Our Fool-Proof Guide to Migrating to Dynamics NAV

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In the world of technology, few things can be as daunting as migrating to new software. Whether you’re migrating to a new version of a program you’ve used for years, or are migrating from one application to another, the process can be fraught with difficulties. From the complexity of the application and associated data to finding the right implementation partner, the more complex the software, the greater the likelihood of problems you might face.

While spending a day or two tracking down issues on a personal computer or a single workstation may not be the end of the world, experiencing show-stopping issues with the software that runs your business can be catastrophic. This makes it imperative to properly prepare for the upgrade process before migrating to the latest version of Dynamics NAV.

So with that, here are some issues to be aware of, and common steps to take, when migrating to or upgrading your current NAV installation.

Prepare Your Data

In the age of big data one thing is certain: data can get out of control. Databases can easily become bloated and filled with obsolete information. Not only can this greatly increase the time a migration takes, but there may be unforeseen complications if there are conflicts in the data, or the storage scheme.

As a result, one of the most important steps you can take is to do some spring cleaning to your data before beginning the migration process. Dynamics 101, a Rand Group Knowledge Center, highlights two important steps to take to ensure your data is ready to be migrated:

  1. “Compress the ledger data. Dynamics NAV provides several tools for compressing general ledger and sub-ledgers.
  2. Review and clean unnecessary data. This usually concerns the Change Log Entry table which stores user activity within the database. Sometimes, this data can be cleared when not being used in reporting.”

RapidStart Is Your Friend

Since version 5.0, Dynamics NAV has included migration tools to assist in the process. Beginning with NAV 2013, those tools were updated and improved as the RapidStart Services. While RapidStart is often discussed in the context of rapidly deploying a NAV install, it can greatly ease the process of migrating from a previous version.

As Microsoft’s Data Developer Center highlights, there are several things you should keep in mind when migrating your data:

  1. Migrate general ledger opening balances without using the general ledger account sub-ledgers. Use specific opening balance offsetting accounts, one set up for each sub- Set up the offsetting accounts to enable direct postings.
  2. Migrate open customer ledger entries.
  3. Migrate open item ledger entries.
  4. Migrate open fixed asset entries.

Another factor to keep in mind is the amount of time and processing power RapidStart needs. Constantine Gart, a Solution Specialist at Encore, gives a realistic picture of the time required:

“However, for all of the great things that RapidStart can do, NAV users should be aware that it requires a great deal of processing power to import, validate and apply the data to the NAV database.

In my experience, importing 1,000 records will take about 5 minutes. Furthermore, it would take an additional 5 minutes to validate the data and an additional 5 minutes to apply the data; meaning that it will take a total of 15 minutes to migrate the data into the NAV database (excluding the time it would take to resolve errors).”

Stay Up-To-Date

One of the best ways to make migrations as easy as possible is to keep up-to-date with the most recent version of NAV. As the software evolves, each version makes improvements and changes over previous versions.

These changes, however, are cumulative. That means it is a much bigger process to migrate from Navision 5.0 to 2015 than it would be to migrate from NAV 2013 to 2015. As a result, even if the new features in the latest version don’t add any real value to your company, keeping up-to-date and making migrations easier may make the upgrade well worth the price.

While any software migration can be challenging, with a little forethought, help from a partner, common sense and using the many tools Microsoft provides, you should be able to get up and running with the latest version of Dynamics NAV in (almost!) no time at all.

About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx, a Certified Microsoft Partner. Journyx maximizes the value of Microsoft Dynamics by adding enterprise time tracking. Journyx Accountlink for Microsoft Dynamics allows companies to quickly implement a complete time tracking solution using existing business data in Dynamics. Connect with Curt on Google+.

by Journyx

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