AL, BC14, BC15, BC16, BC17, BC18, Business Central, C/AL, Cumulative Updates, Dynamics 365, End of Mainstream, Extension, Information, NAV 2015, NAV 2016, NAV 2017, NAV 2018, Navision, on-premises, Online, Updates, upgrade


First released in 1987, acquired by Microsoft in 2002, now called Business Central, Dynamics NAV is one of Microsoft’s most prolific software packages. 

After Dynamics NAV 2018, Microsoft discontinued their popular, but on-premises only, ERP solution Dynamics NAV and replaced it with Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC-13). But what is the difference between the two systems, and why should your business make the switch? Let’s take a look at Business Central vs Dynamics NAV.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV was rebranded in 2018 to Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for on-premises and private cloud versions, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for the cloud version.

At the time of writing this comparison, BC-21 is available in market.

Since 2018, Dynamics NAV is no longer available for purchase. The only businesses that can use the system are those that already held licenses. Even for those who do still hold licenses, the system no longer receives updates, meaning the software will quickly become outdated and harder to use.

Mainstream Support for Dynamics NAV versions from 2013 to 2017 has already ended, with the 2018 version losing support in January 2023. This deadline is fast approaching, so if you are currently using NAV 2018 you should begin to consider your optimal course of action going forward.

With very little time remaining before the end of Dynamics NAV Mainstream Support in January 2023, the sooner you decide on your course of action, the better.

Microsoft introduced Dynamics 365 Business Central. Business Central is a newer version of Dynamics NAV, offering the same standard functionality in a much more user-friendly way. It’s also SaaS (Software as a Service) meaning it’s accessible from anywhere, with the same security that drives Microsoft 365.

In addition to the functions carried over from Dynamics NAV, the Dynamics 365 Business Central system affords users with access to:

  • Integration with Microsoft 365 applications for increased productivity and streamlined data
  • Data connectivity and business intelligence through Microsoft Power Platform
  • Microsoft Azure architecture for cloud security, presence, and scale
  • Increased pool of third-party software integrations
  • Multiple deployment options for on-premises, private server, or cloud hosting

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central helps with day-to-day business processes and operations. Its capabilities include financials, stock management, purchasing and much more, all with real-time data and analytics through Power BI.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is relevant for businesses adopting flexible, hybrid, or remote working models thanks to the scalable, cloud-based architecture and integration with Microsoft 365 and Power BI tools.

It is an all-in-one solution that can be adapted for many industries including software developers, IT services, financial services, healthcare, and educational institutions.

The system also has large user bases in manufacturing, distribution, ecommerce, and retail. 

Features and functions are still the same as back in the NAV days, just with a more digital-focused platform. But still differ from old days Dynamics NAV.

Most of the base code of Business Central has been adapted from NAV, and it has enhanced the rich functionality its predecessor offered, with options to deploy as an on-premises or a SaaS cloud solution.

The Dynamics 365 Business Central web client, including its sisters, the tablet and phone clients (by the way, there is no longer a Windows client) has had a makeover!

Features include new and varied fonts to highlight important information such as a headline banner on the Role Centre, a fabulous teal Role Centre with easy navigation, and interestingly capitalised field names on lists!

They are curiously small differences but really nice touches.

Design Tool it’s as good as it used to be! In fact, it’s a very smart design tool. As a ‘non-developer’ you can amend pages, add new fields and save the result as an extension.

When comparing Dynamics NAV to Business Central, you must be aware of the substantial functional upgrades and new capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics NAV that offers several notable improvements.

You’ll see numerous benefits in your business, including agility, ability to scale quickly, mobility, lower cost of ownership, and more.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central have many similarities, but there are many differences too that make many users move from NAV to Business Central.

You can also choose to deploy Business Central as an on-premises solution if that is a better fit for your organization. However, you may then miss out on integration and cutting-edge features.

While the two systems are similar, there are key differences that make Business Central the preferred option for many businesses:

Business CentralDynamics Navision
 Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based ERP solution.  

With Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can access your data and applications anytime, anywhere, and on any device.  

