With the release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 last month, you may want to start thinking about an upgrade path to the latest features and functionality. The good news is upgrading and updating has gotten a whole lot easier.
Upgrading is no longer the painful, tooth-pulling problem it was in the past, which used to require a full system upgrade at best or at worst a re-implementation every two to three years. Today’s Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution is easier to maintain and update. Gone are the days of a full-blown system-upgrade with harsh penalties of system downtime.
Re-imagine Dynamics NAV Upgrades
Creating a routine to keep up with the monthly Microsoft Dynamics NAV upgrades, also known as Cumulative Updates, can decrease the cost of your upgrade overall. But this means you must have a solid plan for regular maintenance activities, instead of planning for a disruptive system-wide upgrade every few years. What does a routine maintenance plan look like?
Routine Maintenance Tasks
- Schedule SQL Server updates (timed with annual releases).
- Run Windows updates regularly.
- Stay up-to-date on NAV Cumulative Updates & major version releases.
Best Practices for Dynamics NAV Cumulative Updates
- Stay within 2 Cumulative Updates of the current update.
- Understand the implications of each Cumulative Update (i.e. will it require a database upgrade?).
- Time your Cumulative Updates within business cycles.
- Always test Cumulative Updates before deploying in your live environment.
- Know your Cumulative Updates by staying informed monthly with the Dynamics NAV team blog or contact your Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partner to learn more.
Plan for Annual NAV Version Release Upgrades
- Plan your annual NAV upgrades alongside other system upgrades.
- Schedule your annual upgrades over the weekend to minimize disruptions.
- Leverage Microsoft in-house Upgrade Tools to make annual upgrades easier.
Consider further integrations with each annual upgrade (e.g. Office 365, Dynamics CRM, etc.
If you are unfamiliar with or need help with any of these recommended maintenance tasks, updates or upgrades, reach out to your reliable Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partner.
If you aren’t currently working with a Partner, we’d be happy to guide you and help you through any or all of these activities.
The shift to routine maintenance and annual upgrade cycles provide you the opportunity to optimize your Dynamics NAV solution with the latest functionality and best performance enhancements available on the market. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017, upgrading got a whole lot easier with improved Events & Extensions, as well as many other upgrade tools.
However, if you are currently behind on NAV upgrades, now is the time to eliminate the inefficiencies in your system and with your upgrading practice. You can eliminate the need to toggle between system to compare differing business data. You can further integrate your Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution with Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Power BI and more so that you may provide a more comprehensive experience for employees, while reducing inefficiencies. And you can make the move to the cloud with Microsoft Dynamics NAV on Microsoft Azure to reduce costs and provide predictable expenses without the ongoing expense of maintaining an in-house server infrastructure. To learn more getting your outdated Microsoft Dynamics NAV system up-to-date with the latest technology, download our popular guide — The Ultimate Microsoft Dynamics NAV Upgrade Guide.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 Improved Upgrade Tools
Microsoft’s In-house Dynamics NAV Upgrade Tools
As previously mentioned, Microsoft bestowed upon the Dynamics NAV community potential one of the greatest gifts they have given – Microsoft’s own Dynamics NAV internal Upgrade Tools. These are the very tools the Microsoft Dynamics NAV worldwide team uses to maintain their in-house Dynamics NAV system. These are the exact tools that the Microsoft Development Team leverages to maintain their NAV code base worldwide, while localizing it into 25 different languages. And you thought your system was complex! These tools are irreplaceable and help make your upgrading process most efficient.
Dynamics NAV Native “Smart” Merge Tools
With the latest versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft has included tools to compare your version with the base version of Dynamics NAV, producing a delta file, which is then applied to your target version. Now you can use Windows PowerShell cmdlets to compare different Microsoft Dynamics NAV application objects to easily identify the differences.
These native Dynamics NAV “smart” merge tools can identify the exact differences to help you complete merges more effectively, which will help you reduce the number of manual merges required and help your customizations merge seamlessly into new versions.
Improved Powerful NAV Extensions
The power of Extensions in Microsoft Dynamics NAV was amplified in 2017. Extensions make it easier for you to deploy, manage and upgrade customizations without directly altering the source base code of Dynamics NAV. What does this mean? It means moving forward, even with a number of customizations in play for your Dynamics NAV solution, your annual upgrades become easier and easier as these Extensions sit alongside the NAV base code, rather than in a customization within the code. Essentially, you eliminate the need to merge code moving forward (with some exceptions).
With every new release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, these Extensions become more powerful as the opportunity to convert more customizations to Extensions becomes greater with the increasing sophistication of this NAV upgrade tool.
Leveraging Events for Insights
Events in Microsoft Dynamics NAV have also made great strides to make annual upgrades for Microsoft Dynamics NAV easier. Events make the impact to affect the business logic of Extensions. In other words, an event subscriber determines what action should be taken in response to an event that has been raised. Therefore, the event subscriber subscribes to, or listens for, a specific event to be declared.
There are different types of events, such as: Business Events, Database Trigger Events, Page Trigger Events, etc. The great impact Events have on your Microsoft Dynamics NAV system is their ability to take action on your behalf to make a change based on a declared event. This eliminates manual work and automates standard practices.
Re-Think Your Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 Upgrade
I hope this post has helped you to re-think your past or current Dynamics NAV upgrading methodologies. The truth is, there have been some drastic changes to how we upgrade and even what is really defined as an upgrade over these past few years. You must evolve to the incremental annual release cycles and month Cumulative Updates, as well as your routine maintenance tasks, so that you can take advantage of the exciting new features, functionality and upgrade tools available in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 today.
There are far more benefits to stay current with your NAV ERP solution than there ever were in the past with outstanding cost savings, improved productivity/enablement, cloud compatibility, through supply-chain integration and much more. Download our latest guide, How to Future-Proof Microsoft Dynamics NAV to learn more – click here to download!