New versions of Dynamics GP are released every couple of years. As new versions are released, older versions eventually fall off the supported list at Microsoft. When this happens, it is a good time to consider an upgrade to the current version of Dynamics GP. Don’t worry; your unsupported version will not automatically stop working. However, you do run the risk of having compatibility issues with GP and the other applications that support or interact with GP. Another reason to upgrade is to take advantage of the features introduced in the new version of GP. A list of new features can be obtained on the www.Microsoft.com\dynamics site.
Many accounting and finance users have the “if it aint broke don’t fix it” feeling about upgrades. This sentiment is rooted in the concern that the upgrade will cause some issues that don’t exist today, so why risk it. As a formal accountant, I completely understand the concerns.
After 18+ years supporting GP, and performing over 80 upgrades, I have put together a list of the 5 things you should follow that will all but guarantee a successful upgrade. If you follow these 5 steps, your concerns should subside, and you will be able to reap the benefits of being on the most current version of Dynamics GP.
1) Know Your GP Environment:
- Which GP Modules are installed and in use – Some modules will require special steps during the upgrade.
- Are you using any 3rd party (ISV) products – these will need to be installed and upgraded separately.
- Do you have any customizations or integrations with GP – these will need special attention and possible modification as part of the upgrade process.
- Do you have modified or custom reports – these may also need to be modified as part of the upgrade.
2) Make sure your IT infrastructure supports the new version of Dynamics GP – You can acquire a list of System Requirements that provide a detail list of what is compatible with the new version of Dynamics GP.
3) Perform a test upgrade – Completing a Test upgrade is recommended by Microsoft, and is an especially good idea if you have customizations, integrations, 3rd party products, or custom reports. Performing a test upgrade will allow you to identify and address any unforeseen issues that may come up. This will eliminate the downtime that the issues would have otherwise caused.
4) Include users in the testing process – Whether you are testing the validity of the test upgrade or the live upgrade, the actual GP users need to be included in the testing. It is easy for consultants and managers to compare reports before and after an upgrade (which by the way is a must), but the users will be able to complete the real stress testing of simulated daily use of GP.
5) Schedule the live upgrade when you have ample time to complete it – Example, if you estimate it will take 16 hours to complete the upgrade, plan to be down for 20, and give yourself ample time to complete some final validity testing.
This post was written by Andy Warner, Solutions Consultant at Tridea Partners, Southern California Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner. For more information on Microsoft Dynamics GP, visit our website at http://www.trideapartners.com/.