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Business Central Upgrade - Hours

  • 1.  Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    Posted 15 days ago

    We are a manufacturing company looking at upgrading to Business Central from NAV2016 sometime next year.  We have a fair number of modifications (probably a little above average) but no 3rd party extensions.

    What's a reasonable expected range of time in hours a partner would need to spend on upgrading to Business Central?

    ------------------------------
    Maria Avery
    Controller
    Compax
    Salt Lake City UT
    ------------------------------
    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 2.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Edited by Robert Jolliffe 14 days ago
    Hi Maria,

    There are basically 3 types of labor hours involved in an upgrade.

    1) Programming: This is where a NAV Developer takes your code (now in C/AL which is the 2016 programming language) and converts it to work with BC. NOTE: Some partners are still writing it in C/AL which remains part of BC through to version 14.  Others might edit the BC 15+ AL code directly if they haven't embraced extensions.
    2) Conversion: this is where the NAV database is converted.  If you had zero customizations, this is controlled by the size of the DB (deleting unused companies can help make this faster).
    3) Testing: This is where you test the system. Some customers are great at this (usually they know what was customized, how it should work and why it was done that way) while others are not so good.  If you don't know (or people don't know) what is base NAV and what is customized - this can be painful.

    1 is highly variable and as a general rule of thumb (back of the napkin) about 15 minutes per modified object is a close approximation. So if you open the NAV Dev environment, choose the "All" objects, and Copy / Paste into Excel you can filter on "Modified = Yes" and multiply (*edited) the count of those objects x .25 it'll be close.
    2 depends entirely on the size of the DB.  For a 5 Gb DB I'd say 6 hours.  For every additional 5 Gb add 3 hours.  This does depend on the speed of the server and a lot of factors but it's close enough.  Double this time (you need to convert 2x - once to test and again when the testing is done).
    3 is very time consuming. Most partners don't have a process to make this easy for you. We are really working on how to make sure you know what to test and give you some guidance to do the testing.  If the partner helps - it can be a money pit.

    I hope that helps.


    ------------------------------
    Robert Jolliffe B.A.Sc, MCSE, MCS - NAV Manufacturing Expert
    President
    Sabre Limited
    Cambridge
    robert@sabrelimited.com
    www.sabrelimited.com
    ------------------------------
    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 3.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Robert-

    Would this hold true for NAV 2015 also. I don't what programming language NAV 2015 is in. But we do have modifications, I am not sure how many. If I follow your instruction above in the NAV Dev Environment I will be able to find out correct?

    Thanks

    ------------------------------
    Randy Duly
    Bulldog Battery Corporation
    Wabash IN
    NAV 2015
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 4.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Yes Randy - it should be pretty much the same.

    Older versions like 2013 and 2009 would be different as Reports are different in those versions and upgrading them can be a huge pain.  I would do an hour per report from 2013 and 2009 RDLC and 2+ hours for 2009 or earlier CLASSIC reports (although you can offset that with some of the ISV reporting products that are designed to migrate the older report formats from Classic NAV)

    ------------------------------
    Robert Jolliffe B.A.Sc, MCSE, MCS - NAV Manufacturing Expert
    President
    Sabre Limited
    Cambridge
    robert@sabrelimited.com
    www.sabrelimited.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 5.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Maria,

    This blog will give some more insight: https://www.archerpoint.com/blog/Posts/upgrading-microsoft-dynamics-nav-business-central-how-long-will-it-take

    As indicated in the other replies, there are many factors that come into play, including

    • How many customizations you have
    • If you want all of your historical data or not
    • How big is your database
    • If you want to move to SaaS or stay on premises


    ------------------------------
    Suzanne Scanlan
    Marketing Manager
    ArcherPoint Inc.
    Crestview FL
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 6.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Great feedback from @Robert Jolliffe on determining the volume of mods on your system.  I feel that 15 minutes is optimistic on the conversion to extensions, but I am comparing our mods (1000+) in our NAV 2018 environment, some of which are rather complex.  We have mods that would take 5 minutes to convert, but there are some that take a good 4 hours due to multiple factors.  The fact that you don't have any 3rd party add-ons makes that 15 minutes even better for you, though.

    But having gone through over a dozen upgrades/reimplementations/implementations within our business, one factor that is consistent throughout is that all projects have unplanned costs.  There will be setup challenges, UAT that drives additional development, functionality that doesn't neatly convert over that requires starting over, and other issues that will be billable.  ​ Robert's points on database conversions and testing are spot-on, too.

    In short, there isn't a solid answer here, but I'm going to wing it for you here.  Licensing and maintenance costs aside, If you are going to rely heavily on your partner, have 50 users, and 100 mods, I would think you are 4 months and $50k.  Happy to talk through this with you - we are a manufacturing company and have been through this many times over.

    ------------------------------
    Anthony Darden
    Vice President - IT
    Protective Industries, Inc.
    Buffalo NY
    NAVUG All-Star
    NAVUG CIO Council
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 7.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    We were quoted 1000 hours and 4 months. It took 3000 hours and 10 months. We have been live since the end of September. We have put in another 1000 hours since then and we are still not fully implemented (we still have bugs and missing features that were available in NAV). Actually this is about what I said would happen. My boss did not believe me when I said to multiply the quote by 7. I know how difficult a highly customized NAV is to convert to AL. We went Live on Spring 2019 BC. Hindsight being 20/20, we should have done a code merge and then started the transition to extensions. Too many things were missed and that has hurt our business. We are getting back to normal, but it is a slow painful process. Unfortunately, our customizations are industry specific and necessary. The good news is once this is back to normal, we should be able to upgrade fairly easily. The bad news is the next upgrade will eliminate the desktop client. Heavy sigh...

    ------------------------------
    Gregory Alford
    Director of Technical Resources
    Tri Star Metals LLC
    Aurora IL
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 8.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    @Greg and @Anthony,

    I don't do much development any more as I try and manage more and do less (unfortunately even before COVID-19 I never got to Golf anywhere near as much as I thought I would owning my own business ;-) #IMissGolf) - but when Sabre started working with AL I decided I would begin the process and figure it out so my developers couldn't pull the wool over my eyes.

    I did the first couple of conversions myself or at least I jumped right in to do it.  This might be hard to believe, but a good developer can move code from ​C/AL to AL faster or as fast as they can merge the code from C/AL to C/AL.  This is particularly true with Tables and Pages - a bit less true with Code Units.  Reports are also very easy.  If the customer has done a lot of .NET code in their C/AL and they are going to stay on-prem that is trivial. If you are moving to the cloud then converting .NET code can get pricey.

    There are some tools out in the market  (mostly/all free) that do a very good first approximation of creating an extension from C/AL code.  The benefit to the extension is that when testing, users can turn off the extension in real time and see if it- or something they are doing - is the issue they are experiencing.

    If it is your first time working with extensions, and you are learning as you go, then it will definitely take longer.  We did some fixed fee first C/AL to AL upgrades because we didn't want the customer to pay for our learning.  But now that we've done a few - we are getting pretty good at it.  The benefits of being able to know, 100% for sure that your underlying code from Microsoft is right is a huge plus.  It makes debugging a lot easier.

    There are some disadvantages over the old way, but I am no longer going to "mark up" upgrades if I move from C/AL to AL compared to moving from C/AL to C/AL.  After some more attempts we might even find that it is cheaper for the customer - but we're not there yet.

    We are by no means the super stars for upgrades - there are some businesses out there that only do upgrades. I'm sure they have their own opinions about this - and to be frank we don't generally get into the 1000 hour upgrade so there may be things there that are way more complicated than we run into.

    I hope that helps.

    -Rob

    ------------------------------
    Robert Jolliffe B.A.Sc, MCSE, MCS - NAV Manufacturing Expert
    President
    Sabre Limited
    Cambridge
    robert@sabrelimited.com
    www.sabrelimited.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 9.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    One more thing I forgot.

    Business Central 14 - which you can sitll license through to mid September, 2020 - still has the Role Tailored Windows client as an option.  We are suggesting that upgrading to this version now - to let things settle in and give your users a bridge to the web client - is the best way to go.  By the time you upgrade next year, BC 15 or 16 will be forced on you and users will have to learn the new client simultaneously with testing an extension to make sure it works.

