The Importance of an Upgrade Subscription Plan (Get Current, Stay Current)
Microsoft continues to improve Dynamics NAV, adding new features, functionality, and performance improvements with every release. As changes happen fast, having the ability to keep pace with the technology while overcoming the obstacles to upgrading is the key. So how do you develop a plan to keep pace with Microsoft and the Dynamics NAV technology enhancements?
One way is to get into a comprehensive upgrade subscription plan.
Your upgrade subscription plan should include annual upgrades so you have the option to keep up with Microsoft’s annual release plan. Typically, we recommend our clients upgrade to a new NAV version no sooner than one to two months after its release date. A good measure is after Cumulative Update (CU) 1, and even better, once CU2 is released.
Speaking of cumulative updates, Microsoft has committed to releasing monthly enhancements to Dynamics NAV. They include fixes to newly identified issues, and they are often released with new features, improved performance enhancements and updated technology capabilities. By keeping up with Microsoft’s CUs, you are not only taking advantage of the improvements, but you are also in essence “upgrading monthly.” This means that those annual upgrades will be less painful, less expensive, and much less disruptive to your organization.
Ideally, moving all your NAV modified base customizations and ISV solutions that modify base objects to “Events” is the utopia (keep in mind that the ISV may not be on this ideal migration path). By doing so you eliminate modified base objects in NAV. This is an important factor when discussing upgrades, since having these modified base objects in your NAV database adds complexity, time and cost to an upgrade project. User testing and issue resolution become significant components of the project. The downside of course, is the time and cost to convert your customizations to Events. So what is the answer?
Moving Customizations to Events
The most effective way to reach NAV utopia is by doing so incrementally; that is, by converting only those customizations to Events that create conflicts during the upgrade. In this way, you can get your customs moved to Events over time, as they run into conflicts with the manual merge tools, each time making your upgrade more and more streamlined with less disruption to your organization. It is a plan that works. In addition, it is something that can be baked into your upgrade subscription plan.
Automated Test Processes or Test-Driven Development (TDD)
Another important consideration is to automate your test processes with automated test suites, referred to as Test-Driven Development (TDD). This can significantly reduce your user testing time and thus disruptions to your organization. Using the monthly-released, automated test suites by Microsoft and customizing them for your environment is well worth the investment. However, the investment could be significant. What are your options?
If you do not want to incur the upfront investment to move to automated test suites, see if you can embed the cost in your upgrade subscription. Again, if utopia is your goal, incremental enhancements and directives may be the best way to get there. What this means is that, no different than the incremental move of modified base objects to Events, when conflicts arise with the manual merge tools, you can incrementally create automated test suites for those code conflicts once refactored. The upgrade subscription plan simply helps you spread the cost over time.
For more information on the benefits of a comprehensive upgrade subscription plan, and how to keep pace with the technology changes in Dynamics NAV, contact an ArcherPoint upgrade expert today to find out how we can help.