D365 Business Central includes a comprehensive set of features and functionality.  

Business Central is licensed on a per-user basis.  

With Business Central, you only need to pay for the users who will be using the system.
Dynamics NAV is an on-premises ERP solution.  

Dynamics NAV requires some customization and third-party add-ons to achieve the same level of functionality.  

Dynamics NAV is licensed on a per-server basis.  

Dynamics NAV, you need to pay for the server regardless of how many users are accessing the system.
IntegrationFull (All Microsoft Products)Limited, Version Dependent 
Objects49,999 objects are free to use on cloudObjects need to be purchased for customizations 
Search Interface Advanced, with automatic categorization, smart search (search for misspellings or imprecise terms) Basic, possibility of data duplication 
Reporting Power BI Limited 
Deployment Cloud (No need to maintain servers and backups) although On-Premises option also available.On-Premises, Cost for Server maintenance and backup management.
Improved design
Much easier to navigate.
More productive platform.
 Business Central interface uses AL language in the code.  

Offers more customization than before and helps to make extensions and upgrades much easier to manage in the long term.
Dynamics NAV using C/AL coding
 Better integration with other Microsoft products already used by many businesses, including all applications within the Microsoft Dynamics suite, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM) and Office 365 products, such as Outlook and Excel. 
 Offers more automated operations to improve productivity.  

Native connectivity to Microsoft’s Power Platform (e.g., Power Automate) and powerful workflows and integrations can be created, by end-users without complex coding, sometimes almost no code.
HOSTINGBusiness Central is a SaaS solution – sitting on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, which enables you to specify the region where your data is stored and processed.  

There are many benefits to SaaS solutions,

*  Greater security
* Less risk of data loss and
* Better accessibility for your team.
* Cloud hosting also works alongside the new coding to make upgrades and extensions much easier to carry out.
Only On-Premises capability.

Need to invest in and manage your own in-house servers.
UPGRADESBi-annual release
Sequential upgrades,
Which happen automatically.
Your systems are always up to date.  

With the on-premises or private cloud version of Business Central, upgrades are not automatic but are still relatively simpler compared to NAV.  

Plus, any third-party apps or customizations you have are also designed to be compatible with each new Business Central update.
No Automatic Upgrades.
 Your business is always using the most optimised version of Business Central.Fuss and cost of manually updating the software.
 If you are apprehensive about an update, there is an option to delay its installation for up to 90 days.

However, it’s good idea to staying as up to date as possible. Updates are introduced to improve overall user experience and security.
Hotfixes & Cumulative updates to be handled on own cost.
 Business Central, the modifications are made using AL language that creates extensions – leaving the core system untouched and making upgrades a lot easier.NAV customization was written in C/AL language and was integral to the core system.

This meant upgrades were a major undertaking as the whole system needed to be reviewed and potentially redeveloped.
USER LICENSESDynamics 365 Business Central uses a monthly/annual subscription model and is available in either (‘Essentials’ or ‘Premium’).  

Charges per user, meaning fees are based on the number of simultaneous users each month.  

You also get an option to pay a perpetual license fee. That means you can now Business Central as an operational expense or a capital expense, whichever makes more sense for your business. It also moves from a concurrent user to a named user licensing model.
Perpetual with yearly AMC 16% in license cost.  

Dynamics NAV is available in Starter Pack & Extended Pack.
 Business Central users can also benefit from Single Sign On and usability across multiple devices, and across iOS, Android, and PC. 
 Remote working much easier, especially as the landscape of working life is becoming a blend of office-based and home working.  

Flexible and cost-effective for businesses.
 Now your staff can simply log into the web app from any device to get their job done. This makes the ERP solution much more cost-effective and flexible for your business. 


Many companies have been using Dynamics NAV for years, so Nav users may be a little wary about making the switch to Business Central. But with even more functionality than the NAV solution and with better usability, you won’t regret taking the first step.

While some Microsoft products, like Office 365, can be bought directly from Microsoft, this is not the case for Business Central. Due to the complexity of the product, Microsoft Business Central must be purchased through an approved Microsoft partner.

