This post was uploaded some time ago but still offers some useful information. The release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV version 7 is exciting. However, the down side is the upgrade panic that has begun. There are three options; this blog will explore them all. First, why the panic? NAV version 7 will not support the Classic Client; it is only available with the Role Tailored Client which has implications for the upgrade as a full database upgrade will be required. Rather than embrace the new, this has started to cause a frenzy on some web forums, unfounded and unhelpful. costs and benefits of upgrading Dynamics NAVAlso, the announcement of the release of version 7 means the days are now numbered for version 5. Actually the days have been numbered for version 5 for quite a while. Microsoft’s Product Lifecycle website provides details of retirement dates for all products. Microsoft Dynamics NAV version 5 is due to retire in April 2012. However, Microsoft state commitment to support the current and previous version, so the reality is that with version 7 not due for release until Q4 2012, version 5 should enjoy a slight reprieve. It is a good idea to use the dates on the Product Lifecycle to plan your upgrades.
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The upgrade options:

Option One: Do nothing

What are the implications for just carrying on? Your current partner may not want to support you on an old version. The reality is that there are plenty of partners who will, so if you push it, you’ll probably find your current partner will continue to support. However, this is a risky option, especially if you are running on SQL database. There are different risks for proprietary database as that was withdrawn from mainstream support when NAV 2009 was released; however, proprietary tends to carry on regardless, SQL is more susceptible to problems if / when your OS picks up an automatic upgrade. Can you turn off the upgrades to your OS and Windows solutions? Well yes, but now you have several packages running without mainstream support. The risk keeps multiplying! The Do Nothing option is probably only sensible if you add “for now” to the end of it and take the time to sensibly plan your upgrade.

Option Two: Technical upgrade

A technical upgrade is half an upgrade; however it’s the important half in terms of the easiest way to making sure your NAV system remains supported. Theoretically, you could always just perform the technical upgrade rather than the full database so you may be wondering why anyone bothers with the full upgrade. Although performing a technical upgrade means that you can be on the latest supported version of NAV, and therefore will benefit from any performance enhancements and hot fixes, you won’t get the benefit of functionality changes. The factor that influences the amount of additional effort a full database upgrade will be compared to a technical upgrade is the amount of development you have had to bespoke your solution. The more development, the more work. However, if the new version offers functionality that will benefit your organisation, it’s well worth the effort. There is a limitation with technical upgrade. You cannot take a technical upgrade between the Classic Client and the Role Tailored Client. This means if you are on version 5 and were planning to skip version 6 (NAV 2009) and go directly to 7, you will need to plan for a full upgrade.

Option Three: Database Upgrade (the full upgrade)

The full Database Upgrade means you have access to all the new functionality. For TVision clients we first ascertain whether they would benefit from the new functionality. If there is no benefit then it makes sense to just take the Technical Upgrade. The issue with version 7 is that the Classic Client will be retired and so this means that upgrading from a Classic Client version (i.e. anything other than NAV 2009 RTC) to version 7 will require a full database upgrade as there is no Classic Client in version 7. If you have few modifications to your system, the database upgrade should not be an onerous task. If you have a lot, it will require further effort and for this reason, many users opt for the technical upgrade. The Database Upgrade requires a compare of objects then merging modified code with the new database objects. Microsoft does release a toolkit to assist with this but it will still require work. The amount of effort largely depends on the amount of modified code. Our advice: if you are on NAV 2009 RTC now, there is no need to panic; you are supported until at least April 2014 and the upgrade path will be easy as you are on the Role Tailored Client. If you are on NAV 2009 Classic Client, take the time to plan your upgrade to RTC (you may want to skip 7 and wait for 8). If you’re not on NAV 2009, take a technical upgrade to 2009 Classic Client then plan your upgrade to RTC (again, you may want to skip 7). These options buy time and avoid the panic; providing the breathing space to properly plan your upgrade to the Role Tailored Client. The first step is to discuss the merits of the RTC and align these to your IT strategy; you’ll soon see that the upgrade is positive, providing efficiency gains and future-proofing your Microsoft Dynamics NAV investment. There is lots to gain from upgrading to the Role Tailored Client; nothing to panic about at all!