Upgrades from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Business Central can take a very long time! Skilled technical resources are required, and often the return on investment is simply not there to justify the project.

This is the frequent feedback we receive from our partners on this subject.

On the other hand, it’s clear to everyone that those left behind will be more and more difficult to bring forward if we wait. Hence we need a faster, more cost effective way to upgrade everyone to Business Central and leave nobody behind.

PrintVis made this into our “summer project” and are happy to share that we found a way to do it!

What we did is develop a wizard-guided, step-by-step process that allows non-programmers to run the upgrade. The target audience are power users and consultants with an interest for technology.

How did we do that?

Let’s summarize the the tricks we did to make the upgrade easier in a few simple topics.

Table Mapping

To start, we make use of a fairly undocumented part of the Microsoft Cloud Upgrade Toolkit called “Table Mapping.” This allows you to migrate custom data from your old C/Side system to an extension – without having to deal with extensions in the old system. We have recorded a video explaining how to do that.

Code Generation based on Metadata

Ok, this sounds more complicated than it actually is, but effectively it is possible to scan your NAV database for customizations and to generate the code that is required to bring this forward to Business Central.

We do that in two steps, one of which we wrote ourselves – and one we “borrowed” from the community.

What we wrote ourselves is a means of making sure your data will be migrated safely to Business Central. For that we generate the Table Extensions.

Partners can leave it with that, and together with the customer go through their daily processes and see where they may be missing certain fields and repair these in workshop sessions.

Alternatively, you an run external tooling to generate a Per-Tenant Extension that already contains Page Extensions & Reports. For this you can use the converter from fornav.com free of charge. The benefit of using this tool is that it will also scan for code customizations and suggest where you need to find events in PrintVis and base Business Central. These suggestions act as a to-do list and help scope the project making it more manageable and cost effective.

Both for On-Premises and Cloud

The primary reason for upgrades being perceived as too expensive is that before we move to cloud, most of the work happens on-prem.

Our approach is exactly the opposite, as we leverage the strength of the Cloud Migration tooling from Microsoft – making it much more cost effective and far less technical.

Running Business Central in the cloud, managed by Microsoft, is included in the price of your subscription. If you decide to run on-premises or in a private cloud, the cost of running this platform is added to the total cost of owning the system.

For this reason we expect the vast majority of customers to choose the cloud managed by Microsoft.

If you want to run on any other platform you can still use this upgrade path and download the .bacpack from the Admin portal, and attach it to a multitenant PrintVis system.

We will soon blog more about doing that.

Where can I find all this information?

We decided to hide this content in a very public place; github.com/printvis. Here you will find a repository called PrintVis.CloudUpgrade that contains a manual and the code you need.

We’ve also added a special container for this in our Knowledge database. To access this database you need to sign up as a PrintVis partner or have a customer on an active enhancement plan.

You can watch a video with the whole upgrade process here, in a simple How-to video:

Last but not least, we will discuss this process in the next Developers Open Office session this Thursday, October 14th 2021 at 16:00 CET. This is for PrintVis Partners only.