The Business Central trial takes a few minutes to load, and you can start using the app. 

Dynamics 365 Business Central Licensing

There are two main subscription licensing options:

  • Business Central Essentials
  • Business Central Premium.

To use this ERP software, you must license one of these plans. Both plans are licensed by user and are fast to implement as well as easy to configure. There’s also a ‘Team Members‘ licensing option to add on additional users.

The difference between a full user vs. an additional user:

A full user is someone who will be working heavily within Business Central on a daily basis. These will typically be your customer service employees, sales and marketing staff, finance employees, and supply chain managers.

An additional user or team member is a ‘light user’ or users who do not require the full capabilities of Business Central. For instance, they may need to view data reports, log their expenses or time, and other such activities.

Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials consists of several modules that are considered essential for any business.

Modules included within Essentials:

  • Financial Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Project Management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Human Resources Management

Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium

The Premium license has everything in the Essentials license plus service management and manufacturing.

Modules included within Premium:

  • Service Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Financial Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Project Management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Human Resources Management

Business Central, Information, License, upgrade

Those planning for Upgrade – Some Important Information

As per the roadmap which Microsoft has published for Business Central, it shows that the Business Central product name will be continued for future. It means there will not be a Dynamics NAV 2019.

BC Road-map

Looking at your investment in terms of license and annual BREP, it is sense able to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, whether your solution is deployed in Cloud or on-premises.

Don’t take me wrong I don’t mean to say that Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 for finance and operations, Business edition are now obsolete.

Microsoft is not closing support to these products, it is still available to them. Only any new updates to these solutions we cannot expect any more.

One important note: New customers will still be able to purchase Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 till 31st March 2019. Same concept of concurrent user license with starter/extended pack.

From 1st April new customers will not be able to license NAV 2018, but existing NAV customers using the solution can still be able to purchase additional licenses as per their requirements if any.

If you missed earlier post do check this Link also.


What had changed in license model for Dynamics 365 Business Central


One change that a major one is now no more Concurrent licenses, new license purchased will be for named user.

One user one license, however named user will be able to access the application from multiple devices.

As earlier starter & extended pack was available now it will be Essentials and Premium.

Stander version of Business Central is termed as Essentials while with additional modules Service and Manufacturing is termed as Premium.

When comes to licensing you are not allowed to mix and match essentials & premium licenses, it should be from either of them.

Where is Limited user? Don’t worry it have been taken care as Team Member License. Read access throughout the application and write access to maximum of three tables excluding General Ledger entries.

License can be purchased as Perpetual or Subscription basis.

Licenses for Business Central differ from Dynamics NAV licenses in several ways:

  • Dynamics NAV licenses are calculated from concurrent users, where multiple users can share a license. Business Central licenses, on the other hand, are calculated from named users
  • With Business Central it is no longer necessary to have a Starter Pack. As a minimum, you need a Premium or Essentials user
  • It is only possible to have either Premium or Essentials users in your license. You can purchase Teams Members for both Premium and Essentials licenses.


What deployment options are available?

  1. Perpetual License – On premises
  2. Perpetual License – Cloud
  3. Subscription License – On premises
  4. Subscription License – Cloud
  5. Software As A Service (SaaS)


When you can upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics Business Central?


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is now generally available worldwide for cloud, and on-premises deployments. However you can check if it is available for your country from your local partners.

Local Functionality in Dynamics 365 Business Central

You can go-ahead with upgrade planning whenever you want too. Just get in touch with your current ERP provider.

For free lancing upgrade/development tasks you can contact us too at KSD Consultancy Private Limited. We are taking new project booking till 31st March on our old price, could be fixed or hour basis, which ever suitable to you. You can save lot from your local partners cost.


What’s on offer for existing customers?


Customers up-to-date with their BREP can upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premises using LMT Upgrade.

Due to change in licensing model in Business Central. Below you can see exchange rate from perpetual NAV concurrent license to Business Central named user licenses.

