business Central, which is based upon the NAV 2018 code. Business Central is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) option for NAV, but it’s not an on-premises replacement for NAV. Dynamics NAV 2018 is still an on-premises solution. Eventually, however, Microsoft will rename it Dynamics 365 Business Center (DYN365BC), but it will still be, at its core, on-premises NAV 2018. Basically, NAV 2018 is the last NAV version to ever be called “NAV.”
Regardless of its name, you will still have a NAV product, and this NAV product now has a cloud, SaaS option.
Visit Microsoft’s Business Central website to learn more about this product, especially when it comes to the improvements over older versions of NAV.
Upgrade or Re-Implement?
The answer to this question starts with where you are coming from with your base NAV product. If you’re currently using NAV 2009 and you want to go straight to NAV 2018, either SaaS or on-premise, you have quite a bit to consider. For instance, any customizations your business has in place really need to be brought forward at this point. It’s strongly not recommended, with software this old, to do a straight-up object upgrade. If these customizations are not updated at a code level, it’s highly possible that with every upgrade cycle of the software, especially for SaaS, that these customizations will break each time. It’s true that a technical upgrade of NAV will be far quicker than a re-implementation of the system, but doing so really only delays the inevitable. If you want to go the SaaS route, you must re-implement instead of a simple upgrade.
If your business is currently using NAV 2013, then a simple upgrade is absolutely feasible.
Key Considerations When Upgrading
First and foremost, ask what your desired end-state for a software system would be. What do you want an upgrade to do? What are you unable to do now? What business improvements are you looking for? Answers to these questions will lead you down to what software system your particular organization needs.
Next, consider on-premises versus a cloud solution. Is now the time for your business to move to the cloud? Are you ready for an SaaS model? Do you prefer a private cloud system, something in between on-premises and full SaaS? Look into your cash flow for on-premises servers as well. Is it worth the money to upgrade tens to hundreds of servers to the new system, or is it more cost-effective to use SaaS on the cloud? Remember, with SaaS, you’ll never have to maintain your own servers again, as that’s part of the monthly service fees. In addition, SaaS also won’t potentially break any customizations you have in place.
Training is another factor you must consider. If your staff is used to a decade-old system, they will need extensive training on the new system. The good news is that the learning curve should be rather easy since it’s a different version of the same NAV system they all know and love. We can tailor any training to your office’s schedule and needs.
If you’re running on the extended support provided by Microsoft, you have time, and you don’t have to make a decision right away. However, you still need to call your Sikich Client Account Manager and find out what steps you need to take. If you aren’t one of our clients, we’re still more than happy to help you get through the NAV end-of-life cycle. Contact us today to get more information about Dynamics NAV, the upgrade/re-implementation process, and/or a SaaS solution that best fits your company’s needs.
Want to learn more? Check out our full webinar regarding end-of-life planning for Dynamics NAV below: