How to modernize your legacy applications while migrating to the new Microsoft D365 Business Central?

29 Sep, 2021
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In our earlier blog, we talked about how migrating to D365 Business Central can be beneficial to ISVs. In this blog, we explain more about the changes in the previous functionality of the Microsoft platform and the steps to take when migrating to it.

Migrate, extend or implement?

There are tens of thousands of customized solutions built on top of AX and NAV that are still widely used by more than a hundred thousand businesses across the world. What should these businesses that use the applications built on the Microsoft legacy products do?

Some may choose to continue with the existing ones, as long as Microsoft supports them. Some may choose to extend the core functionality that is supported; some others may have to re-implement their solutions completely using the newer solutions. Some businesses that rely too much on legacy products that will not be supported after a few months, need to invest significant time, money, and resources to transform.

Whatever the path the businesses choose, sooner or later they are all moving their products to cloud and are transforming digitally to be more agile and respond faster to the needs of the customers. They will eventually pick products from the platform or add products to the platform and become part of the communities using Microsoft platforms. The next paragraphs elaborate one how these changes are taking place.

What’s new in D365?

Here are some of the major functional changes in D365:

  • Dynamics GP and Dynamics SL functionality was replaced by Business Central
  • AX functionality has been moved to D365 Finance & Operations and from on-prem to cloud
  • NAV functionality was replaced by Business Central and moved from on-prem to cloud, though it still supports on-prem deployment
  • D365 for sales & marketing moved from on-prem to cloud
  • Talent, Project Automation, and Services has a new, cloud-native functionality
  • Azure cloud integrates all the other services like Power BI, Azure AI, ERP, and CRM products.
  • New apps that extend or customize the existing ones are being added to Microsoft AppSource, the new App store for business applications

What does this mean?

The new Business Central brought many more architectural changes to the product space. Some of them are listed below.

  • The code has been separated into base code and addons or extensions. We can no longer change or customize the base code but extend it with an addon.
  • Business logic has been moved to a separate layer. A separate communication layer now offers extensions.
  • The architecture has been built on new programming languages. We can extend the functionality of any product using events and API extensions

We are Listening 

Migration Solutions built on legacy Microsoft to Business Central is many times not difficult, but in some cases where the solutions are highly customized, the migration is tricky and risky. Then, you need a strategy. Here are the steps you need to follow.

  1. Break down your standard offering bundle into modular components. You can probably upsell/cross-sell parts of it.
  2. The good news is the parts of the current application supported by the base code of D365 BC need not be upgraded.
  3. Some code customizations can be extracted as events. You can add hooks that act as extensions to standard events using txt2AL.
  4. Rewrite the rest of the code manually using AL
  5. To comply with Microsoft Governance standards, clean up the code manually, run unit tests and regression tests before deploying them as extensions to AppSource.
  6. Migrate application and client data using options such as Intelligent edge, Rapid Start Services, and Power shell scripts.

How can we help you in this journey?

ISVs may not reap up the benefits of upgrading if they take too long to upgrade. They may even lose many business opportunities too. The only way to upgrade faster is by collaborating with tech experts. We have vast experience in upgrading current Microsoft NAV applications to D365 Business and the new Microsoft Cloud Systems. If you are an ISV seeking to adopt the latest updates smoothly and efficiently, here’s what we can do for you so you can focus on your business better.

  • Standardize the parts of your applications supported by the new systems.
  • Customize your applications by building extensions. This makes the code modern, scalable, and future-proof, and your applications can reach wider users through AppSource[DK1] .
  • Add AI, ML capabilities to your products with Azure to offer data-rich, cognitive services.
  • Break the silos! Integrate your platforms both horizontally and vertically with the new D365 platform to deliver a seamless customer experience.
  • Shift your on-premise applications to the cloud. Converting them to SaaS generates new and continuous revenues though you have to forgo one-off licensing income. Moreover, the new cloud system eliminates piracy issues and security threats.

For more details on how to customize or upgrade your business processes and systems using Microsoft solutions, talk to us at

Divya Prathima
The author was a java Developer at coMakeIT before turning into a stay-at-home-mom. She slowed down to make art, tell stories, read books on fiction, philosophy, science, art-history, write about science, parenting, and observe technology trends. She loves to write and aspires to write simple and understandable articles someday like Yuval Noah Harari. We are very happy to have her back at coMakeIT and contribute to our relevant and thought provoking content.

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