Hello and welcome back to our last blog post on RapidStart services in Dynamics NAV. If you’re still following the complete 10-step process, all we have remaining today is to test the new and changed records for production.
This can be done either through visual inspection or analytical comparison. Let’s take a quick look at how each process works:
Step 9, option 1 – Testing NAV Changes with Visual Inspection
Visual inspection amounts to randomly picking a representative sample of records and verifying that those records have the appropriate values in NAV from the file that you used to upload and apply the changes.
A representative sample can either be a random selection of a number of records or you can cluster similar records together, such as all items that have the same Item Category Code and are purchased. Then you must pick one of the items from that cluster to represent the cluster and compare that item’s values in NAV to what that item’s values are in the spreadsheet that you uploaded into NAV and applied.
Another way to do visual inspection is if, for example, a number of records in a row were updated or newly added, simply roll through each item in that range visually and quickly check a set of fields to make sure the values are correct.
The advantage of visual inspection is that the amount of time and effort it takes to complete the task is less than for analytical comparison. The disadvantage of visual inspection is that you are only inspecting a portion of some of the records, not all of them. Even if you are reviewing a statistically significant sample size, errors could still get through without being detected.
Step 9, option 2 – Testing NAV Updates with Analytical Comparison
The other way to test is through analytical comparison. Basically put, analytical comparison uses formulas and filtering in Excel to help you identify differences between the two groups of data.
There are numerous ways to do an analytical comparison. For me, the easiest way to do a comparison is to copy the data file that contained the new/changed records into one tab of a new Excel file. Then, in another tab of the same new Excel file, copy and paste the table that was changed. Finally, copy the tab of the new/changed data records into a new tab and use that to compare changes.
Since Excel is a powerful tool, there are as many ways to accomplish this task as there are users of Excel.
I typically use the VLOOKUP and MATCH functions of Excel to determine where any values have not changed. The MATCH function is used within VLOOKUP so VLOOKUP knows how many columns total to look in the array. This can be helpful if you are only updating a few fields but have pulled down the whole table for comparison.
Here are two simple tutorials on using the VLOOKUP and MATCH Excel functions:
Once you have compared the changes you wanted to make with how the new table looks, you can investigate any differences. Some values cannot be changed once a master record has a transaction using it.
Step 10 – Production!
Once you have reconciled and determined what to do with any differences found in testing, you can now proceed to repeating the process in your production environment. It is always important to test what you are thinking of doing in a non-production environment first because once data is added or changed in production, it can become more difficult to fix any issues that arise.
Congratulations! You have successfully changed mass records in NAV.
I hope this series on NAV’s RapidStart capabilities has been informative and will help you with your mass change/mass data addition needs in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.