Monday, April 18, 2016
With new Microsoft Dynamics AX now available on Azure and private cloud and on-premise versions to be released this fall, now is the right time to prepare your customers for the big move.
There are various ways to move your customers to the new Dynamics AX depending upon each of your customers’ starting points. In this article, we will cover 4 of the most common customer upgrade scenarios and review the most beneficial upgrade tactics to move your customers to the newest version of Dynamics AX.
Scenario #1: Your customer is on AX 2012 R3. Should You Upgrade to the Cloud or On-Premise?
The latest version of Dynamics AX was recently released as a Public Cloud version, using shared infrastructure on Microsoft Azure. The Private Cloud and On-Premise versions of the latest release are planned to be released Fall 2016, although the buzz in the market indicates that the On-Premise version will come later.
As business logic and data models in new Dynamics AX are more similar to AX 2012 R3 than different, the upgrade from AX 2012 R3 to the new version shall be relatively straightforward using a standard upgrade approach.
However, the first question that you and your customer will need to answer is whether you will go to the public cloud, private cloud, or will stay on-premise with new Dynamics AX as it will impact your journey.
At the beginning, public cloud deployments of new Dynamics AX will be handled by Microsoft’s Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) Deployment Services and support will be managed by the Microsoft’s DSE Team. To become familiar with the new Dynamics AX on Microsoft Azure, we recommend Dynamics Partners starting investigating LCS tools in order to estimate licensing cost and evaluate potential upgrade project risks, such as identifying solution areas with the highest number of merge conflicts, etc. If you want to learn about the LCS tools capabilities faster, join our What’s New In Dynamics AX- Azure and LCS workshop.
When compared to AX 2012 and earlier versions, integrations with external applications should be easier to implement in new Dynamics AX. However, currently you can only perform code upgrades as data upgrades won’t will be available until Fall 2016 at the earliest. In addition, new Dynamics AX doesn’t have any data upgrade scripts yet. And data migration scripts have to be created during the upgrade.
At 1ClickFactory, will start providing Upgrade to new Dynamics AX (7) Assessments from April 16. Click here to request free Upgrade Assessment for AX.
Scenario #2: Your customer is on AX 2009. Upgrade to AX 2012 first to ease the transition to new AX later
Transitioning customers’ Dynamics AX solutions to AX 2012 R3 CU8 first might be the most secure and cost balancing strategy for when planning a move to new Dynamics AX (7).
New Dynamics AX is most similar to Dynamics 2012 R3 CU8 in terms of the business logic and data model, which means that upgrading to AX 2012 R3 CU8 first will make the transition to new Dynamics AX relatively straightforward later.
Support for AX 2009 has been extended to 2018 as Microsoft likely wants all customers to be able to upgrade to new Dynamics AX at their own pace. The code upgrade from AX 2009 to new AX (7) should be performed via AX 2012 R3 CU8. Microsoft has committed to delivering direct data upgrade scripts upon a later release of new Dynamics AX.
Why should you, as a Microsoft Dynamics partner, consider upgrading your customers to AX 2012 R3 CU8 during 2016 and then plan to upgrade them to new AX at a later date?
- To Distribute Your Upgrade Costs & Risks Over Time. Jumping a few versions to new Dynamics AX (especially version Dynamics AX 2012 that introduced an enormous change in the solution architecture) increases upgrade costs and risks associated with your project exponentially. Therefore, smaller, well-planned, iterative upgrade steps provide Dynamics AX partners and their customers with a smarter upgrade path.
- To Decrease Your Upgrade Project Risk. Making the great leap to new Dynamics AX increases your risk of underestimating project scope, which could result in delaying your project, accumulating unexpected costs and increasing your error rate. This might eat into your project profits and yield an unsatisfied customer.
Read our blog post that investigates this topic in more details.
Click here to request a FREE 1ClickFactory Upgrade Assessment to Dynamics AX 2012.
Scenario #3: For Other Unsupported Paths, Should You Recommend a Reimplementation or a Mix Instead?
There are situations in which re-implementation or a combination of upgrade & re-implementation are more efficient solutions than a full solution upgrade.
First, let’s clarify these terms:
- Full AX Upgrade – after a full upgrade a customer will have all previous data in the new version together with any customizations.
- Re-implementation - after re-implementation, the new version contains only master data. In order to carry over required customizations from the older version, these customizations would need to be developed from scratch.
- A Mix (combination of upgrade & reimplementation) - one of the most common mixed scenarios is when all data and data models in the solution are upgraded to the new version, and then standard new version functionality is used or customizations are redesigned and developed if needed.
When should you use a re-implementation strategy for your customer’s upgrade?
- If there are many customizations in your customer’s solution that conflict with the new standard AX version that would make the upgrade complex and expensive.
- If your customer’s data in the current Dynamics AX solution is very inconsistent.
- If your customer uses ISV solutions or integration with third party applications that are not supported by the targeted upgrade AX version.
When should you use a mixed upgrade strategy for your customer’s upgrade?
- If your customer needs to re-implement some particular Dynamics AX modules (e.g. financial statements, product builder to product configurator, Inventory II to WHS). This usually happens when new modules that serve the same business area in new product version are introduced.
- If your customer wants to get rid of modifications/customizations (i.e. if they come as standard functionality in the new AX version) and wants to migrate data only.
- If your customer wants full data migration and code reimplementation. This is often a case when your customer maintains a few versions of Dynamics AX for different business units or locations and wants to transition/merge them to one corporate solution.
Full Upgrade vs. Re-implementation vs. Mix Upgrade Strategy
A deep analysis of each specific case should be performed to determine which option is best for your customer. Choosing the most cost-effective and time efficient option will usually depend on what data and customizations your customer has in the older AX version they desire to upgrade. Additionally, it depends on what needs to be transferred to the newer Dynamics AX version.
Before planning your upgrade strategy, you and your customer should take into consideration a variety of factors. The following diagram examines the most common factors.
To begin planning your upgrade strategy, we recommend starting with a BestPath Assessment that will identify which upgrade tactic is the most beneficial for your customer’s unique situation moving forward.
Scenario #4: New AX is Too BIG for Your Small AX Customer. Should You Move Your Customer to Dynamics NAV?
In some cases, mid-size organizations with a small number of users on an old AX version (e.g. AX 4.0 or older) feel stuck and do not see an efficient means of moving their existing solution into the future.
New Dynamics AX seems too big, starting with the obvious limitation of a minimum of 50 users. Beyond the scope of new AX, your small customers may be fearful of its complexity and assumed high cost of upgrading. Often these concerns force your small customers to consider leaving Dynamics AX to migrate to a simpler solution like Dynamics NAV.
Should you and your customer make the decision to migrate to Dynamics NAV, there are external tools to make migration from Dynamics AX to Dynamics NAV easier. 1ClickFactory offers such a tool to perform standard fields mapping and data transformation from AX to NAV quickly, securely and efficiently.
To request our 1ClickFactory Data Transformation from AX to NAV Service, please contact us at email@example.com.
Selecting the Best Upgrade Path to New Microsoft Dynamics
We provide Dynamics Partners with a number of assets and services to help you plan the best upgrade strategy for moving your customers to new Microsoft Dynamics AX (7). Here is a quick list of services to help you prepare for the move to new AX:
- BestPath Assessment: Our BestPath Assessments helps you identify the most cost-effective upgrade path for each of your customer Dynamics AX solution.
- What’s New in Dynamics AX Workshops:
- FREE Upgrade Assessment.
Visit our website to learn more about 1ClickFactory Upgrade for AX services we offer exclusively to Microsoft Dynamics Partners.