At ABS, our team frequently works with customers who are using legacy versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. These NAV users, for various reasons, reach a critical point at which they begin to weigh the pros and cons of remaining on their legacy system or upgrading their NAV solution.
We could tout the advantages of the latest NAV version until we’re blue in the face, but we understand that upgrades can be expensive, they can be painful, and they can be disruptive to your organization. Because of this, we work with our customers to find the best solution for them.
The question we get all the time is this:
Sure, it’d be nice to upgrade NAV to the latest version, but what are the consequences of doing nothing?
If we choose not to upgrade, is it just business-as-usual or is there a real downside to staying on an old version?
Here are some of the possible outcomes your organization could run into if you “do nothing” and hold off on any NAV upgrades.
This blog post will touch on the main issues you could face, and we’ve also put together a free eBook that you’re more than welcome to download and share with your colleagues.
What are the potential consequences of choosing not to upgrade NAV?
If you have an old version of NAV and are wondering what it will mean to your business if you wait to upgrade, here’s what you can expect:
You’ll be accumulating technical debt
Every time you pass on an upgrade, you're accumulating technical debt that will at some point need to be addressed. In other words, you’re pushing your problems to the future instead of dealing with them in the present.
You’re playing with fire when it comes to your IT security
There are a lot of security issues today that didn't exist when your version of NAV was designed. The new software addresses these dangers, but if you’re on certain versions of NAV, Microsoft no longer offers support, so your IT defenses are weakened.
Your system performance will deteriorate
As with any system, performance inevitably degrades over time. Your infrastructure atrophies and you’ll encounter more and more technology that’s simply incompatible with your outdated solution.
Your employee productivity will suffer
If your employees are being faced with system issues that slow them down, they’ll have to waste otherwise productive time in their workday to solve them. This can have a ripple effect across your whole organization, not just your finance department.
Your users will try to create workarounds, which leads to inefficiency and siloed information
If the software starts becoming less useful to employees , they'll resort to creating workarounds. Whether that means they'll start to do things in an inefficient manner or they'll start using outside software, you’ll be faced with a situation with siloed information. This goes against the philosophy of ERP software where you want everything contained and visible in one system.
Your software won’t work with current technology
If new technology is incompatible with your old system, you’ll miss out on new features and functionality that your competitors have access to. Forward-thinking technology is designed and written forward and not backward for outdated systems. By remaining on a legacy solution, you make it much more difficult for your organization to remain competitive.
You’ll face hardware and server limitations
If your server crashes tomorrow and you’re on a legacy NAV solution, you can’t just purchase a new server because, again, the technology being created for today’s market isn’t written to be backward compatible. You’ll have very limited hardware and software options as you look for something that works with your old NAV software.
You can’t take advantage of add-ons
Due to version incompatibility, you can’t simply plug in apps, add-ons, or extensions. You’ll have to rely on custom code and individually tailored solutions for your system, and this is a much less cost-efficient route.
It’ll be harder to find support from NAV partners
The older your software is, the harder it will be to find someone who can support it. You have a dwindling pool of support because experts on older versions of NAV have either retired, moved on to newer software support roles and therefore lose familiarity with your solution, or can only offer limited assistance due to a static knowledge base.
You no longer have Microsoft’s support
When your legacy NAV software reaches the end of life cycle support, Microsoft no longer offers updates or security patches. For a deeper dive into this, here’s a great resource to check out. Essentially, when you buy a Microsoft Dynamics solution, you have a ten year support life cycle. For the first five years, Microsoft will actively publish hotfixes, service packs, cumulative upgrades, and enhancements to the software. After that, for the next five years they only provide occasional security updates but nothing beyond that.
You accumulate bad data
During NAV upgrades, your data will be cleaned up, so by putting off an upgrade you’re also putting off a data cleanse. Incorrect data can create inaccuracies in reporting, and it prevents you from making optimum business decisions.
You begin to experience “ERP bloat”
NAV is known for being very easy to customize, and while that is a powerful selling point, if handled incorrectly it leads to ERP bloat. What’s more, depending upon the way in which your customizations have been coded, it takes longer and longer to upgrade that code into new versions.
If you wait too long, you’ll have problems upgrading your C/AL code
Microsoft's new development paradigm for NAV software has changed significantly in recent years, so if you wait too long, you’ll experience an issue with migrating legacy C/AL code. For now, you can still upgrade to Business Central “version 14” which works with two types of code: the old C/AL code and the new AL code. By October 2020, version 14 will no longer be available and if you move to Business Central you will be required to move to a version that only supports AL code. As a result, if your system uses C/AL code, you have a narrowing window of time before your upgrade gets complicated. For more information on this, check out this blog.
As you can see, there’s much that you need to consider as you decide whether or not to upgrade your NAV software. For a more comprehensive answer to the question, “What are the potential consequences of choosing not to upgrade NAV?” you can download our free eBook, Failure to Upgrade NAV, that discusses this topic further.