Importing Data in Dynamics GP vs. Dynamics 365 for Operations

We recently migrated our company from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 for Operations. Since we have been a Dynamics GP provider for many years, we put together a project plan and split up tasks needed to migrate our existing data into the new D365 Operations system.

The experience was an eye opener. None of our staff had experience with Dynamics AX.  Navigation, transaction entry, data inquiries and things that you assume would be easy were much more difficult than expected. However, to me, a bright spot in the whole process was the capability available in Data Management.

As a functional Dynamics GP consultant, I have experience with Integration Manager and other common tools. After using Data Manager for inventory imports in our implementation, I believe I would have had no trouble using this feature even if I had no experience with the other tools.

Data Manager is relatively easy to navigate and use even for a novice. I had a couple issues, but most of them were related to not knowing the terminology or process in Operations and they weren’t related to the tool itself. Things I found:

  • This isn’t an issue with the tool itself, but if you don’t know that “Items” in Dynamics GP equate to “Released Products” in Operations, it is difficult to find the correct entity name to create your export file.  Once I started to learn the entities that were available the whole process improved dramatically. 
     
  • It is intuitive.  Once I identified the correct entity and ran an export, it was easy to identify data requirements from the exported file.  Something that worked well was entering a released product manually so there was data in the export file I created.  This helped me identify the data fields that I would need for our full inventory import.  I would highly recommend adding some test data in a non-production system before running exports for any entity you are trying to create.
     
  • It is very easy to create import templates from the exported data.  Once I had an export file, it was easy to add the import data to the file and run the import to populate the new system.  This is because there was no manual mapping required.  When you start with an exported entity, the mapping is automatic for the import.
     
  • Update imports worked every time.  Since the mappings are done, I received no errors on subsequent re-imports to fix missing data.  I was able to re-export a re-import multiple times with no issues at all.
     
  • Error notifications were mostly clear and pointed me in the right direction to identify a solution.
     
  • If you can do one export/import, it is simple to use for others.  When other staff were having issues with transaction entry, I would run an export for that entity, and could identify the data fields that they were missing.  I am going to use Data Manager for troubleshooting data issues in the future.
     
  • I did a lot of research and couldn’t find much information on Data Manager.  It would be nice to have a list of each of the entities available with a brief description of potential uses for each.  Until that is available, browsing through the entities available, running an export and reviewing the fields available is a good learning experience.