If you have purchased your Dynamics NAV with Perpetual Licencing before October 1, 2018, your current NAV licenses will be converted from:

  • One Full User in Extended Pack to two Premium users
  • One Full user to two Essentials users
  • One Limited user to one Team Member

In addition to the converting of licenses, the licensing setup is different. As mentioned, Dynamics NAV licenses are calculated from concurrent users, where multiple users can share a number of licenses. Business Central licenses, on the other hand, are calculated from named users. The total value of your current licenses will remain the same – even after the conversion.

For more details on Licensing please refer here, make sure you always check with latest version of documents or discuss with your partner for current effective offers.

Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premises Upgrade Policy​

Dynamics 365 Business Central on-premises Licensing Guide

Similar to Dynamics NAV, the functionality of the D365 Business Central is divided into two ‘packages’, Essentials and Premium. The functionality of ‘Essentials’ corresponds to NAV’s ‘Starter Pack’ and the functionality of ‘Premium’ corresponds to NAV’s ‘Extended Pack’

Brief idea as below:

D365 Business Central Essentials /
Dynamics NAV Starter Pack
D365 Business Central Premium /
Dynamics NAV Extended

Financial Management

General Ledger
Cash Management
Fixed Assets

Financial Management Extended

Inter-Company (Essentials)
Cost Accounting (Essentials)

Supply Chain Management

Sales Order processing
Purchase and procurement
Item management
Basic Warehousing

Supply Chain Management

Advanced Warehousing (Essentials)

Jobs and Resources

Job Planning, Budgets and Invoicing
Resource allocations



Management Contacts
Opportunity Management
D365 Sales Integration

Service Management

Service Contracts
Service Items
Service Order Management


Assembly Bill of Materials


Production BOMs
Works order management
Capacity and Demand planning

It will be always advised to verify before you make up your mind. However you can trust to Microsoft links provided in above post.


License, NAV 2018, Tip & Tricks

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 Licenses

You have the choice of purchasing Microsoft Dynamics NAV licenses up front, or paying a monthly fee to a service provider.

Perpetual Licensing:

  • You pay affordable upfront starting price, rapid start tools and built in functionality.
  • You license the ERP Solution functionality, and access to that functionality is secured by licensing users.


Perpetual License Overview

Service Provider’s Subscription Licensing:

  • You have choice to keep the upfront cost to a minimum through a “per user per month” licensing fee.
  • This helps get started with a low initial cost while leveraging the built-in functionality and rapid start tools.


In both licensing models

You have the choice of two Concurrent-user types –

  1. Limited User (Full Read & Limited Write)
  2. Full User (Full Read & Full Write)

Option to give those users access to advanced functionality through the “Extended Pack.”

Starter and Extended Pack License Overview

Starter Pack (Base Pack – Required)

The Starter Pack offers for one price.

  • Core Financials
  • Distributions
  • Professional Services functionality
  • 3 Full User licenses/ Concurrent CALs included
  • Additional Software licenses may be required, like Server, SQL, Office 365, SharePoint. Additional Software must be licensed according to the applicable license terms.

For many businesses, this is the only license component required.


Extended Pack (Optional)

The Extended Pack enables customers to integrate core financials and distribution management with broader functionality extensions such as:

  • Manufacturing to support and control the manufacturing environment
  • Warehousing to manage the warehouse to support operations
  • The first three Full Users included in the Start Pack and coming users get to access to all of the incremental functionality.
  • Starter Pack is the prerequisite to the Extended Pack


Packaging of Functionality

A Microsoft Dynamics NAV customer can choose whether to deploy the Starter and Extended Pack through the

  • Microsoft Windows client for Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Web client for Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Portal framework for Microsoft SharePoint (also known as the Microsoft Dynamics NAV SharePoint client)

All through the same User types.

2018 Functionality -1


2018 Functionality -2

Starter Pack is for companies who need

  • Core Financials
  • Trade functionality
  • Basic Financials Management (General Ledger and Fixed Assets)
  • Basic Supply Chain Management
  • Basic Sales Management (Sales, Purchasing and Inventory)
  • Professional Services (Project management)
  • A broad set of Business Insight and reporting functionality as an integral part of the product.
  • A wide range of tools to customize the solution, to meet the needs of every customer together with deep integration opportunities to be made through web services.