    Our cloud customers with extensions have virtually no testing between upgrades (the ones Microsoft pushes out).

    I STRONGLY recommend upgrading to BC 14,  testing and validating extensions in the familiar environment of the Role Tailored Client - then training the users on the Web Client.  Otherwise you will get MANY MANY false positive test results - which will incur LOTS OF COST!

    Thanks again!

    -Rob

    ------------------------------
    Robert Jolliffe B.A.Sc, MCSE, MCS - NAV Manufacturing Expert
    President
    Sabre Limited
    Cambridge
    robert@sabrelimited.com
    www.sabrelimited.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 10.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    We agred @robert. We really wanted to migrate and stabilize on the desk top client due to familiarity. We will target the new client as next year's challenge (it would have been this year, but we are impacted by coronovirus). That will just give us more time to finalize the upgrade we just went through.​

    ------------------------------
    Gregory Alford
    Director of Technical Resources
    Tri Star Metals LLC
    Aurora IL
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 11.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 9 days ago

    We just started working on BC14, on premises, upgrade with our partner, from NAV2018 (we've done prior upgrades from NAV2009 and from NAV2015).  The story has been similar each event;

     

                175 user license

                ISV's – Lanham E-Ship, E-Mail, Labels

                Zetadocs Capture Plus

                InsightWorks Shop Floor Insights, Mobile Warehouse Data Management

                Solutions Systems Sales Tax

                Jet Reports/Analytics

                Additional integrations to;

                            UniPoint

                            Salesforce

                            StockIQ

                            CHR

                            SharePoint Reporting Services

                           

                791 custom and/or modified objects

     

                Our partner does not upgrade any custom / modified reports, we handle those internally

     

    Our project will run 4 – 6 months, after our partner gets us a test environment we'll spread testing over a couple months.  In the end we'll spend probably $75K on our partner and other ISV's.  For our NAV2018 upgrade is was $68K, NAV2015 upgrade was similar. 

     

    John Bellinger
    Business Systems & Applications Manager
    Office: 952-392-3912 | Cell: 612-719-0289
    Activar, Inc.
    9700 Newton Ave. S. | Bloomington, MN 55431
    jbellinger@activar.com | www.activar.com




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  • 12.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 8 days ago
    @Johm,

    Make sure your partner is converting your code to AL.  Otherwise you'll be in for another $75,000 upgrade in the future.​

    ------------------------------
    Robert Jolliffe B.A.Sc, MCSE, MCS - NAV Manufacturing Expert
    President
    Sabre Limited
    Cambridge
    robert@sabrelimited.com
    www.sabrelimited.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 13.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    Posted 11 days ago
    Being one of the Dynamics NAV/BC upgrade centers, I thought I'd add my 2 cents here.

    Some excellent points were already made here. Our rough estimates for data migration are very close to Robert's and depends on the mentioned factors. Estimate for upgrading modifications can be very different for two solutions with the same amount of modified objects simply because every modification is different in its complexity and its purpose. We run detailed estimates per each object because of it. Using multiples per modified object may give a good idea (I understand that's what you're looking for now) but I'd advise against signing on such estimate. Over the years I've seen too many simplified multiple estimates that turn out to be off by a few hundreds of hours and thus leading to missed budgets and deadlines.

    Our average technical upgrade + test data migration estimates on the last 200 upgrade estimates was 664 hours. This number excludes UAT, additional development, training. This number does not give much since it includes projects of 30 hours (BC on-prem without modifications) on the lower end and we had 3,000 hour projects on the higher end.

