You’ve probably been paying fairly close attention to Microsoft just releasing Dynamics GP 2015 R2 and the upgraded new features and functionality are something to get excited about. Lots of companies and partners have been anxiously awaiting the release and are getting their companies ready for the upgrade. Although the release of Dynamics GP 2015 R2 is not as intricate as other software releases like GP 2013 R2 from last year, there are still lots of important factors that will need to taken into account.
As you know, the Dynamics GP release cycle is on a 6-month schedule. This new schedule has really changed how Dynamics GP clients and partners take on new projects. Here at Logan Consulting, we have had to make numerous changes in how we handle the upgrade process.
Looking forward, upgrading Dynamics GP will become more routine as the upgrades now have much more moderate impact on your technology and are more efficient. Regardless, it is still very important to plan and test implementation processes before altering your production system. We will focus on 7 important factors to pay attention to when it comes to upgrading your system, to ensure a painless and successful transition when moving from old systems to new ones.
System Requirements: One of the most often overlooked steps to consider when upgrading is the system requirements of the new releases. System requirements can have a huge impact on your plans for upgrading. You should note that there are more than just “minimum software and hardware requirements” to consider. For example, oftentimes there are supported and no longer supported versions of software components integral to the process. For example Dynamics GP 2015 doesn’t support SQL Server 2008 (all editions) anymore, and this has a big impact on upgrade plans if you need to address a major database server upgrade beforehand.
IT Environment Engineering Changes: The system upgrade is usually seen as the most opportune moment to deploy new foundational technology, like moving to the cloud or deploying a web client; the IT landscape is ever changing. If you plan on making these changes, you need to discuss it thoroughly to ensure everyone is up to speed and knows what to expect.
Improving Performance: It is really important to read the list of known bugs and quality issues so you can be prepared for anything you may need to address in the process; as you know, issues do come up.
New Features & Performance Enhancement: Usually it’s mainly the new features that are the part of the release that everyone gets excited about. Clients love to learn about the new features, especially those that have the potential to cover a business requirement that used to be handled by a third party product. Other times a new release facilitates major performance enhancement. For example, Workflow 2.0 has replaced the need for the out-of-date business portal. There is a lot that can be impacted by new features and performance enhancement capabilities, so you should take a careful look at them to make sure your business requirements can match up or adapt.
System Customization: It’s really difficult to find an environment with no customization. Most of the time, you will need to adjust and modify your software to fit your business needs. Add-ons and third party products can certainly extend the capabilities of your Microsoft Dynamics GP software. When planning for your system upgrade, it's really important to note that customization takes a decent amount of time to configure and these add-ons or system customization will be affected.
Double Testing: We personally feel that having a separate testing environment that matches the production one is a great idea. It’s necessary to test all various scenarios in a separate testing environment and measure how the system addresses each of the factors above.
Improve Communication: A communication plan that you and your team come up with to facilitate discussion with all the involved stakeholders is necessary. All departments and end users should be included in this process. It’s so important to make sure that everyone is prepared for the changes that will take place in your organization so they can be ready for the changes that will take place in their day-to-day.
As Microsoft gives us new features with Dynamics GP 2015 R2, we want to remain prepared for updates and do a lot of planning. It’s important to learn lessons from previous GP upgrades and improvements to keep business running smoothly. If you have questions regarding the upgrade, get in touch with us - we are here to help.
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