Why NOW Is the Time to Upgrade Your Dynamics AX

By Donald Hilton, AX Practice Manager

Upgrading your ERP system has always been a task unto itself.  I have met very few companies after implementing a new ERP system who have set out a plan to keep it updated with the latest features.  They often were just happy about surviving the implementation and keeping the status quo.

That is not true either, because for many, the Status Quo means customizing all of the parts of the system that they did not like or automating processes to save time and money.

Microsoft has released its 90-day notice of a price increase for Dynamics AX and change in licensing.  That is not a monumental announcement but it is worth noting a few items in the announcement.

  1. There will be an on-premise version of Dynamics 365 coming out in June.
  2. There will also be a price increase starting in July for current AX 2012 over 10%.
  3. There will not be an upgrade path from AX 2009 to AX 2012.

The reason why the third announcement is important now is that there is no way to upgrade your current AX 2009 to Dynamics 365 and move the transactional history you have created over the last 4-10 years.  I am not always sure that moving that transactional history is important, but if your company thinks that it is, you have to first upgrade to AX 2012 and then to D365.  However, that will not be an option after July 1, 2017.

You must upgrade to AX 2012.   The reason for the upgrade has to do with the database structure of AX 2012.  There is one database that holds transactions and another that holds the code.  We are in the process of upgrading a very early version of AX 2012 before R1 when the database was still a single repository.  The two-step process allows for the code to upgrade and leave the data behind or bring it forward.

Now is the time to plan your long-term goals and strategies for your upgrade path.  Is it important that you take your transactional data with you? Can you load it in a data warehouse and access it for reporting?  The decision you make now will affect your cost of doing business over the continued life of AX 2009.  Mainstream support will be ending in 4/10/2018 and only Extended support until 10/21/2021.  That is paid support except for security hot fixes, which would include your upgrade should you wait another 4 years.

If you would like assistance in reviewing your current installation or you have a goal to find the ROI for moving to a perpetually updated platform like Dynamics 365, contact us today and one of our Business Analysts will be glad to work with you.

Dynamics 365: Everything Old is New Again

By Donald Hilton, AX Practice Manager

There is a great deal of chatter these days about Dynamics 365 and how it can be utilized for existing and developing companies.  I think that this is a game changer for those in the SMB enterprises space.  With the emergence of Dynamics 365 for Operations, a small company can utilize a platform of powerful software that was initially out of their reach.

The reason they can do this is the work Microsoft has done to integrate the technology of ERP, CRM and Office products into one seamless system that will grow and adapt to quickly changing business requirements.  Without the need to invest in expensive hardware and infrastructure, the Microsoft Cloud provides most of the components needed to manage your IT requirements. With the addition of a mobile platform, work can be transformed from desktop to tablet or phone, creating a seamless flow of work.

This has caused a change in the delivery of this product to customers by the VAR community that services them. No longer is there a “one-fits-all” model. When you have companies of 5-10 people who want to take advantage of the Dynamics 365 platform, you need to find a better way to delivery your implementation. Companies of this size have complex business requirements, but they are more flexible on meeting those requirements.

These smaller-sized companies are looking for a quicker ROI on their investment and want to find ways to leverage the software sooner.  How you bring up a company’s financials in 90 days vs 9 months will be the key to success in these situations. Once you have reached the goal of your 1st sprint, what is the goal for the next 90 days?  It is clear that today many businesses like these are moving away from bad habit, overly burdened accounting structures and complicated business process.  They are looking for a faster and more efficient method to delivery their services and record revenue.

How can you do that?

  1. Build a “Proof of Concept” environment
  2. Import a standard “best business practice” configuration instead of 20 days of configuration and documentation
  3. Load the company chart of accounts and dimension
  4. Turn your consultants into the Business Analyst
  5. Walk through standard business processes
  6. Negotiate changes to both business process and Dynamics 365.

This process will put you 30-60 days ahead of traditional implementation and you start getting buy-in from your users at the beginning to make adoption of the new system faster and easier.

I am not limiting this to just small to midsize companies who are looking to host all of this in the cloud for ease of management and limited investment of capital.  Companies of all sizes and complexity can take a page for this simplified approach to focus on the area where they can gain or have a competitive advantage and not on reengineering the whole business.

Contact us to learn more