    We are actually compiling a longer blog post to share about our timing for upgrades to BC, I'll include a link here once it's published. In the meantime, if you are planning to do the upgrade yourself, we'd recommend starting with:

    How to move standard modifications to events: https://simplanova.com/blog/dynamics-365-business-central-events/


    ------------------------------
    Petras Butėnas
    Founder
    Simplanova
    petras.butenas@simplanova.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 14.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 9 days ago
    As Robert Jolliffe noted, the window to perhaps an easier and cheaper upgrade, commit before fall 2020. https://www.archerpoint.com/blog/Posts/upgrade-microsoft-dynamics-business-central-14-while-its-still-cheap

    ------------------------------
    Jon Long
    Director of ArcherPoint-Upgrades
    ArcherPoint Inc.
    GA
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 15.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 8 days ago
    Everyone seems to be recommending BC14 and an object based upgrade.  This is simply delaying the inevitable, which is a move to Extensions.  If you are on NAV 2015 or later, there is nothing forcing you to upgrade this year.  Take your time and make the jump to a full extension model.  Yes, it will likely cost a bit more, but you are going to have that cost whether you upgrade to BC14 or not, so don't pay twice.

    Once you are on Extensions you can literally upgrade every year with very little cost and effort.  If you upgrade to BC14, you are not only 2 versions back but you are locking yourself into waiting another 3 to 5 years to upgrade again PLUS the sunk cost of your object based upgrade to 14.

    Everyone has to make the choice that is right for their business and you should listen to your partner based on their comfort level, but it is really hard to read all of these suggestions for upgrading to an old release to avoid the move to Extensions.

    ------------------------------
    Ben Baxter
    Consultant
    Accent Software, Inc.
    carmel IN
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 16.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 8 days ago
    Hi Ben,

    I want to be clear.

    I do NOT RECOMMEND OBJECT UPGRADES any longer, to anyone.All upgrades should be C/AL to AL.  However - it is a lot easier for the average customer to do a side by side test of their system when both the old system and new system are in Role Tailored Client.

    If I have a Sales Order Entry clerk running in NAV 2016 with a lot of customizations added their workflow, it is MUCH EASIER for them to test BC 14 Role Tailored client (most have 2 screens now) by opening a "Sandbox" NAV 2016 on screen 1 and their upgraded Sandbox BC 14 on Screen 2 and then run the same order through in both.  They can double check that the fields and actions are both there.

    When we do this - WE ALWAYS DO SO WITH EXTENSIONS. Our experience having done a handful of these upgrades is that converting to extensions might actually be easier than an object upgrade.

    IF they did the same thing with NAV 2016 on Screen 1 and BC 15 Web Client on Screen 2 - there will be many differences.  They are subtle if you've used the Web Client a lot - but they will need a lot of coaching to find even uncustomized things at first.  Unless a trainer sits with them the entire time they test - they will report all the "differences" to the upgrade team.  This causes developers to possibly be drawn into time consuming wild goose chases.

    This isn't about having C/AL available. This is about having the RTC available.

    Our approach with upgrades is to not sit with the clients and help them test.  That is very costly, and does add some value but it can also drive the cost way up.  However because we are not sitting with them, they do raise false positives alot - even with a RTC to RTC test.  Our goal is to change as few things at a time before we move on to the web client.

    I hope that clarifies things.

    -Rob

    ------------------------------
    Robert Jolliffe B.A.Sc, MCSE, MCS - NAV Manufacturing Expert
    President
    Sabre Limited
    Cambridge
    robert@sabrelimited.com
    www.sabrelimited.com
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 17.  RE: Business Central Upgrade - Hours

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 8 days ago
    Upgrading to BC14 is an option that will likely be the best option for 80% of customers until fall 2020.

    While the measure of benefit over upgrading to BC16 is debatable, it depends on whether their ISV's are ready for BC16.  Also, most likely, refactoring ALL C/AL to AL requires a longer project simply due to the time it takes to refactor, manual testing and risk of missing functionality that requires added cost and trade-offs in the middle of an already arduous and costly project.

    As an upgrade geek, I would agree, upgrading to the latest version is always my choice.

    The decision is really up to the customer and how much cost, risk, uncertainty and disruption they are willing to absorb in one project. My opinion is that BC14 is a great place to "acclimate" to BC. From there, they can upgrade to BC16 or BC17 anytime or even BC23 in a couple years.

    Come fall 2020, this conversation is moot.

    ------------------------------
    Jon Long
    Director of ArcherPoint-Upgrades
    ArcherPoint Inc.
    GA
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


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