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When Microsoft launched its ‘Evergreen’ approach a few years ago, they were really taking on board the version lag that plagued companies for many years. It allowed Dynamics 365 (D365) to update monthly, so the solutions, including all new functionalities, are automatically kept up to date.

The move was ambitious and in many ways, a really good idea. However, it did mean that the monthly updates could cause all or part of a company’s ERP solution to crash - if the update conflicts with elements of the core system, customisations or integrations.

Evergreen adjusted: Fewer updates and greater freedom of choice

The risk is real. For example, in the first period after the monthly updates were introduced, the monthly updates caused a critical module in one of our customers’ D365 Finance and Operations (Supply Chain Management) to crash.

And we’ve heard similar stories from other companies in both Denmark and abroad. Fortunately, we identified the challenges in the testing phase and dealt with them before the situation became critical.

I’ll come back to that point.

However, there are indications that Microsoft is aware everything doesn’t always go smoothly with the monthly updates. For starters, the Evergreen plans have changed. Now only eight annual updates are released, of which only the largest (in April and October) are mandatory to implement.

Testing updates before implementation is crucial

At Columbus, we advise our customers to implement at least four annual updates so they don’t fall into a variety of traditional lag traps.

However, it’s still crucial to thoroughly test each update in advance, so that you know everything works as it should before the code is released into the production environment. Otherwise, critical processes (and perhaps even the entire company) may be paralysed in whole or in part.

This can be expensive, both in terms of your bottom line and credibility.

Tests should be conducted across both:

  • Core solution (D365)
  • Customisations and modules
  • Integrations

This is a comprehensive and complex task that can be executed by an IT department with intensive testing expertise. But manual testing is labour-intensive and subject to a significant risk of error because the work is both extensive and incredibly monotonous.

Be sure and save time with automated testing

Automated testing is a much better solution - especially if you target and define test cases based on the company’s critical core processes.

However, even if Microsoft provides a tool (RSAT) that can automate regression testing of the core solution and adjustments, it’s not actually possible to handle it without in-depth testing skills. And testing integrations can be even more complex.

That’s why Columbus has developed a testing service. Together with the company (our customer), we first assess which processes are essential to test and investigate where they run. Some processes may run simultaneously in multiple locations in your organisation and all contexts must be tested each time.

We then construct test cases, which are run through Microsoft RSAT (for testing the D365 core and customisations). The regression testing of processes that run across integrations can be automated by our test specialists.

Over time, we’ll also make sure we develop and customise test cases so they remain relevant.

Strengthen uptime and stability across your organisation

On one hand, automated testing provides your company with a foundation for optimising uptime and stability. This includes local (for example, in a single national department) and across numerous subsidiaries with a large geographical range.

On the other hand, you get the best possible conditions for benefiting from the innovation that Evergreen really is.

Even though a product is allegedly 100% standard and trust is good, verification is just better. Because, when the company’s core processes are at stake, it’s important to know in advance that everything will work as it should. Just in case.

Would you like to find out more? We’ve compiled lots of good tips about automated testing in an eBook which you can download below.

View eBook

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