As the leader MIBAR’s infrastructure team, I’d like to offer a brief overview of some planning tips and best practices I’ve learned over the years that can help make your Dynamics GP upgrade a success. I’ll start by highlighting a list of my primary considerations/main steps:
- Creation of a project plan and schedule
- Identifying key players
- Review new features to implement
- Review licensing requirements
- Review compatibility, software and hardware requirements
- Review existing infrastructure
- Creation of a test environment and running the first pass test upgrade
- Testing the environment in preparation for the live upgrade
- End user testing and key player acceptance
- Live upgrade
- Old cleanup and decommission
When tasked with an upgrade to a Dynamics GP environment, I like to begin by creating a clear project plan. This includes key task assignments to important players, as well as a tentative schedule so that an accurate timeline can be created, which will ensure that the project does not lose focus.
Next, I typically like to sit down with my client to review the changes, improvements, and new features in the version Dynamics GP that they will be upgrading to. All of this information is typically posted on Microsoft’s website or from the community blogs leading up to the release of the software. Here is a good starting point from Microsoft Customer Source.
Additionally, using the System Requirements section of this page, I make sure that the client’s infrastructure will meet the needs of the software – and if not, I will architect a solution that will support the applications required, such as the GP application and SQL server. Applications like SharePoint or other integration points will also be considered. It is also very crucial to consider software requirements like GP modules, integrations, reports, forms, and third party packages to ensure that they will run in the version of GP you are upgrading to.
When it’s confirmed that the all the requirements are met, it’s an important practice to set up a segregated test environment to run through all of the upgrade steps so that you have an area to test. This will be a great way to save time during the live upgrade, serve as a place to iron out any issues that may arise, and can also be used for the users to become accustomed to the latest version of the software in the event that there are some major changes. After the users familiarize themselves with this new environment and accept that the upgrade has been completed successfully, it ready now for the live upgrade.
When the test environment is utilized to its fullest, and the upgrade is planned carefully, the live upgrade should be a piece of cake to step through as well as being easy for the end users since they did their testing. Which leads us to our final step, the decommission of the old hardware and software that were used for the previous version.
If you’re considering an upgrade to the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics GP, we’d be happy to help! Click here to talk with one of our upgrade professionals who can quickly assess your situation and provide you with an estimate of services.