How Do Customizations Impact Business Central Upgrades?

How Do Customizations Impact Business Central Upgrades?

Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) was easy to customize. The benefit was that your business processes did not have to conform to how the software worked. Instead, you could modify the software to your business processes.  This was accomplished by partners (and some customers) accessing the base code of Dynamics NAV. All code could be modified, and was, to suit the needs of customers.

The downside to this method of modifying products is that when Microsoft updated the base application, any customization modifying or dependent on code Microsoft changed often required reworking customizations and add-on products.  Whenever a new version of NAV was released, the customer and their partner had to work together to isolate where these customizations were located, upgrade the base code, and re-introduce the customizations and ISV products into the upgraded software. Over time and after multiple upgrades and customizations, this could become expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone.

Figure 1 – Dynamics NAV model: Customizations and add-ons modify portions of the base NAV code

Enter Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC). Microsoft rearchitected the product and introduced Events, Extensions, and the AL development environment. Events and Extensions using AL provided the ability to add customizations without modifying the base code. This means the base application can be upgraded separately from the customizations, paving the way to a genuine Software as a Service (SaaS) model where BC can run in the cloud and be updated automatically with no involvement by the customer or their partner and no impact on customizations or third-party add-ons.

Figure 2 – Business Central model: Customizations and add-ons run externally to the base application code

The Caveat

For Business Central, the customizations need to be developed and deployed correctly. Customizations should be cloud-optimized and developed in compliance with Microsoft’s Universal Code Initiative to prevent code conflicts during an upgrade.

Another thing to be aware of is obsoleting and deprecating code in Business Central. Microsoft may rework some code for better performance and functionality as the product improves. When they do, they will mark the code as obsolete, typically 2 years before deprecation, so developers have ample time to adjust their code accordingly.

Even with these stipulations, the pain of upgrading customizations is nothing like years past. So, go ahead and customize away! Make the software work for you and your business processes, taking comfort that if they are cloud-optimized, they will likely upgrade with no issues.

Next Steps

To learn more answers to your upgrade questions, download this free eBook, Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Business Central: Everything You Always Wanted to Know…but Didn’t Know to Ask.

Considering an upgrade? Start with a free upgrade quote from ArcherPoint.

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