Historically, Microsoft NAV Upgrades have been painful and time-consuming projects.  It is not surprising many Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partners preferred to perform new Dynamics NAV installation projects over existing Dynamics NAV upgrade projects.

The dawn of the new Microsoft Dynamic NAV upgrade tools has spelled relief for many Partners upgrading solutions from Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 and later versions. The introduction of these new tools, like Powershell, has allowed major upgrade obstacles to be removed and in some cases even automated.

However, even with these significant strides, there are still some limitations with the standard Microsoft Dynamics NAV upgrade tools we faced when performing +400 Dynamics NAV upgrades for our Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partners. This brief post will review the shortfalls you need to be aware of when executing your next upgrade project.

*New & Improved* Dynamics NAV Upgrade Tools

Windows PowerShell Scripts

PowerShell Scripts can be found in Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s installation directory and it includes the process of merging, importing, exporting, and compiling objects as well as creating or deleting databases. More detailed descriptions of the scripts can be found here.

Leveraging these standard Windows PowerShell Scripts in the upgrade process has helped make 1ClickFactory upgrades from RTC based NAV versions (e.g. NAV 2013 and later) smoother and faster. With a little bit of additional effort, we have almost completely automated the upgrade process. We have created new functions using certain PowerShell Scripts to eliminate any limitations described below, which yields significant time and cost savings.

Hence, while the Windows PowerShell Scripts helped to expedite the upgrade projects, it has also revealed each project requires thoughtful review of its unique requirements from an upgrade specialist. An experienced specialist can identify the alterations that should be made for the individual solution.

Let‘s face it, there is always a minor possibility of errors even when most processes are performed by automated tools. Even the most advanced tools cannot completely substitute for the tacit knowledge gained by a Dynamics NAV upgrade specialist from experienced years of upgrading. While performing upgrades at 1ClickFactory internally, we have run into the limitations of leveraging only Microsoft tools, which prompted us to create additional upgrade tools to further refine and automate the standard Dynamics NAV upgrade processes.

Limitations of Using Standard PowerShell Commands

When working through many Dynamics NAV upgrade limitations with the latest Microsoft Dynamics NAV Upgrade Tools, here are the limitations you should be aware of:

1. Objects Merge Exceptions Errors

Microsoft PowerShell Scripts leave out particular Objects. If Objects do not meet certain rules or if those Objects meet certain conditions, these Objects are exceptions and therefore those are not upgraded using standard tools. As an example, there is an empty function without a name in the Object:

Image 1: Microsoft PowerShell Empty Function without name in the Object

2. Objects Merge CR and LF Symbols Errors

Frequently, CR and LF symbols in the Caption, OptionCaption, and ToolTip properties are not handled by Powershell when used in “Split“, “Join“, “Compare“, “Merge“ or other NAV application object functions, yielding the warning “String expected“. Such warning means that Powershell failed to process the object and therefore skipped it. For instance, this is an error we get when we run the “Compare“ function:

Image 2: Microsoft PowerShell CR and LF symbols

Image 3: Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 Windows PowerShell ‘String Expected’ Warning

3. Auto-merge Function Checks

Amid different Dynamics NAV versions during an upgrade, Microsoft will replace standard functions IDs, or remove functions with particular IDs, then create new functions with same (or removed function) IDs. This results in modifications being moved to the wrong function. What is worse, if these incorrect functions compile you will never notice this error.

Resolving Objects Merge Limitations

While we have performed over 400 Microsoft Dynamics NAV upgrades, we continue to learn and experience something new from each upgrade project. We analyze these lessons learned and optimize our tools and processes to leverage in the next project to eliminate issues and drive faster and smoother upgrades. Yes, this means the limitations described above are no longer issues we face in standard Dynamics NAV upgrades with our Partners.

As a result, this saves up to 50% in time and costs for our Partners when upgrading from the latest versions in comparison to upgrading without our improved 1ClickFactory Dynamics NAV Upgrade Tools.

The release of Microsoft’s upgrade tools and creation of additional tools has allowed us and our Partners to overcome upgrade limitations, leading to decreased upgrade times, estimates and costs for upgrades from Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 and newer versions.

While there has been a significant decrease in upgrading time, effort and costs, the actual percent of the price decrease for your solution’s upgrade depend on a number of customizations performed on your solution. In some cases, you can save up to 35% on your Dynamics NAV 2013 (or later version) upgrade, while in others you can save up to 60% off your RTC upgrade subscription for your RTC solution on the latest version. You no longer need to imagine simplified and cost-effective Dynamics NAV upgrades – they are here!

See for yourself – Request a FREE Upgrade Assessment NOW! And don’t forget, as with any upgrade project thorough testing is always key!

Special thanks to Aira Bartuskaite for contributing to this blog post.