Clean Start Upgrades

Get rid of unwanted data, rethink your business’ processes and restructure your basic information in a shiny new system!

Is it for me?

Most companies who are contemplating upgrading find themselves in a situation that sounds a bit like this: They’ve got an old NAV solution (or it’s old enough that they have huge amounts of unnecessary data in it), processes that need to be changed, data structures which are no longer relevant, and modifications which are no longer applicable either because they never really did use that feature or because Dynamics 365 Business Central now copes with the requirement as standard.

And here’s the big choice that they find facing them: Do they go for a Clean Start Upgrade or a ‘Like-for-Like Upgrade’?  The answer is in asking ‘What do I want to achieve by upgrading?’ 

A clean start can be the best option if you want to:

  • Get rid of that mountain of unwanted data, unnecessary mods and old processes
  • Have yourself a lovely shiny new Business Central system containing only the data you need (remember the old database isn’t going away, so you can still get access to the history – don’t panic!)
  • Rethink processes based on the benefit of hindsight and restructure your basic information (for example you could use different dimensions, a new G/L structure or rethink item hierarchies).

How does it work?

With a Clean Start Upgrade you take the latest version of Dynamics NAV, which is Dynamics 365 Business Central, load up static data, load in journals for inventory, open sales invoices, open purchase invoices and an opening G/L (probably by dimension by period), load your open sales and purchase orders and … away you go! Sounds all too easy doesn’t it? In essence, this simplistic view is correct, it’s the same thing you did when you went live. However, in real life there is more to consider: How do you move the static and variable information? Do you have so few open orders you can key them in (and get good practice with order entry via the Web Client perhaps), do you use rapid start packages or do you need to create custom imports? In addition, were there some modifications on the old system that actually do need to be replicated in this shiny new version? The best way to tackle the latter question is to run a series of internal workshops (which can be hosted by your friendly NAV Partner) to go through a series of real-life scenarios (we call this a ‘Day-in-the-Life’ walk-through). To give you an idea of how it works; you’d take sales-to-cash and purchase-to-pay processes and go from beginning to end to see what requirements you have that are not answered by this new version, then consider if the old mod is a useful reference. We suggest only using this as a reference because making an extension (learn more about extensions here) of the required functionality is the correct way forward in the new world of Dynamics 365 Business Central – after all you have a lovely new version of your system - let’s not spoil this new house with old furniture!

One thing above all else to make sure your users understand!

There is one thing that is more important than anything else if you are considering a clean start upgrade and that is to make sure that your users understand it is not a like-for-like upgrade! In fact, we’d even recommend you don’t use the term ‘upgrade’ with your users. The problem is that ‘upgrade’ sounds a lot like what you do to your new Apple iPhone or the latest version of Spotify – you get everything you had before plus some nice new stuff - when in fact with your NAV clean start you have specifically  chosen not to have all the modifications you had on the old system, or even the same setup. Screens, buttons, reports will appear as you have configured the new system, not how the old one was. You need them to know that if they haven’t seen something during testing, it isn’t there. All too often we hear ‘oh, I just presumed that would still be there as it was in the old system’.

Still, the end result of a clean start is a lovely thing. It’s a new start, nice clean data for reporting, faster performance, coherent and understandable processes (because you rethought them)! Clean start upgrades are the most common when companies are leaping from very old solutions to the new world and, in the main, it is the right decision.

If you would like speak to someone at The NAV People to discuss whether a clean start upgrade is the best option for your business and get an understanding of costs just drop us a line on +44 (0) 208 328 9814 or moreinfo@thenavpeople.com