If you’ve decide to include cloud-based Dynamics NAV in your solutions offerings, you will likely field this question from customers: “How can I ensure Dynamics NAV performs at its highest efficiency in the Cloud?”. One of the variables that makes this process increasingly more complicated is when you try to support many different Dynamics NAV versions.

Each year a new Microsoft Dynamics NAV version is launched. Each new version introduces different functionality, improved capabilities and new business insights. Additionally, new Microsoft Dynamics NAV Cumulative Updates (CU) are released every month.  All CU includes hotfixes (former called “service packs”), regulatory features and light improvements for the functional product side. What is a busy Dynamics NAV Partner to do to keep up with all these enhancements / updates?

ONLY Support Dynamics NAV within 3 version releases

Working with Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partners, we identified that most successful Partners are those who try to host as many customers as possible on the same Dynamics NAV version and on the same CU.

How do these Partners possibly manage to get customers on the same version and CU? What strategy do these Partners usually have in place? Most of you will probably agree, having one version for all is not common as most of customers are willing to start with newest version and postpone upgrades into the infinite future. How do you find a middle, beneficial ground for you, the Partner, and your customers?

To start, our recommendations are only to support the three latest Dynamics NAV versions and work within the latest three chosen CU that were released for each Dynamics NAV version. Why?

Faster support for your customers

In today’s cloud-first business world, there are two critical factors your customer care deeply about – speed and cost. To achieve these two objectives we can identify that having a limited number of versions and CUs supported by Dynamics NAV will allow you to provide faster support to your customers. At the same, this will provide you more time to consult on available functionality, enabling you to do specific customizations faster, which your customers will like. And even more, fixing bugs may become proactive as those bugs can be fixed for multiple customers running the same version and CU.

Maximize your cost saving through minimizing effort

When a new Dynamics NAV version or CU is released, you must go through multiple phases of testing, as well as learning how to run the new version and updates on Microsoft Azure. You must also discover all the work arounds, how to avoid possible issues and how to fix issues on the Cloud Infrastructure. Therefore, strategically focusing only on a few Dynamics NAV builds, instead of every single version that has been released by Microsoft, will increasingly save you time, energy, resources and effort. At the same time you will provide a more stable platform for your customers through better, more thorough testing of each release.

Ease your Cloud Infrastructure monitoring

Since every Dynamics NAV version introduces new functionality, it may require additional updates to integrate with Microsoft Azure and/or other integrated software. Thus, it is important to be always aware of each version’s and CU’s specific requirements, which may have different integration tools, and require monitoring of the installations constantly. As the result, when you support fewer Dynamics NAV versions on the Cloud Infrastructure your consultants spend less time on maintenance and monitoring, easing the overall infrastructure monitoring processes to free time for more value-driven services for your customers.

Simplify your solution upgrading process

To manage a customers’ Dynamics NAV upgrade to the newest version, you must prepare migration tools, which are different for each Dynamics NAV version. Migration tools can also slightly differ between CUs. Hence, supporting many different versions of Dynamics NAV will cost you in time and resources building and testing those tools. To simplify this process our recommendation is to try to perform upgrades once a year to keep all your customers within your supported versions. To run your upgrades this way, the upgrade will become more like an update, which can be performed during minimum load periods where everyone will have less stress, more time and have an opportunity to review the functionality and benefits of the latest Dynamics NAV version. This will also prevent your customers’ ERP from falling into extinction with the dinosaurs when only the most experienced and most expensive consultants can perform adjustments and support these versions – losing both on speed and cost.

To summarize, if you are planning to offer hosted Dynamics NAV to customers, the ultimate recommendation is to limit the number of Dynamics NAV releases you will support on Microsoft Azure. This will allow you to save your time and resources, but more importantly provide your customers with better and faster support, which is important to building their loyalty to your business.

Better together: Collaboration with 1ClickFactory

To increase cloud infrastructure efficiency many successful Partners prefer collaborating with a hosting provider as it enables them to avoid many risks that are associated with new Dynamics NAV version and Cumulative Update releases. Successful hosting vendors are always one step ahead and must continuously do research on new functionalities and capabilities on both the Microsoft Azure infrastructure as well as Microsoft Dynamics NAV.  This guarantees that the hosting service is provided most efficiently and productively delivering the ability for the Partner to offer the latest Dynamics NAV releases without minimal effort and internal resource reliance.

1ClickFactory is the hosting vendor with more than 400 NAV on Azure implementations and supported solutions with Microsoft Dynamics Partners. These have given us deep knowledge on both sides of the NAV on Azure equation, with both with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. We aid Partners by offering a Self-Provisioning for NAV on Azure service with automated, quick and secure implementations and support of any Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution, with any customizations, on Microsoft Azure at fixed per-user-per month price.

Click here to find out more about the 1ClickFactory Self-Provisioning for NAV on Azure service or contact us at service@1clickfactory.com.