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MSDYN365BC - Upgrade to Business Central Now.

Hi Readers,

Hope you are doing good and staying healthy and safe during this Pandemic.

Today I wanted to discuss and share about Licensing for Business Central and how it effect your upgrade decision.

** All the information shared in this article is based on what is current available from Microsoft and my analysis of that information. Please reach out to your partners for confirmation.

** I am not an licensing expert.
If you have questions after this article, please read till end. A Webinar is schedule for Licensing Q&A. 

I am sure that everyone is aware about Modern Lifecycle Policy for Business Central. If you are not aware about it read here.

In Summary what is means that Every Version of Business central starting BC 2019 Wave 2 (15.x) will be supported for Next 18 Months.
(6 Months - with features / bugs / regulatory fixes and 12 Months - with bugs / regulatory fixes)

Additionally Microsoft have N-2 Licensing Policy which means a product version can be purchased * till Next 2 versions are released.

That means you can only Purchase* Business Central 15 (BC2019Wave2) till 17 is Released.

What Does that means?

As far as I understand N-2 Licensing Policy applies from Business Central 13 and Higher, which means it applies to all Business Central Releases.

So if you are currently using any NAV Version till NAV 2018, if you don't upgrade till October 2020 then your upgrade will be on Business Central 15 or Higher.

How Does that Impact You as Customers?

  • Last version where C/AL and AL is supported is Business Central 14.
  • Last version where Windows client and Modern Client is available is Business Central 14.

Why upgrading to Business Central 14 is important?

  • Business Central 14 is Supported till October 2023.
  • ISV Dependencies.
  • User Transition from Windows to web client.
  • Converting / Rewriting customs to AL can be done at your own leisure.
  • Training your Users about what's coming with Next upgrade.
  • DotNet / Automation Rewrites.
You may have ISV / Addons which are not available as extension which are critical to execute your business processes.

I still remember when NAV 2013 was released and customers were upgraded, almost everyone wanted to use the classic client and it was not available. We are going through that transition again where users are comfortable with windows client and it will take time to transition them to Modern (web) client.

You have customs to support your business needs. We all know that we should be converting those mods to Extensions and some of them may require a rewrite and testing.

Why Microsoft is Releasing versions so Quickly?

Do you know when was your Microsoft office application or Windows was last upgraded? => No.
Why Because you it doesn't matter, it happens in background and you don't need to worry about it.

Following the same principal, Once you convert all your customs to Extension your base Business central upgrades will be a non-event for you. You can upgrade anytime you want.

It will save cost, time and effort once your customs are out of Base Microsoft Product. So I will not worry about how frequently Microsoft is releasing new versions once I have all my customs in Extensions.

I Should Wait and Plan my Upgrade once all this change is settled? 

To start with that will be a completely Wrong approach and here is why.

This change is not like our last change from Classic to RTC? 

Even than customers who waited in Pre NAV 2013 version are still there and missing out features in product. We still do upgrades for customers from version 3.7/ 4.0 / 2009. Those customers and users have hard time to adapt all changes after upgrades.

Why this change is different?
The Earlier change was only about the client from classic to RTC and some behind the scene changes from Forms to Pages.

During this jump other than client change, we are also talking about moving all your mods/customs from base C/AL Objects to a new programming language AL. 

But that is partner problem, Why should I worry about it?

That's correct but you do care about money, time and effort that you will have to pay for upgrade. And not to mention in some cases dropping or rewrite of functionalities. 

If your partner have to upgrade you from NAV 2009 to Business Central 15 or higher they will have to do all custom conversion to extension in one upgrade which is Expensive & Time Consuming.

Customers and Partners will have to work together to take the best decision for you.

But we can keep customs in Base Business Central 15 and higher (on-Prem)?

Yes you can, but neither Microsoft and nor me recommends that.

If you keep your mode is Base AL code (on-Prem) you will be those customers -
  1. Who will feel that pain of Modern Lifecycle.
  2. Who will have to pay the same cost of future upgrades.
  3. Who will have to do this in future if you plan to move to SaaS.
If you start modifying base AL you will have to pay same cost and spent same amount of testing time when you do a Cumulative Update or Major Upgrade, as all mods need to be remerged.

If you start modifying base AL and you plan to move to SaaS after 10 Years, then you will have to remove all mods from Base AL as BC Online does not support any mods in Base Application.

If you are a partner, then think about this - if a customer reports an issue you may fix it in a minute but you cannot deploy that in customer production during working hours as you will have to upgrade the Base extension whenever any changes are done in the Base App.

We are on NAV 2018 which support AL then why we should upgrade to BC 14?

Yes, NAV 2018 support AL programming and you can do all your eventing in NAV 2018.

But No. of events that are available in Business Central 14 are way more than NAV 2018. With this being said Business Central 14 provides you more possibility before you plan to rewrite that functionality in NAV 2018.

What Do you Recommend to convert all custom during Upgrade to BC 14?

Not exactly.
You can upgrade to Business Central 14 with customs as it is. 
Once upgraded you can work with your partners to strip out customs from base incrementally. 

Not to forget - This is also a great opportunity to review your custom functionality and take forward what you exactly need.

What is Best case Scenario?

The best case scenario before we move to Continuous Upgrade Model is in Business Central 14 all your customs are converted to Extensions and then you can upgrade to any future version with minimum or no issues.

Last but not least - 
  • During this change don't rush and develop one big extension of all your customs. 
  • You should be developing your extension based on features / functionality that you added in the product to run your businesses like apps.
  • Apps should be standalone functionality (like mobile apps) which can be turn on/off or removed when you need it. 
  • Refer Waldo Post for Dependency Analysis.
  • Read Jon Long Blog about same topic.
It will also make your life easier with new Model. 

Do you still have questions ? 

Join me with Jon Long & Luc van Vugt in next Arepoa Webinar (Panel discussion). If you would like you are also send questions in advance.

Register Here.

Remember Apps / Extension should not depend on each other. They should be individual units of custom functionality to cater a business requirement. 

Tip - one giant custom may have issues in future.

If anyone want me to discuss more about Multiple apps vs Giant Extension Please let me know as comment to this article. 

Let me know your views as comment to this article.

Saurav Dhyani


  1. Great post, but I would not agree to avoid dependencies. You need to manage your dependencies well, that's true. They can be helpful (e.g. to avoid code duplication). I think Waldo gave a good talk about dependencies at Techdays last year.

    Best regards,

  2. Great overview indeed. I would be glad to join in a discussion about giant app vs several minor apps. Positives and negatives. Especially if you want to register it/them in App Source.

    In terms of technical code maintenance, for sure several minor apps seems more reasonable choice. This allows you to write repeatable code and think more generic small solutions. I have to admit that I am not sure how this would look like if intent to register as a one "solution" (containing all those small apps) in App Source. It should allow you to have all those small Apps as one in the store (currently during the offer publishing I think you are able to point out only App, Test App and Library App).

  3. Hello Sir,
    We are upgrading BC On-premises v13 to BC v18. I have gone through the MS Document and your forum with two step i.e.., BC v13 to BC v14 and BC v14 to BC v18.
    We got stuck on v13 to v14 upgrade process. There is no clear steps to follow and little bit confused to step forward.
    Could you please provide a step by step process to follow and achieve this v13 to v14 upgrade process.

    1. Hi Raja,
      What is confusing in these steps. They are clearly defined in this article -


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