9 Points to Prepare for Your Dynamics GP Upgrade

You may be asking yourself, “what can we do to prepare for our Dynamics GP upgrade?”

There is plenty that you can consider and prepare for ahead of time to ensure that your Dynamics GP upgrade runs as efficiently, and risk free as possible.  The following should be considered:

  • Resources
  • Features
  • Security
  • Reporting
  • Hardware
  • Maintenance
  • Timing
  • Testing
  • Risks

When you are working with our Client Engagement Team much of this information can be discovered and identified through Encore’s Pre Upgrade Checklist which will help you identify all the components that may be involved in your upgrade.

Here is a summary of a few areas you can review ahead of time:

Identify Key Resources

  • It is important to consider the key players from your organization who should be involved with the upgrade process. You should identify a key representative from the finance team and a key representative from your IT support staff to work with our professionals during the upgrade processes.
  • Key resources should be available to perform Go / No-Go testing during a live upgrade / cut-over to give the green light for a full roll-out.
  • Usually following a trial upgrade there is time for What’s New Training to review and discuss new features and product navigation with your staff. Our Application Specialist will work with you to identify your Training needs.

Determining New Features in New Versions of Dynamics GP

  • If you are upgrading to Dynamics GP 2013 R2 or higher, you will want to identify any new Dynamics GP features you may want to start using or stop using.
  • Identify all add-on features from additional product vendors that may need updating or perhaps replacing (i.e. Mekorma, Scribe, WennSoft).
  • Identify any custom built code or features that will need to be upgraded to be compatible with the new Dynamics GP version.
  • Identify any specific interfaces to/from other systems in your environment that need to be updated or changed (i.e. Integration Manager, eConnect, .NET solution, CRM Integration)
  • Identify what the key company databases need to be included in the upgrade and which company databases are no longer required. Often there may be older databases that no longer need to be kept and perhaps no value in spending time upgrading them.
  • Identify what user accounts are no longer required, these can be removed concurrent with an upgrade.

Ensuring Proper Security Setup in Dynamics GP

  • Ensure you have the SQL Login credentials for any existing SQL Server installations, as well as the Dynamics System area password and any key Dynamics GP application user login accounts.
  • Ensure that any required service Accounts (and passwords) are created or made available to our technical specialist so they can set up the new products with appropriate credentials. We can supply a list of recommended Service Accounts that are normally used.
  • Ensure there are account(s) with sufficient administrative privileges made available to our Technical Specialist for any and all servers and environments involved in the upgrade process (this would normally include access to old and new SQL and terminal servers as well as the Active Directory).

Verifying Reporting Needs

  • Concurrent with an upgrade to GP2013 or higher, FRx will need to be migrated to its replacement product Management Reporter (see the new features of Management Reporter 2012). If you haven’t transitioned yet, to make this move  as smooth as possible, review your FRx setup and remove any erroneous Rows, Columns, Spec Sets, Reporting Trees, Catalogues or Companies.
  • Consider and identify if you have any custom built SQL Reporting Services Reports.
  • Consider and identify if you have any other Reporting Features that you either want to replace or update (i.e. F9, Crystal Reports).

Completing a Hardware Check

  • Review the capabilities of your back office infrastructure (SQL versions, server operating system, RAM, processor, hard drive capacity) for sufficiency to host the updated Dynamics GP environment. See system requirements for Dynamics GP 2013 here.
  • Review the capabilities of your workstations, operating systems, MS Office versions for sufficiency to host the updated Dynamics GP environment.
  • Consider if you want to move your systems to a virtual platform or new server – or perhaps the “cloud” or even a hosted solution.
  • Consider your upgrade “path”. If you are on an older version of Dynamics GP, and you are upgrading to GP 2013 R2 or GP 2015, you may need to engage a “staging” server to transition the data from your current version up to the new version of Dynamics GP.
  • If you are on a version of Dynamics GP such as Version 9 or older, there will be several stages of upgrade steps as there is no direct one-step upgrade from GP Version 9.x or older to the current version of Dynamics GP.

Performing File Maintenance

  • Running Check-links or GL Reconcile on your Company Data in advance of the upgrade will help to reduce any risk of data corruption during the upgrade process. You can find general SQL maintenance procedures for Dynamics GP here.
  • Reducing the size of your databases (perhaps an archiving solution is necessary) will ensure the upgrades run quicker, and data set backups will be smaller and run quicker.
  • Running key reports ahead of an upgrade and after (i.e. Trial Balance, Aging Reports) will allow for comparisons and validation of updated data.

Timing of Your Dynamics GP Upgrade

  • When is the best time for you/your staff to process a trial upgrade, the live upgrade/cut-over; or engage staff training of new features or products?
  • You will want to avoid any busy periods of activity such as month-end or quarter-end processing? Do you need to complete check runs?
  • How you could process Sales Orders or Receive Shipments during any potential extended outage?
  • Consider if the upgrade of your Dynamics GP system will have any timing dependencies on other projects in your company?
  • During the period of a trial upgrade there is typically no “down time” or “outages” expected to your current production environment; but during the live upgrade you should expect to be hands-off Dynamics GP and any Reporting Tools that access those databases for the duration of the live upgrade. You will want to make arrangements for alternate staff work during that time. If keeping down time to a minimum is critical, work with our Client Engagement Team to discuss options for upgrading outside of regular business hours.

Testing Your New Version of Dynamics GP

  • You will want to identify the key processes in your financial cycle and establish a testing plan; in particular for custom interfaces or add-on features.
  • You will want to identify if there are any issues in the current production environment. If so, these should be resolved as best as possible prior to any trial or live upgrade.

Risks During the Upgrade

  • As with any software update there are always risks involved; to minimize these risks please ensure that adequate database and application backups can be made (including server OS’s).
  • If the update is all being facilitated to a new server environment the simplest roll-back strategy in the case of a failure during a live update would be to simply continue using the current untouched production environment.
  • Your company may already have a developed DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) and it should include provisions for continuances if financial processing cycles in the event of a failure.

 

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