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What's your company's upgrade procedure?

  • 1.  What's your company's upgrade procedure?

    Posted Sep 30, 2019 11:01 AM
    With the latest info of Dynamics GP product life cycles changing - it seems we may need to change our mindset from an every 2 to 3 years upgrade cycle, to possibly annually - I'm still researching to understanding how this new "modern" life cycle works exactly. We are currently on GP 2016 R2 - does this mean I need to upgrade to the October 2019 release, or I won't get any future updates? If this is true, what's the deadline for getting on the October 2019 release?

    Also, with this being said, I'm wondering if you all have historically done GP upgrades yourself, or used your partner? It seems like an added cost if we'll need to now upgrade annually and use our partner to do so - this last upgrade cost us around $5500 from our partner. Is it even possible to upgrade GP without the help of you partner?

    I'm wondering what other companies do, or plan to do under this new model.

    Tiffany Ziegler
    Vice President & Controller
    Velcor Leasing Corporation
    Madison WI
    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 2.  RE: What's your company's upgrade procedure?

    Posted Sep 30, 2019 12:28 PM
    @Tiffany Ziegler, my take on your questions is this:

    A) No, you don't NEED to upgrade to anything, no more than you used to before when a new release came out. "Staying current" to me means continuing to pay your annual enhancement which then (among other things) you are entitled to whatever versions of Dynamics GP exist + support via customersource etc.

    B) Who's doing them I won't comment on since I'm not a customer any longer other than to suggest that in the new world, in my opinion, I would not use the term "upgrade" to apply a feature release just like most times people also wouldn't use that term when talking about applying a service pack.

    I see this new policy as it being more likely that end users with the necessary skills or training can apply updates themselves since they are not major version changes. Most customers would still want to reduce their risk by utilizing the partners or consultants because doing it yourself is a risk (not quite as high a risk as a major upgrade IMHO). I don't feel the cost of these should be anywhere near the cost of a traditional "major" version upgrade. That's my opinion...

    I've seen conversations on social media ​already where the impression is given that GP customers HAVE to upgrade every year to remain current and they use the term upgrade which in my opinion can be a little intimidating. I believe in this new world, terminology will be used to scare customers into thinking they have to upgrade every year. Competitors are going to try to convince customers that you have to "upgrade" every year and make it seem difficult to stay on Dynamics GP and I simply believe that's not true in the least.

    Most customers are not running the latest version of Dynamics GP, they never have, and there isn't pressure to upgrade or migrate to something else. Just because a new release is coming out doesn't mean everyone has to upgrade or move to it. Move when the time is right but once you get there, it may be less work to keep 100% up to date by applying the feature release each year. I will be working with my customers to explain things this way and I will encourage them to invest a little bit each year to stay current once they get on this platform instead of a big-bang-upgrade every 3-4 years. Overall, same cost spent perhaps, but spread out and they get up to date functionality immediately instead of 3 years later.

    I hope that makes sense...

    Jen Kuntz, CPA, CGA, Microsoft MVP (Business Applications), GPUG All-Star

    Independent Consultant
    Kuntz Consulting Inc.
    Cambridge, ON, Canada

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 3.  RE: What's your company's upgrade procedure?

    Posted Oct 01, 2019 08:48 AM

    Hi @Tiffany Ziegler.

    Having been a GP customer, partner and once again a customer, I agree with Jen that customers can do their own upgrades or patches.  The key is to maintain a sufficient level of product knowledge within your organization by identifying a product champion / power user to take the lead.  This could be an IT savvy finance person or a business savvy IT person because the role requires some blend of the two areas.  You can also have a lead person in finance and in IT working together.  It's not just about upgrades.  Your power user(s) can provide support in many ways throughout the year.

    The designated power user(s) should ideally be active in the user community by participating in local user groups, community forums and attending the User Group Summit Conference.  They should continually update and share knowledge by attending and leading application training. They should maintain internal documentation and knowledge resources that improve the organization's ability to support users internally and to leverage software features to improve financial operations and reporting.

