Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision)
Why is upgrading so complicated and why does it cost so much are common questions that companies ask when they prepare to upgrade their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System. The truth is upgrading is not that complicated and a relatively straight forward process for companies that regularly perform upgrades. One of the great strengths of Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) is that it was designed to be customized without breaking the upgrade path. It may be one of the few business management systems that can make that claim.
Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics NAV always begins with a database analysis through either the Developer's Toolkit from Microsoft or the Mergetool from Mergetool.com. These tools are designed to do a three way compare and merge between the old and new version of the software from Microsoft including third-party Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) as well as the client specific customizations that are to be upgraded. It is a common misconception that customizations must be manually moved from one version to the next since the automated tools accomplish approximately 95 percent of the migration of custom code automatically.
It is important to ensure that whatever partner assists a client in their upgrade project is using an automated tool suite. It is impossible to accurately and quickly evaluate thousands of lines of code manually. The automated tools reduce the amount of required manual intervention to a minimum and manageable amount.
Once a customer approves an upgrade a partner will take a test database and perform the code merge to bring forward custom code to the latest release. After the merge process is complete another Microsoft provided tool the upgrade toolkit is loaded and run in the database to perform the necessary data transformations that occur from one version to the next. It is critical that each step of this process is timed since this process will be rerun on the actual cut over date to bring a client up to the new release in their production environment.
Now that the merge is complete, the upgrade toolkit has been run and timed the partner performing the upgrade will deliver the upgraded test database for the customer to start validating. It is recommended a client spend approximately thirty days validating that the upgraded database functions as intended and that the data migration was accomplished without issue.
At the conclusion of client testing a weekend is typically selected for the upgrade to occur. The process starts with picking up a new database at the close of business on a Friday, the upgraded code applied, the upgrade toolkit rerun, and the final production ready database delivered back sometime Saturday or Sunday. Upgrades that are performed and planned well shouldn't have any impact on the operational activities of a company. Upgrades should be nonevents and if they are not usually points to issues in planning, executing, and/or client testing. We have done countless upgrades where most client employees were not aware that an upgrade had occurred unless there was some new functionality that they were leveraging in the new release.
Hopefully we can demystify the upgrade process and help Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) clients understand that upgrading does not have to be overly costly or complex. There are ways to reduce the cost of your upgrade, check out this page to learn more.