Should You Re-Implement or Upgrade Microsoft Dynamics NAV?

December 20, 2023 Greg Williams

The world of technology is constantly moving forward, leaving businesses with a feast of new opportunities to increase their efficiency, delight their customers, and expand to new markets. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is different today than it was ten years ago. The potential for growth is greater than ever before. But, even though change is inevitable, it’s not always so easy figuring out what shape that change should take.

Should you upgrade Dynamics NAV? Should you try a Dynamics NAV re-implementation instead? And what exactly is the difference between the options?

NAV upgrade vs. re-implementation: what’s the difference?

Western Computer offers three options, each of which has benefits best suited to different circumstances.

  • Complete Upgrade: A Complete Upgrade involves a total upgrade of all Dynamics NAV objects, including reports. This includes the option to bring forward ALL of your historical data, both good and bad. This can be great if you need access to all that detailed history, but can also slow down the process of looking it up.

    A complete Dynamics NAV upgrade doesn’t require as much work on the user end but involves a lot more work for the developer.

  • WC Fresh Start Upgrade: The WC Fresh Start Upgrade for Dynamics NAV upgrades data and tables, but does not upgrade other objects. Since more recent versions of Dynamics NAV offer a lot more functionality than older ones, customizations that businesses have been using in the past may not be necessary if upgrading.

    A WC Fresh Start Upgrade gives you the opportunity to test out the newer version of Dynamics NAV with your current data and work alongside a Western Computer consultant to figure out which customizations need to be maintained, and which can be dropped as a result of increased functionality. The WC Fresh Start Upgrade requires less work from the developer but does need the user to be more engaged in the review process in order to ensure the correct customizations are moved forward into the newest version of NAV.

  • New Start Upgrade (Re-implementation): When re-implementing Dynamics NAV, you start with a relatively clean slate. Some limited data can be migrated over to the new system, such as master records and posted sales invoices, but some data will either need to be stored in a data warehouse (a process Western Computer can help you with), or left behind. The benefit to this is that you no longer have to work around any corrupt data and can move forward with a more efficient system built according to current needs.

    A New Start Upgrade for Dynamics NAV involves a lot of effort on the user end, especially in thinking strategically about what current and future needs are and how to adapt to them most effectively. But this ownership on the part of the user also drives down costs over the long term, as they become an expert on their own implementation of Dynamics NAV, reducing reliance on outside consultants over time.

Dynamics NAV upgrade options at a glance:

Dynamics NAV upgrade options

Making the decision: real-world case studies

Complete Upgrade: American Ring

American Ring workers

American Ring knew that they had to adjust to the demands of the modern marketplace, but their Dynamics NAV was a patchwork of band-aid solutions from over a decade of incremental adjustments. In order to stand out in the area of customer service, they realized they needed to implement a complete upgrade.

They worked hand-in-hand with Western Computer to discover which products and solutions work best to fulfill American Ring’s needs while minimizing customizations that would become costly to upgrade in the future. As a result of the upgrade, American Ring not only saw reduced IT costs due to the eliminated need to implement quick-fix solutions to an aging system, but they also experienced increased efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness—all major parts of their goal of being known for having the best customer service of any business in their industry.

Re-implementation: Earth Island

Person slicing a tomato next to a jar of Vegenaise

When Earth Island, a manufacturer of plant-based food products, originally wanted to upgrade Dynamics NAV, they realized that a complete upgrade (their original first choice) was not only out of their hoped-for budget range, but also not necessarily the best for their business moving forward. With this in mind, they worked hard to figure out what a NAV re-implementation would look like for them. Could they do away with the customizations they’d come to rely on in the past? Did they have the will and the know-how to take on more responsibility for NAV internally? Did they have the flexible thinking to assess their own business processes in light of new technology?

The answer was a resounding yes. Earth Island invested a significant amount of time and energy into looking at its internal processes and procedures and identifying areas in which they could be adjusted to the Dynamics NAV workflows. This, in turn, resulted in 99% out-of-the-box functionality, enabling Earth Island to focus on their core business rather than tweaking individualized solutions to each individual problem.

By choosing to re-implement Dynamics NAV with a New Start Upgrade, Earth Island saved $100,000 and improved its own tracking and efficiency as well.

Whether you choose an upgrade or re-implementation, keeping your systems up to date saves you both money and time.

Fear of the unknown is a natural reaction to change, but in the business world, an aversion to change can only hold you back. Working with experts who have been through the process before can ease that anxiety and help you move forward with confidence. Curious about what the process of upgrading Dynamics NAV might look like in your own business? Western Computer can help. Let’s talk—together we can find the solution that’s tailored to your needs, today and in the years to come.

About the Author

Greg Williams

As Western Computer's VP of Strategy, Greg Williams is responsible for aligning the company's product and service offerings with customers.

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