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Should I Upgrade or Re-implement My Dynamics ERP Solution?

Customers often ask Innovia whether they should upgrade or re-implement their Dynamics NAV/Business Central system.  As it goes with so many questions in this industry, the answer is that it depends.  In this article, we will examine a few considerations that may cause you to decide one way or the other when evaluating the next steps for your Dynamics NAV/Business Central system.

How Old Is Your System?

When systems are more than 10 years old, there tends to be technical considerations when performing an upgrade.  Developers call them “hops.” When you hear them using this term, it means that the upgrade must take several steps through older versions before the final upgrade to the newest database version can be accomplished.  While this hurdle may not be the main driver when making an upgrade vs. re-implement decision, it is certainly a consideration.

How Reliable Is Your Data?

This is one of the most important points to evaluate.  Companies we have conversations with have tended to jump from one extreme to another when asked this question.  “Our data is dreadful” or “Our data is completely solid”.  Neither case is typically 100% accurate. 

If your data is truly in bad shape, then upgrading starts to become less attractive.  One of the main advantages of an upgrade vs. a re-implementation is that you bring all your historical transactions with you.  If your data is not reliable, then this history is likely not all that reliable.  A re-implementation in this instance allows for a fresh start with an opportunity to evaluate everything from your chart of accounts to your item number policies … and more.  No better way to clean house than to start with fresh construction.

How Heavily Modified Is Your Database?

It is often the case that new users to Dynamics NAV, or any other system, tend to try and make the new system do everything the old system did.  This results in too many modifications that are used and abandoned after a short time.  Other causes for significant modification that would not warrant being brought forward include:

  • On-staff development personnel that simply write mods without evaluating the business cases.
  • An experienced partner that lacks the understanding of what the system will handle with standard functionality.
  • Vocal users who simply resist change and fail to learn new processes.

Regardless of how or why the modifications were performed, if they fall into any category other than strategically important to how you do business, seriously consider a re-implementation.

How Much Has Your Business Changed Since You Implemented the System?

We have seen many companies that have pivoted so significantly that they are different businesses today than they were 10 (or even 5) years ago. When this type of radical change occurs, configurations, dimension values, chart of accounts, and many other parts of the system could benefit from an overhaul. If this description sounds like your company, then re-implementation may make more sense than an upgrade.

Bringing It Together: What Are Your Business Goals?

Regardless of how you may have answered the questions above, it always makes sense to take a step back and evaluate your business processes.  Do a value stream map and see how your current database configuration lines up with your desired future state process. 

Whether you decide to upgrade or re-implement, taking a step back to ensure that your new system helps you better serve your customers with the lowest transaction cost possible will be worth the effort.

If there's anything else on this topic or others that comes to mind, don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.

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