Extended Pack is for growing, midmarket, or high-functional-needs companies who are looking for an adaptive solution with a broad set of functionality:

  • Warehousing
  • Manufacturing
  • It comes with additional customization objects for doing more extensive customizations.



Page Designer

  • Change existing pages and enables you to create 100 page objects (included and numbered from 50,000 to 50,099).
  • The Page Designer also enables you to use the Navigation Pane Designer. This means, for example, that you can create new menu items.
  • This module does not include access to C/AL from pages.

Report Designer

  • Change existing reports and create 100 new report objects (numbered from 50,000 to 50,099).
  • This module provides access to C/AL (the C/SIDE application language) from reports used for defining special calculations and business rules.
  • Create new reports from scratch or copy an existing report to use as a starting point.
  • This module enables you to take advantage of the functionality included for developers in the Navigation Pane Designer (for example, creating new menu items).

Table Designer

  • Change existing table definitions and create ten new tables (numbered from 50,000 to 50,009).
  • You can change properties on fields, such as the field name, decimal places, and maximum value, add new fields to existing tables, and create new tables to store data specific to your business.
  • Create keys for sorting information and change or create new FlowFields and FlowFilters for “slicing and dicing” information in new ways.
  • This module does not include access to C/AL from tables.

XMLports (100)

  • Create new or change existing XMLport objects.
  • XMLport Designer provides access to C/AL (the C/SIDE application language) from XMLports used for defining special calculations and business rules.
  • Every XMLport object in Microsoft Dynamics NAV is created using this tool and can therefore be customized easily.
  • This module enables you to create 100 new XMLport objects (numbered from 50,000 to 50,099) and to take advantage of the functionality included for developers in the
  • Navigation Pane Designer (for example, creating new menu items).

Query Designer

  • The Query Designer provides the ability to modify existing queries in the application, as well as create up to 100 new queries.
  • The Query Designer is the main tool for creating objects of the type Query.
  • Query objects retrieve subsets of data spread across the database and are data pumps for various places within the application such as charts and business logic.


Application Builder (A la carte)

  • Change the business rules and special calculations that work behind the scenes. Business rules and special calculations are defined in C/AL (the C/SIDE application language).
  • Although this granule includes access to C/AL, it does not permit access to existing C/AL code that updates write-protected tables (for example, postings).
  • With Application Builder, you can create entirely new areas of functionality for your application, enabling you to tailor Microsoft Dynamics NAV to fit your entire organization.
  • It also enables you to create 100 codeunit objects (numbered from 50,000 to 50,099).
  • You can also take advantage of the functionality included for developers in the Navigation Pane Designer (for example, creating new menu items).


Solution Developer (A la carte)

  • Change the business rules and special calculations that work behind the scenes. Business rules and special calculations are defined in C/AL (the C/SIDE application language).
  • This module provides access to code that updates write-protected tables to the Merge and Upgrade Tools.
  • You can also Change or create any object type, Use the menu options Translate/Export and Translate/ Import in the Object Designer.

(These options are not available with the Application Builder module).


Application Objects

Codeunits (100)

  • 10 Codeunits are included in the Starter Pack
  • 10 Codeunits are included in the Extended Pack.
  • Additional groups of 100 are available in the Customization suite.

Reports (100)

  • Additional groups of 100 are available in the Customization suite.

Tables (10)

  • 10 tables are included with the Extended Pack.
  • Additional groups of 10 are available in the Customization suite.

XMLports (100)

  • 100 XMLports are included with the Extended Pack.
  • Additional groups of 100 are available in the Customization suite.

Queries (100)

  • Additional groups of 100 are available in the Customization suite.

Pages (100)

  • 100 Pages are included with the Extended Pack.
  • Additional groups of 100 are available in the Customization suite.


For more details you can check here.