A Look at NAV to BC Upgrade Costs and Predictions

Petras Butėnas

Founder

Topic: Business

Date: 16 Jun 2021

With the ongoing shift to web client and extensions model, you may have noticed that carrying old NAV customer functionality and data to Business Central has become more challenging every year and the trend seems to be going upwards. Migrating your customers is becoming more expensive each year as many Dynamics Partners have observed. Our data also reflects the change in project sizes though we believe the trend is about to reverse and would like to explore why.

 

How big are the upgrades to Business Central now?

Simplanova provides a free fixed price upgrade quote and analysis for Dynamics Partners and every year we quote hundreds of Dynamics NAV solution upgrades. Our average quote size for custom upgrade in 2020 was 695 hours which is +44% higher comparing to 2019 which in turn is +51% higher comparing to 2018 (note: this is a simple average and the amplitude could be anywhere from 80 to a few thousand hours). The steep growth is observed because back in 2018 we had very few quotes for moving code to extensions and events, and over time we started having more and more of them, and lately – majority of the migration quotes require C/AL to AL code conversion. The deadline for the last license upgrades to BC 14 C/AL version is near (October 2021) so we see very few quotes to the last C/AL version.

 

Why have the upgrade cost to Business Central risen

The challenge in upgrading customized customer objects comes not only from the changes in functionality but also from the major change in UI (web client), programming language (C/AL to AL) and the whole development environment. Some may think that using automated txt2AL tool should cover most of that but there are still many areas to fix after using the tool: breaking changes, file management, tempblob issues, automations, menusuites and moving standard object changes to events manually. All of this combined takes a lot more time to fix if we compare it to for example an upgrade from NAV 3.60 to NAV 2018.

 

Predictions for the near future

For those who remember the introduction of NAV 2009 and the RTC client and the struggle to upgrade – we are seeing a very similar situation right now. Back in those days, the upgrade costs rose sharply and it seemed that it will stay that way. However, over time the upgrade cost actually went down to the point where we can say it‘s relatively easy to upgrade from NAV 3.60 to NAV 2018. This hapenned mainly because of the upgrade knowledge the community gained over time and upgrade tools that become available. As of writing this, I can say that we are observing a similar quotes‘ time trend shift with the upgrades to Business Central. The cost of upgrade is becoming lower – because of the knowledge base we‘ve built by performing numerous C/AL to AL upgrades; because of improvements of our migration tools and because of Microsoft improving txt2AL tool. We are reviewing and lowering our quotes to match the decreasing time for upgrades and I could safely bet that overall we are on a trend for lowering quotes further.

 

What solutions can we use now?

If you are looking to upgrade your customers now, we suggest considering our free solution analysis and quote service. Upon discussing your customer’s solution, we can help you find the best path to upgrade the customizations and identifying the challenging and most time consuming areas. This would help you create a strategy for your customer’s object migration.

Alternatively – consider a fresh start + new development. Remember the 695 hour average custom upgrade quote and the trend upwards? The clean-start average quote was just below 80 hours in 2020 and with the release of a process automated clean-start service this month – the cost is now down by at least 25%. You may check our instant online calculator for quotes.

And finally, there are more changes coming by the end of this year that will decrease the cost of upgrade significantly – we will keep you posted in the coming months.