Considering making the move to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations? You’re not alone! Most Dynamics users are currently planning for the migration or are already live on Dynamics 365.
So… where do you begin?
Upgrading vs. Re-Implementation
Step #1 is figuring out if you should Upgrade or Re-Implement. This may seem to be a difficult question, but most customers we have worked with figure out their ideal path to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations rather quickly.
While the reasons are numerous, here are some of the most typical decision points to determine if an upgrade or a re-implementation is the right path.
Still not sure which is best for your organization? Give us a call!
Upgrading to Dynamics 365
There are 3 major pillars (“technical” areas) to consider when upgrading to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations: Code, Data, and Licensing. Let’s take a quick look at each of these sections…
1. Code Upgrade
For the code portion of the upgrade to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, utilizing a trusted partner is critical as all code modifications done by “over-layering” will need to be re-written as “extensions.” A conflict report can be generated that shows your current code modifications and where they conflict with the new Dynamics 365 functionality. This report will allow you to see where you have modifications you want to keep and where you may want to drop them to take advantage of new functionality instead. Don’t be alarmed if the number of code conflicts is into thousands even if Dynamics AX was not heavily modified. Most code conflicts can be resolved by developers, as the conflicts are purely technical. However, expect the functional team to be engaged with certain code conflicts to decide whether some of the customizations should be kept or replaced by new Microsoft logic.
While Dynamics LCS tools are very capable in assisting the evaluation of code modifications in conflict reports, beware of automated estimates. Ellipse Solutions has enhanced these reports to properly assess the scope of the project and effort needed to upgrade your code based on significant expertise in Dynamics AX and, more specifically, Dynamics 365 code upgrades.
To perform a complete code upgrade from AX 2012 to Dynamics 365, you will need to be on either R2 or R3.
2. Data Upgrade
A full database upgrade from AX 2012 to Dynamics 365 is now available, including historical data, for customers on R2 and R3. The data upgrade tool for AX2009 has been around longer, yet it is still not fully available for the community at large.
This portion of the upgrade is very time consuming and covers two tables of data tables: master and transactional. Master data is predictably more static (such as Vendor, Customer, Item tables) and open transactional data are typically included in the upgrade, however a data warehouse is a recommended path in most cases for historical transactional data among other options. While some tools exist to include historical data, the process is long and expensive. Utilizing a data warehouse, Microsoft and other vendors have BI tools that allow users to view data from a variety of sources without interruption, making legacy records accessible without actually including them in the upgrade.
3. Licensing Upgrade
Upgrading to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations in terms of licensing may seem complicated at first, but Microsoft has widely incentivized this process with a variety of programs that qualify customers for additional licenses. Once again, working closely with a partner is paramount, as they will help ensure you are getting discounts for which you qualify.
It is important to note that owning Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations includes dual use rights for Dynamics AX 2012. This means if you are offered an attractive price to upgrade, you can take it even if you don’t plan to switch right away.
For AX 2009 customers, while the licensing switches from a concurrent user model to a named user model, Microsoft has greatly softened this transition with attractive conversions.
So, if you decide to choose the upgrade path, remember the three pillars!
Re-Implementation of Dynamics 365
Re-Implementing Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations may seem initially intimidating, but it’s something that a lot of customers are keen on. Most Dynamics AX customers have been using their solutions for multiple years (some even decades!), so there are a lot of archaic business processes and code that could use some cleansing.
In order to begin your Re-Implementation, it is best to begin with discovering your wants and needs in order to formulate your plans. This can be done through some type of discovery or fit/gap analysis. Check out Ellipse Solution’s 2-Day Dynamics 365 Implementation Discovery Workshop before beginning your move to Dynamics 365.
After planning is complete and estimates are given, the project can begin. Microsoft recommends working with a Dynamics AX/365 Gold Partner during this step to minimize the chances of encountering a failed implementation.