    With internal resources at this level, your GP partner becomes a strategic resource for long term planning and for occasional instances where additional support is needed.  You can also provide backup support with the Dynamics GP Business Advantage Plus enhancement plan which features unlimited support incidents at a fixed cost.  To take advantage of this kind of support, your team member needs power user knowledge of your system and related business operations.

    You can outsource your application support or develop it internally.  There is a meaningful investment either way.  By maintaining this capability internally, you can leverage product knowledge year-round to your specific requirements at a predictable cost.  And that includes software updates.

    Lou Spevack
    American Council on Education
    Washington DC

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 4.  RE: What's your company's upgrade procedure?

    Posted Oct 01, 2019 09:41 AM

    I think its going to depend heavily on your environment.  For a complicated environment with lots of third parties and complex business processes like ours, an upgrade is serious business.  If you want to see how we go about our upgrades, I'd invite you (and anyone else who is interested) to come to my breakout session at Summit called "In the Trenches: Upgrading Dynamics GP" where I walk through our latest upgrade and all the planning and testing which went into it.

    A lot is going to depend on your own environment and your risk portfolio.  If you have a very simple environment with vanilla GP and only a few companies, you can probably do an in-place upgrade by yourself with relative ease.  If you have a more complicated environment, I highly recommend planning and testing the upgrade (and yes, I include patches here) so you know what to expect during the upgrade process.

    Blair Christensen
    Database Administrator
    Oppenheimer Companies, Inc.
    Boise ID

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 5.  RE: What's your company's upgrade procedure?

    Posted Oct 03, 2019 05:48 PM

    Hi Tiffany,

    I agree with Blair, "A lot is going to depend on your own environment and your risk portfolio." 

    Since we use Payroll it is important for us to run the year-end updates each year. That being said there have been times when our circumstances prevented us from doing that. Now is one of those times as we are still running GP 2013 due to several factors. Thankfully we were able to make it work and we are finally in the midst of upgrading to GP 2018.

    I don't have much to add to the previous posts except to reiterate the importance of knowing your GP environment before you attempt to do it on your own. Like most things IT related you have to always remember the basics;

    • Always engage your partner, even if you plan to do all of the work yourself.
    • Do your homework. There are lots of resources on-line.
    • Backup at each step.
    • Test, Test, Test.

    Jeff Martin
    Director of IT
    DeRosa Corporation
    Wauwatosa WI

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 6.  RE: What's your company's upgrade procedure?

    Posted Oct 03, 2019 06:39 PM
    Hi Tiffany

    Everyone of the above contributors provided excellent advise to be considered in an upgrade procedure.
    New versions are good if they add functionality that we need to carry out our day to day operations.  It may also be necessary to upgrade to a new version if a third party application we use is additing functionality that we need but is only available with new versions of GP.

    For almost any application changes, In short we follow the steps listed below:

    1. We create a project plan for the upgrad
    2. We list the customizations or third party applications interfacing with GP
    3. We contact the third party vendors to ensure compatibility with the new GP release version we are trying to upgrade to.
    4. We contact the developer who performed any customizations and hopefully such were perfromed in a manner not interfearing with the standard product.
    5. After all the above are in place we apply the new version in a DEV environment
    6. We test every scenario / use case, for transaction and reporting testing.
    7. Once all is good we then apply the new version to production
    8. We always take a backup before we apply anything to production
    9. We always test with some key users after we apply it and is usually applied off business hours.

    All the above is better to be perfromed by a super user of the system who is highly knowledgable of the system's technical and functional areas.

    Hope the above helps.

    Eleni Mavrommati
    Business Solutions.
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA

    Eleni Mavrommati
    Senior Business Analyst/Dynamic NAV / D365 BC Solution Architect
    Think 360 ERP
    Fremont CA

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

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