Businesses and technologies constantly evolve, and every system eventually reaches the point where it no longer helps the business to realise its full potential. At Probitas we have huge experience of upgrading and re-implementing systems. We take a pragmatic approach to advising on the correct approach and only make recommendations when we have properly understood a client's business.
Once you have decided that you would like all the shiny new features of the latest version of Dynamics 365, there are two routes you can take to get them. An upgrade will take all your existing data, and potentially your customised code, and move it to the latest version. A re-implementation allows you to start clean and migrate a limited amount of data. There is no right answer but here are some of the things you should consider:
- What version are you currently on?
If you have a recent version then upgrades can be pretty straightforward. Microsoft have designed in the ability to upgrade easily to allow companies to stay up to date and take advantage of new functionality every year. Older versions, especially Classic Client ones, can be more challenging to upgrade. Upgrades from older versions have to be taken through a number of intermediate stages and data structures and functionality have developed considerably over time. The older a system is, the more it makes sense to consider a re-implementation.
- How clean is your data?
Over time the quality of data in any system diminishes. The business can change, data that was vital a few years ago is now irrelevant, staff enter things in their own way, customers and suppliers fall away and so on. If the quality of data is high and the data is relevant, then an upgrade can be a good option. A re-implementation is a chance to start afresh. Essential legacy data can still be made available but data that just gets in the way can be purged. Clients will often say that it is essential that they have access to all their old data but, after a re-implementation, are surprised how little they actually refer to it.
- How many customizations do you have?
Systems based on older versions of Navision may have a large number of customisations to add functionality which is now standard in Dynamics 365 Business Central. Where this is the case, a re-implementation is the opportunity to move to a much more standard system, take advantage of all the new functionality and make all future upgrades much simpler.
- How much internal resource is available for the project?
An upgrade is likely to require much less input from the business. After all, it is basically a clone of existing functionality. However, there will still be decisions to be made where customisations conflict with new standard functionality. These conflicts may require changes to the system or to business processes. A re-implementation is the opportunity to review the system and business processes from the ground up and will therefore require considerable input from many areas of the business. The effort required should not be underestimated but a well-designed system will repay that effort many times over.